Maria Arendt

Maria Arendt

Thank you so much for selecting me to receive the Targeting Excellence 2017 Scholarship. The $3000 will help immensely to decrease my student debt load. I feel fortunate to have a community of supporters in the agriculture industry. I am also honored to receive such a generous award.

Hometown: Madison, WI

School: University of Wisconsin – Madison

Major / Species: Comparative Biomedical Sciences

Career Goals: [insert goals]The goal of my educational career has been to gain the knowledge needed to be able to make a lasting positive impact on the poultry industry. In addition to my undergraduate Animal Science degree at Iowa State University, I had the opportunity to participate in the Midwest Poultry Consortium – Center of Excellence; a two summers long program culminating in an 18 credit emphasis in Poultry Science. Through this program I also interned at Gold ‘N Plump Poultry, a broiler company, which gave me an understanding of all levels of production. After working closely with Gold ‘N Plump’s veterinarian, I decided that I wanted to pursue a career as a poultry veterinarian. Becoming a poultry veterinarian meant that I could play a vital role at the interface of animal health and food safety. However, the summer before I began veterinary school I interned at an animal nutrition company in Austria called Agromed. Agromed had recently developed a new ‘eubiotic fibre’ product, and I worked closely with the head of research and development to perform feed trials and utilize the data to develop marketing materials. I enjoyed assisting in field trials and felt that I could make a greater impact on animal agriculture by further pursuing a career in research. During the first summer of veterinary school at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, I participated in the Merial Veterinary Summer Scholars program by working the Dr. Erik Hofmeister at the United States Geological Survey: National Wildlife Health Center. My project titled “Alleviating Stress in Captive Zebra Finches”, utilized a corticosterone enzyme-linked immunoassay to investigate the efficacy of novel ways to improve animal welfare, and culminated in a poster presentation. After my second year of veterinary school, I was awarded funding to pursue my Masters of Comparative Biomedical Sciences Degree through a 12-month mentored research program supported by the UW-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine. Through this program I joined Dr. Mark Cook’s laboratory and began to work on determining the role of mucosal interleukin-10 (IL-10) in Eimeria infection. In addition to performing several broiler feed trials, I successfully developed a capture ELISA and immunofluorescence techniques to analyze interleukin-10 in the gastrointestinal mucosa during Eimeria infection, culminating in two publications, several posters presentations, and my Master of Science thesis. I felt so passionate about this research project that I enrolled in the Comparative Biomedical Sciences PhD program. Due to the nature of UW-Madison’s dual degree program, I am able to complete my veterinary degree while pursuing a PhD concurrently. I will proudly graduate with my DVM this spring, and continue working towards my PhD over the next few years. My ultimate goal is to work in the research and development department of an allied animal health company to provide alternative therapeutics other than antibiotics to production animals. It is my hope that my experience and education adequately prepares and qualifies me for this prestigious career.