I am very honored to be the recipient of a 2018 Targeting Excellence scholarship. The award is very much appreciated as it will alleviate some of the financial strain that is usually integral to being a graduate student. I would like to thank the sponsors for making the funds available, the board of directors for their vision to help students in animal agriculture, and the Indiana committee for taking time out of their busy schedules to review the applications.
I am currently undecided between two major career paths. My overall goal is to contribute to the ability of the US animal production industry to continue to provide safe, affordable, and nutritious animal protein products to a growing population of consumers with increased efficiency and sustainability.
The first career path that I envision myself in is as a research scientist and a teacher in an university animal science or poultry science department. I have strengths in creative thinking, experimental design, problem solving, statistical analysis, maintaining high standards of research integrity, and teaching and mentoring students. I also have a deep respect for the knowledge that individuals in industry have gained from their daily interaction with the realities of animal production. I would want to work closely with industry contacts to maintain a research program that is working on practical problems relevant to the industry. In addition, there is a growing need for college graduates with a passion for animal agriculture and excellent training in the technical disciplines of animal production. This career option would enable me to develop undergraduate and graduate students into future industry professionals with a focus during their college years on both professional development as well as technical training.
The second career path that I am interested in is working directly in the swine and/or poultry production industries. My training and background are in applied monogastric nutrition and production, and I have strengths in organization, critical thinking, problem solving, and the ability to talk to producers without losing them in technical jargon. I believe I could use these strengths in a variety of roles within the industry including working directly for an integrator as a nutritionist or production specialist, or the allied industries via roles in research and development or technical service.
Only time will tell where I end up but I am excited to finish up my graduate training over the next 14 months or so and to start a career working either directly or indirectly to advance animal agriculture.