Thank you to the Sponsors, Board, and Committees of the Targeting Excellence Scholarship for all your time and effort towards this program. This program means a lot because it allows students to pursue their dreams and goals with less financial strain and that’s huge! This program reminded me of why I initially chose my path as a poultry veterinarian and animal scientist and I hope that one day I can inspire students to pursue a career within food animal agriculture. The latest pandemic has showcased just how important this industry is and how much of a difference your scholarship program makes. Thank you so much for all your support!
I grew up on a small crop and beef farm in South Dakota, so I have a strong tie to and fondness and appreciation for the agricultural industries. I was drawn to the poultry industry because of its complexity and because there’s never a dull moment! Poultry veterinarians get a new experience every day- they can work with ducks, turkeys, or chickens that all experience different diseases and are managed and housed in different ways. My dream job is to work as a consulting veterinarian for poultry producers in the Midwest, to serve as adjunct faculty for a land grant institution or veterinary school, and to become a PAACO welfare auditor that is also boarded in the American College of Animal Welfare (ACAW). I think it’s important to combine these three positions because they complement each other well. Working directly in the field as a consulting veterinarian and welfare auditor will keep me in touch with issues the industry is facing daily. It will provide a practical application and knowledge of what’s feasible for a producer to do on farm. Making suggestions to a producer that aren’t practical will get you nowhere! Using these experiences, I can educate future generations on the practical aspects of the industry as well as educating them based on theoretical examples from textbooks and journals. It’s important to form your base knowledge on theoretical management and health strategies but I learned in vet school that having both experience in the field and knowledge of theoretical principles builds more trust in students than either alone. It allows you to see things from multiple perspectives, staying in touch with those working in the industry as well as those in research. I think it is extremely important to foster interest in poultry by future generations. One of the best ways I can do this is by working in a university and in interacting with communities as a veterinarian. Unfortunately, I did not learn about all the opportunities in the poultry industry until I was in veterinary school. I would like to make these opportunities apparent to more young people, so they have a chance to get involved earlier in their careers. This will hopefully help alleviate the major employment shortage we are experiencing in the industry and will create a more positive image of poultry production.