Thank you to the Targeting Excellence generous sponsors, board of directors, and state committee members who made this opportunity possible. I am truly honored to be a recipient of this scholarship, and support food animal agriculture in its quest to feed the world. This scholarship will allow me to continue my efforts in research as I begin my masters degree in dairy reproductive physiology, and pursue to find answers to scientific questions as well as providing solutions for dairy producers.
Thank you all again for your commitment to agriculture, and On Wisconsin!
I knew I wanted to pursue a degree in dairy science because it combined my passion of working with dairy cattle and science as well as my experience of working on my family’s 60-cow registered Holstein dairy farm. However, I had limited knowledge of what I could do with my degree when I graduated besides farming or going to veterinary school. When I began my undergraduate career, I thought that I had every detail of my life planned for the next eight years. Initially, after receiving my bachelors degree in dairy science, I would head straight to veterinary school where I would graduate, eventually opening up my own veterinary clinic. However, after my first semester, I realized that this plan that I meticulously crafted, was not right for me. I knew that I was passionate about dairy science after that first semester, yet pursuing veterinary school did not seem to fit the bigger picture I had for my life, and myself and I honestly was not sure at that time what really did.
I continued on with my coursework and in the fall of 2015 I met with the Dairy Science Department Chair, Dr. Kent Weigel to find a lab to conduct a lab project that was a requirement for my introductory biology class on campus. Dr. Weigel recommended that I reach out to Dr. Laura Hernandez about potentially doing my project in her lactation physiology lab. After meeting and working with Laura as well as her Ph.D. student Samantha Weaver, I realized that I enjoyed working in the lab, and continued being involved in the lab throughout my undergraduate career. My involvement in the lab over the years through a variety of projects, made me aware of my interest in conducting research. Through my conversations with Laura, I gained insight into the unique opportunities that working in a lab and graduate school has to offer a student interested in the field of dairy science. Before my work in the lab I always had an appreciation for research, but after I began actively working in the lab I realized how passionate I am about research and how it allows me to achieve my ultimate goal for my career in the dairy industry.
My goal for my career in the dairy industry is to find solutions for producers that can be implemented into their reproductive management strategies to improve animal health, productivity, and their profitability. I know the challenges producers face through my own farming experience, especially during these economic hardships in the market. My contributions as a graduate student will provide me further knowledge about how to critically evaluate the biological system known as the dairy cow, and how to integrate the deeper scientific knowledge into practical reproductive solutions for dairy farmers. I want to uncover the answers for producers on the problems they confront, and provide the best, economical solutions. My need to know why phenomena occur, passion, hard work, and dedication will make me successful in my graduate studies as well as in the industry.