I would like to thank the Targeting Excellence sponsors, board members, and committee members for continuing to support students who have chosen to dedicate their careers to food animal agriculture. I am proud to be a part of an industry that invests in future professionals and I am confident that great contributions will be made to animal agriculture due to your financial support. I am deeply appreciative and honored to have been chosen for an award that will assist me in reaching my academic and career goals. Thank you!
During my time in high school, I had the opportunity to work several jobs relating to the food industry or veterinary medicine. I worked on an agritourism farm with more animal species than I could count, completed a small animal veterinary internship, and worked as a server in a restaurant. The combination of all these experiences led me to an interest in food animals and food safety. While I learned valuable technical skills in the small animal veterinary hospital, it confirmed that I did not want to pursue that specific pathway. Once I arrived at NC State, I was able to take advantage of numerous opportunities that further confirmed my desire to work in the food animal field. Within two months of being in the Animal Science program, I was introduced to the swine industry. Soon after, I began working at the Swine Educational Unit, where I quickly learned the basics of production practices. I have been working at the Swine Unit for the last two years as a student employee. During this period, I have also successfully completed two swine production internships on both contract and commercial sow farms. Each of these experiences have had a huge impact on me and confirmed my desire to be a part of the swine industry community. As I continue to learn more each day about the industry through my studies, I am able to effectively apply that knowledge to my work. During my summer internship with Smithfield Hog Production, I gained beneficial skills by analyzing records and learning how that information was used at the farm. Moreover, I met many like-minded professionals involved in all aspects of swine production. Throughout my time at NC State, I have kept an open mind to new opportunities and experiences, yet I continue to be drawn back to swine production. I have worked to gain as much knowledge and experience as possible during both my high school and college years, while also pursuing what I am passionate about. As a student, I have continuously proven my dedication to the field of swine production. I have spent many early mornings, weekends, and holidays ensuring that animals are taken care of and fed. Moving forward, I would like to attend veterinary school to pursue a career in the swine industry either in a production company or swine practice. I have found that I love interacting with producers and problem solving while also helping provide safe and healthy pork to consumers. In closing, I understand the importance and need for professionals in food animal medicine. I feel that I am a strong candidate that can represent the industry well as I continue my studies.