I would like to thank the committee for selecting me for a Targeting Excellence Scholarship. This scholarship will assist me as I pursue my Masters’s degree in dairy management. With this degree I hope to become a dairy manager or an extension educator. Thank you for your help in pursing my career goals.
My passion for dairy sciences began as an undergraduate student employee at the Purdue Dairy. Before applying for my position at this dairy, I had little to no experience working with dairy cattle aside from pulling calves with a veterinary team from a clinic called Calf Care out of North Manchester, Indiana. And the only knowledge I had of the dairy industry was what I had learned from working at Fair Oaks Farms selling cheese to curious customers. Once I began working at the Purdue Dairy, I was able to practice concepts I had learned in my Animal Sciences coursework such as flight zones and proper milking methods.
As the semester ended and summer commenced I was able to take on more hours, more experience, and more knowledge of how dairy farms are managed. I took on more responsibilities as a student employee and worked my way up the ladder until I was trained as a junior herdsman which challenged me to train new employees, diagnose and treat herd health issues, and assist in making management decisions. As I was creeping up to my third year being employed at the Purdue Dairy, the last employee that worked there longer than me had quit before the summer started. The farm was without a manager or a direction. Because of this, I was the only employee that had the most experience and knowledge of the farm. I took on what I could. I maintained herd health, bred cows, maintained a schedule for timed artificial insemination, ensured cows were getting milked and calved were getting fed, and worked with Purdue’s veterinarians until a new manager was hired. I worked with the other employees and the nutritionist to ensure the cows were being fed properly and with the best ingredients.
After the summer had ended, I began my journey through graduate school by working with a professor who researched education and intercultural learning. While these topics are important and interesting, I was not passionate enough in this field to continue pursuing a graduate degree. I knew early on from my experience at the Purdue Dairy that I wanted my future career to be involved in the dairy industry. That is why I made the decision to switch out of my set program and conduct research that I was passionate about.
I am now involved in dairy management research and working in data science for farms to help improve management practices. After I graduate with my master’s degree in dairy management, I hope to work as a farm manager to gain more experience and connections within the dairy industry. Eventually I would also like to work within Purdue Extension because while researching education was not a fit for me, I still enjoy educating others about dairy cattle and the industry. I hope to ignite a passion in animal agriculture, especially dairy, that was sparked in me years ago.