Thank you so much for helping to make this award possible and selecting me as a recipient! It is humbling to know that I was selected out of many worthy applicants, and I greatly appreciate the time that was taken to review my application. Given the unusual times we are living in, I think the need for staunch advocates and passionate proponents of animal agriculture is more important now than ever, and I am proud to know that I represent and serve such a critical industry. I hope I can be a leader that embodies the principles that this facet of production agriculture needs both now and in the future, and with your help, I have come closer to achieving this goal. Thank you again, for everything!
My interest in pursuing a Ph.D. in reproductive physiology is multifaceted, as are my career choice motivations. Completing a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry allowed me to study the foundational scientific principles of life, practice independent research, and interact with renowned faculty and staff, all of which impacted the trajectory of my life in an exceedingly positive way. My background outside of academics has been heavily influenced by animal agriculture, and my academic pursuits have given me new appreciation and motivation for exploring the significance of biochemistry and physiology with regards to animal health and development. My undergraduate research experience was rewarding on many fronts, and as I begin my graduate career, the rewards of hard work, interesting research, and supportive advisory members have reassured me that I made the right choice in pursuing a graduate education. My professional career goals are to become an industry research scientist at an animal health company actively engaged in studying animal disease, developing useful and effective pharmaceuticals, and/or pursuing research into animal growth and development. My career plans have been largely influenced by the kinds of employment and I have held. During several summers, I worked at a veterinary practice where I was able to witness and participate in active applications of veterinary science. Last summer, I was a necropsy intern at Covance and saw firsthand the demands of large-scale industry research. These experiences, along with my personal background of growing up on a production livestock farm, confirmed my enthusiasm for pursing an animal health-related career, especially concerning reproductive physiology and production efficiency challenges faced by livestock producers. Through undergraduate research, I developed invaluable skills in various lab techniques which have transferred to my graduate studies, but it also gave me the chance to develop a deeper understanding of myself and my abilities as a scientist. It laid the foundation for the growth of my independence as a researcher and the refinement of my critical thinking skills, both of which are valuable strengths to have as a graduate student and as a productive member of the scientific community. As the global population rises, so does the need for learning more about how to keep ourselves and our food healthy in the most effective, efficient, and environmentally conscious ways. Understanding the development and proliferation of animal diseases is a critical component of protecting our food animal supply, and a fundamental understanding of how this relates to mammalian reproductive physiology will likely continue to be valuable knowledge to have as producers are constantly challenged to produce more with less. Researching, developing, and testing animal health products, as well as communicating both inside and outside of the scientific community, will be necessary for sustainable progress. Though there is much uncertainty about the future, I am certain that the skills and experiences I will gain during my graduate studies and professional career will prepare me to contribute positively to food animal agriculture in many capacities, and I look forward to the challenges the future holds.