I would like to thank the Targeting Excellence sponsors, board, and committees for their generosity and for selecting me as a recipient of the graduate student scholarship. This will help me to achieve my goal of becoming a poultry nutritionist. I’m very thankful to be a part of an industry that provides such opportunities and support.
I am currently working on my doctorate at Auburn University, with the goal of becoming an industry nutritionist. As the population of the United States and the world continues to grow, we need to continue to improve efficiency and sustainability in our food production, and as a poultry nutritionist I will be able to contribute to that, both through creating diets and through continued research. My undergraduate degrees are in poultry science and accounting from the University of Arkansas. Although I had raised chickens as a child, I had never given serious thought to a career in the poultry industry. College courses broadened my view of poultry science, and it quickly became clear that poultry science was good fit for me. The first class I took was broiler production, with labs on a broiler farm. Soon after, I got a job working on a research farm. I later spent a summer working in a processing plant, and then I lab-tested a probiotic supplement as my honors project. After taking the poultry nutrition course and working with nutrition graduate students, I discovered that nutrition nicely combines my interests in live production, problem solving, chemistry, physiology, and economics. At Auburn I have gotten to be a part of 31 research trials, and have been the lead graduate student on four of these experiments as part of my thesis and dissertation research. My master’s studies investigated the use of dietary copper to improve the growth performance of broiler chickens fed antibiotic-free diets, while my doctoral research is working to develop a more sensitive assay for energy of broiler feeds. These series of experiments should help to provide the broiler industry with tools to increase the efficiency of meat production. As an industry nutritionist, one of my responsibilities will be formulating diets to meet production goals such as increased meat per feed cost, reduced feed conversion ratio, and reduced nitrogen emissions, using research such as that produced by the laboratory that I currently work in. I will also be responsible for running additional experiments with the purpose of meeting those goals, as well as working with feed mills and live production personnel to solve problems that could be related to the diets.