Tabitha Steckler

Tabitha Steckler

Thank you for the opportunity to participate in the Targeting Excellence Scholarship. It is sponsors, and board and committee members like you that help students to reach their full potential by offering funding for their program. I can only hope that one day I can inspire students to critically think about their role within animal agriculture the way this scholarship does. Thank you for all of your support!

Awards Received

2019 Graduate Award (Indiana)

Hometown:

Hometown:

Ferdinand, IN

School:

School:

Purdue University

Major:

Major:

Animal Science

Career Goals:

Career Goals:

Like most student’s starting their undergraduate career, I started out with dreams of becoming a veterinarian. I
was looking for a profession that not only allowed me to work with animals every day, but also challenged me
scientifically. After a couple years, I decided that the demands of becoming a mixed animal vet in small town
didn’t fit into the lifestyle I wanted to live. Even after this decision, I still didn’t have graduate school on my radar
of possibilities. During junior and senior year of my undergraduate degree, I had the opportunity to be involved
in multiple on farm research projects. This opened the door to an entirely new opportunity, and I realized that
graduate school offers all of the aspects that I thought I would find from vet school. At the start of my final
semester senior year, my now graduate school advisor offered me a position in her dairy nutrition and
management lab. Currently my research is focusing on the effect milk consumption and health in automated calf
feeders has on growth and development of heifers, and how this growth will affect their productive life (milk
production, reproduction, etc.). I decided to attend graduate school in the hopes of expanding my knowledge of
dairy nutrition and management, and my project is helping me do just that. After I complete my master’s degree
my careers goals are to manage a farm, or work with an animal agriculture company that allows me to interact
with farmers on a daily basis. My passion lies in animal management. You could say I eat, sleep, and breathe
cows. So, my hope is to use the knowledge gained during my master’s to help farmers with management
decisions that best benefit their cows and operations as a whole. I would also love the opportunity work on the
animal agriculture farm I grew up on in southern Indiana. As I have gotten older, I have realized how extremely
difficult it is to manage a farm, and I have been slowly learning what it takes to run a profitable operation.
If/when I get the opportunity to manage my own farm, I have hopes to incorporate our surrounding community
into our every day practices. I want to be able to give community members, local 4-H and FFA students, and
high school students the opportunity to experience the world of animal agriculture. By doing this, I hope to
educate the next generation about what it means to produce good quality and safe products for consumers to
enjoy. Finally, because I don’t think life would be the same without out families, I hope to be able to work
alongside my soon to be husband and raise my family on our farm. I had an incredible childhood because of the
opportunities I had living on the farm, and I want to be able to provide this same opportunity for my family.