Animal Science Club to screen the film “Temple Grandin”

April 25, 2013 under CANR News

The Animal Science Club will host a viewing of the award winning HBO film Temple Grandin on Wednesday, May 1, at 5:30 p.m. in 006 Kirkbride Hall. The film stars Claire Danes as Temple Grandin, and portrays the early life and career of Grandin, the challenges she faced and her accomplishments as a young woman growing up with autism.

Grandin is a professor of animal science at Colorado State University. She teaches courses on livestock behavior and facility design and consults with the livestock industry on facility design, livestock handling and animal welfare. She has designed livestock handling facilities located in the United States, Canada, Europe, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand and other countries.

Nearly half of the cattle in North America are handled in a center track restrainer system that Grandin designed for meat plants. Her research interests include cattle temperament, environmental enrichment for pigs, bull fertility, training procedures, and effective stunning methods for cattle and pigs at meat plants.

Grandin has authored several books including: Thinking in Pictures, Livestock Handling and Transport, Genetics and the Behavior of Domestic Animals, and Humane Livestock Handling. Her books Animals in Translation and Animals Make Us Human were both on the New York Times best-seller list.

The film will be introduced by Carissa Wickens, assistant professor in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences, who recently co-authored a chapter on horse handling and transport for Grandin’s 4th edition of Livestock Handling and Transport. Wickens also had the privilege of serving as a judge alongside Grandin during the Collegiate Animal Welfare Judging Competition held at Michigan State University in the fall of 2011.


Lutz credits UD for setting her on path to livestock career

April 1, 2013 under CANR News
Kaitlyn Lutz talks to UD students

Lutz, pictured to the right, talks to UD students

Before coming to the University of Delaware, Kaitlyn Lutz had never worked on a dairy farm. Now, as she finishes up her work as a veterinary resident at the University of Pennsylvania’s New Bolton Center, she is considering a clinical and consulting career, helping farmers with animal health needs and nutrient management planning.

Lutz has been in the residency program at the New Bolton Center in nearby Kennett Square, Pa., since 2012. She has worked in the field service section, mostly with livestock, a passion that originated when she was a UD undergraduate in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) studying in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences (ANFS).

Lutz explained that as an undergraduate, she traveled with Robert Dyer, associate professor of animals and food sciences to dairy farms to conduct research on lameness and realized that she wanted to work with livestock. “Prior to that trip I was planning to work with horses, but then Dr. Dyer basically started my interest in livestock,” said Lutz.

As a field service resident at New Bolton Center, Lutz explained that her days consist of taking students on rounds, covering various veterinary topics in the morning, then traveling to dairy farms. At the farms, she treats sick livestock and does general herd work, such as performing pregnancy checks.

“We also do small ruminant work, so often times we go and inspect sheep and goats in the afternoon or do small beef herds,” said Lutz. “So we kind of have a variety of things other than our weekly routine where we go to dairies, and all the time we have students with us who we’re teaching along the way.”

As for her favorite part of the residency, Lutz said that she relishes the opportunity to meet and talk with farmers. “Interacting with farmers, I learn a ton every day because they’re incredibly smart people. They have their hands in business and agriculture and economics, all at the same time, so you can learn a wealth of information from them.”

When it comes to doling out advice to current students at UD interested in veterinary medicine, Lutz said that it is imperative to take advantage of the opportunities afforded by CANR.

“There are so many clubs at Delaware and so many professors who are veterinarians or who have access to veterinarians that they can go shadow. They can go and get experience out on the farms or in small animal clinics and see what they’re really interested in, and make sure that veterinary medicine is indeed what they want to do.”

She isn’t shy about her affinity for UD either. “UD is by far the best institution in the United States. Whenever students are in the truck I tell them that. I loved it there and I think the program is great, and the kids should take advantage of every aspect of it that they can.”

Article by Adam Thomas

Photos by Christy Mannering

This article can also be viewed on UDaily.


University and Herr’s renew commitment

February 22, 2013 under CANR News

The University of Delaware and Herr’s have renewed their commitment, assuring that a longstanding and fruitful relationship will remain strong into the future.

The agreement will see Herr’s products return to the UD campus beginning this spring and includes opportunities for tours of the Herr’s plant and cattle farm for students and faculty in support of the education mission of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR).

Herr's and UD continue their relationshipAlso, the agreement provides for the consideration of qualified CANR students to participate in formal internships at Herr’s; continued support for other UD educational activities, including workshops on topics such as beef cattle quality assurance; participation of Herr’s representatives at UD career fairs, and consideration of qualified UD students for employment opportunities.

Herr’s has been extremely helpful to UD over the years, especially when it comes to CANR, college officials said.

According to Lesa Griffiths, professor in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences, Herr’s was instrumental in helping equip UD with an Angus cattle herd. In particular, she cited the efforts of Dennis Byrne, manager of Herr Angus Farm and a 1977 UD graduate who was recently named an Ag Distinguished Alumni.

“I came to UD in the late 1980s, and I was tasked with oversight of the beef cattle herd,” said Griffiths. She explained that at the time, UD’s herd consisted of a half-dozen crossbred animals that were not suitable to tell students were representative of beef cattle.

Griffiths looked at various farms, planning to purchase cattle in order to start the new program, and met Byrne. “Through Dennis, Herr’s was very instrumental in providing us with some of our initial breeding stock,” said Griffiths. “So, essentially, the Angus cattle herd at UD was started with the assistance of Dennis Byrne and Herr’s.”

Byrne said he has had great experiences working with CANR and noted that when he returned to campus to receive the Distinguished Alumni Award, he was excited to see both the research being done at CANR and the job opportunities afforded to those who graduate from the college.

“The opportunities that [CANR] is creating for people in that field is really impressive,” Byrne said. “In my opinion, they’re going to continue to be on the cutting edge in the agriculture world.”

In addition to the cattle herd, Herr’s has also helped CANR in other ways. The company, for instance, has a working cattle operation with 1,000 head of Angus that includes a feedlot, something that Griffiths stressed is very rare in the eastern part of the United States.

“Herr’s has a feedlot that is utilizing byproduct feeds from the manufacturing plant. They have very strict environmental standards to follow because they are dealing with not only the waste from the snack food manufacturing but also waste from the cattle operation,” said Griffiths. “So it’s a great place for students to go to look at all of the different things that are in place to deal with the environment and sustainability.”

Daryl Thomas, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Herr’s, explained that the students have also learned about how Herr’s recycles its wastewater, about its irrigation program, how the company utilizes recycled packaging and about its state of the art fuel saving program — the Herr’s plant is equipped with a steam recovery system.

Nutrition and food science classes have also toured the Herr’s plant, and students have participated in workshops. One such workshop, Griffiths pointed out, was a beef quality assurance workshop at which Byrne showed students how to handle beef cattle, using a load of cattle Herr’s had just brought in from Virginia as an example of how to give vaccines and to see what happens in an intake situation with a large number of livestock arriving at a new farm.

But it isn’t just CANR that benefits from the relationship with Herr’s. Thomas explained that he has also been able to give presentations to many business and marketing students, as well.

“I have been a guest lecturer, and I was trying to calculate how long I have lectured for over the years — if it was 100 hours, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration,” said Thomas.

Thomas said that Herr’s is always receptive to doing events with UD, whether it be a company representative speaking at a class, UD students using Herr’s as part of their class projects, or CANR students from touring the Herr’s farm to learn about sustainability practices.

“I would just say that we’ve been really good neighbors,” said Thomas. “We obviously have done business with UD in terms of selling our products on campus and so many of our employees reside in Delaware. We’ve had members of our management team get their master of business administration (MBA) degrees from UD, and we have also provided internships, so it’s the kind of an agreement in which the door is open and the receptivity is very warm.”

Article by Adam Thomas

Photo by Danielle Quigley

This article can also be viewed on UDaily.


UD’s Schmidt studies heat stress, disease resistance in African chickens

February 11, 2013 under CANR News

Last fall, the University of Delaware’s Carl Schmidt took a trip to Uganda with a team of researchers from Iowa State University and North Carolina State University to get genetic samples from African chickens. The goal was to compare and contrast their genes to one another, and also to American broiler chickens, to gauge how the two species’ genetic makeup helps them cope with heat stress, as well as susceptibility and resistance to different diseases.

The trip was part of a five-year, $4.7 million National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) climate change grant for a project titled “Adapting Chicken Production to Climate Change Through Breeding.”

UD Professor Carl Schmidt studies chickens in AfricaSchmidt explained that the objective of the trip was “to try to identify genes that may be helping these birds survive on different diets, in a different climate, and facing different disease challenges.”

Schmidt, associate professor in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences in UD’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR), said that the group gathered more than 100 samples of African chicken DNA from “back yard flocks” of chickens from three cities from different regions of the country: Buwama, Wobulenzi and Kamuli.

Aiding the group in the research being done in Uganda was the organization Volunteer Efforts for Development Concerns (VEDCO), which Schmidt called invaluable as it supplied the researchers with lodging during their time in Kamuli. The group also collaborated with the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), which gave them access to samples ILRI had collected from chickens in Kenya.

Now that the researchers have the samples from Africa, researchers at North Carolina State are processing the DNA. Once the DNA is processed, Schmidt will work at the Delaware Biotechnology Institute to handle the sequencing of the genome and the bioinformatics.

Chicken differences

Schmidt said one of the main variances that might have an impact on the genetic differences between the American chickens raised in a production facility and the African chickens, which roam, is diet. The African chickens will eat anything that is available to them, including bugs, whereas the American chickens in production facilities are fed a largely corn-based meal. Schmidt said that he is interested to see “what kind of impact that has had on the genes that are involved in actually getting nutrients out of insects.”

Another difference between the two birds is that whereas American chickens raised in production facilities are relatively sheltered from the elements and from disease, African chickens are pretty much on their own. Schmidt explained that the African chickens are “exposed to the environment — they usually have a small building that they can go into, sometimes they even just go into the homes, but for the most part, they have to fend for themselves.”

Schmidt added that the African chickens also have to deal with predators, theft and “then of course they are also exposed to more disease agents than certainly the birds that are in production facilities here. And the thought is that they’ve been in essence selected to deal with these challenges.”

The group didn’t only get samples from traditional African chickens, however, as Schmidt explained that they also ran into a line of chickens imported from India and they wanted to examine the genome of those chickens, as well.

When it comes to size, Schmidt explained that African chickens are smaller than the American broiler chickens one would find in a production facility or at a grocery store. One reason for this is that whereas the production facility chicken is raised to be eaten, the African chicken is kept alive so it can continuously provide eggs as a food source.

Now that the group has collected samples from American and African chickens, Schmidt is hopeful that he will be able to head to Brazil in the summer — as part of a joint agreement between CANR and the University Federal de Lavras — to collect samples of chicken DNA from South America.

“What we’d like to do is get a couple of different geographic locations,” said Schmidt. “And the interesting thing to me is, Uganda kind of straddles the equator and Brazil isn’t quite straddling the equator but it’s a little more similar to Uganda than it is to the United States, so you can kind of see if there are any similarities.”

Schmidt also said that once he gets samples from Brazil, he would be interested in collecting samples from other locations, as well. “One of the things I’d love to do is go to Central America.”

Researchers and students who went on the trip and are involved in the grant from Iowa State include Max Rothschild, the Curtiss Distinguished Professor in Agriculture and director of the Center for Integrated Animal Genomics, and Angelica Bjorkquist and Damarius Fleming, both graduate students.

Researchers and students who went on the trip and are involved in the grant from North Carolina State include Chris Ashwell, associate professor of poultry genomics, nutrition, immunology and physiology, and Alex Zavelo, a graduate student.

Article by Adam Thomas

Photo provided by Carl Schmidt

This article can also be viewed on UDaily.


Free Webcast Offered on Stereotypic Behaviors in Horses

January 14, 2013 under CANR News, Cooperative Extension

Carissa Wickens, assistant professor in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences and equine extension specialist, will present a free webcast at 7 p.m., on Tuesday, January 22, focusing on equine behavior titled, “Is it Coping or is it a Vice? A Review of Cribbing, Weaving and Other Stereotypic Behaviors.”

The presentation will highlight recent research findings related to stereotypic behaviors in horses and will stress the importance of understanding why horses develop these behaviors.

Those wishing to watch the presentation will need to visit My Horse University to register. If it is your first time registering for a My Horse University webcast, you will need to create an account at this link.

My Horse University in partnership with eXtension Horses hosts multiple equine focused webcasts September through May. Presentations are delivered by national equine experts on a variety of topics including nutrition, behavior, genetics, health, conformation and selection, equine business management, and farm safety, just to name a few. Please click here for more information on upcoming and archived webcasts offered through My Horse University.


CANR alum Kaitlin Ricketts interns at Meadowset Farm and Apiary

December 4, 2012 under CANR News

Until last April, University of Delaware alum Kaitlin Ricketts didn’t know much about sheep cheese. Now, her job revolves around it.

Ricketts, who graduated from UD in the spring of 2012 from the Department of Animal and Food Sciences with a concentration in pre-veterinary and animal biosciences, is the farm intern at Meadowset Farm and Apiary in Landenberg, Pennsylvania. Meadowset, a farm that focuses on practicing sustainable farming to produce all of their products, is a sheep micro dairy owned by Tom Schaer and Barbara Dallap Schaer—both of whom are large animal veterinarians.

Meadowset sells sheep cheese, eggs, lamb, honey and other various farm products available at the farm’s store. The cheese can also be found Va La Vineyards in Avondale, Pennsylvania, and at the restaurants Talula’s Table in Kennett Square and Talula’s Garden in Philadelphia.

Ricketts explained that the micro dairy, which milked 28 sheep last season, has two different styles of sheep cheese: pecorino and tomme. “The pecorino, which is an Italian style cheese, is very comparable to a parmesan, and the other one is a tomme, which is a washed curd cheese which reduces the acidity making it a milder cheese,” said Ricketts.

Ricketts said that while her official title is ‘Farm Intern,’ she has various responsibilities on the farm. “My duties range everything from just your every day feeding to watching to see what the animals’ health levels are, and I’m also running the farm store on the premises so I’m dealing with people directly, selling products and trying to market our cheese a little bit.”

This last part has been the most eye opening for Ricketts, as she explained that she did not take a lot of food-agriculture classes while at UD. “I’ve been going around to local natural food markets and dropping off samples of lamb and trying to make sales there which is pretty new to me,” said Ricketts. “I’m kind of learning that all on my own.”

What she did have while at UD was a lot of hands on experience working at a dairy, which she said was one of the main reasons she came to study at the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

“I grew up in the suburbs of Baltimore so there was no farming background,” said Ricketts. “I came to Delaware because of the Ag school and because of the farm being right there. That was a big draw to me and I started working on the UD Dairy farm my sophomore year so that’s where my interest really started.”

Ricketts, who also raised seeing eye dogs for the Puppy Raisers of the University of Delaware (PROUD) organization on campus, fed the calves and milked the cows while at the UD farm, all the while trying to pick up as much knowledge as she could from Richard Morris, dairy manager, and the rest of the UD farm staff.

Explaining that her original plan was to go to veterinary school, Ricketts said she eventually realized that vet school just wasn’t in the cards at this point and time in her life. “Working on the farm and being in classes like professor Tanya Gressley’s ‘Dairy Production’ sort of opened up my eyes to the fact that there are probably other things out there that can make me just as happy as being a veterinarian,” said Ricketts. “Vet school isn’t for everyone and I just kind of hit a wall one day and had that realization that there are others things that I think I need to look into before I say, ‘Yeah, I’m going to go to vet school.’”

Still, sometimes working on the farm comes as a shock to her. “If you would’ve told me my freshman year that I was going to be working at a dairy farm making cheese I would’ve said you’re crazy,” said Ricketts.

She said that her favorite part about working on the farm is getting to work outdoors. She also said that she enjoys getting to have her old sorority, Sigma Alpha, come out to the farm to do service projects and that those in the sorority who are interested in pursuing veterinary careers get to learn first hand from the farm owners. Ricketts said that Tom and Barbara Schaer are “great people and they’re very enthusiastic about what they do so it’s kind of hard to not love your job when you’re working for people like that.”

“A lot of the girls in Sigma Alpha are still very much in the mindset of going to vet school so them talking to Tom and Barb I think is helping them figure things out too,” said Ricketts. “So that’s been really exciting for me, the past couple of weeks being able to connect everything that I’ve had in my life the past couple of years.”

Article by Adam Thomas


UD interactive conference highlights diagnostic, research benefits of digital pathology

October 3, 2012 under CANR News

With researchers from throughout the world collaborating on projects, the need to share and analyze tissue specimens remotely in real-time is ever present. To preview technology which can help meet that need, the University of Delaware College of Agriculture and Natural Resources’ Comparative Pathology Laboratory hosted “Introduction to Digital Pathology” demonstrations Sept. 6-7 at the Charles C. Allen Laboratory Conference Room.

Conference participants experienced digital pathology, or ePathology, technology firsthand through live demonstrations of slide scanning quantitative image analysis and real-time conferencing on virtual slides without a microscope.

Erin Brannick, assistant professor in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences, director of the CANR Comparative Pathology Laboratory and a veterinary pathologist, organized the conference with representatives from Aperio, a company specializing in digital pathology slide scanners, analysis software, and data management systems.

Digital pathology systems have many applications, and Brannick explained that during the sessions, participants were able to see how one Aperio system could meet the diverse needs of researchers, diagnosticians in human and veterinary medicine, educators and industry partners.

Multiple research application sessions offered individual researchers the chance to create and analyze virtual slides of their own research specimens. The bovine hoof and rumen, marine animal eyes and fungal organisms were among the images scanned on-site for attendees by a machine that can accommodate up to 400 glass slides at a time. Participants could then observe the virtual tissues across magnifications from a whole slide view up to 40x magnification, either on the attached monitor or on one of several laptop computers in the room.

Aperio representatives also demonstrated specific features of Genie, image analysis software that can be trained to meet the individual needs of a user. Once trained, a Genie analysis template can be applied to all virtual slides in a research study simultaneously, minimizing viewer subjectivity and lengthy time requirements typical for manual slide review by an individual researcher.

On the morning of Thursday, Sept. 6, a diagnostic applications conference was held in which diagnosticians from the UD Allen and CANR Comparative Pathology laboratories on Newark campus were able to interface with veterinary diagnosticians from Delaware and Maryland at the Lasher Laboratory in Georgetown, Del., as they held their monthly diagnostic conference. The ability to connect via computer to examine the same slides remotely in real-time is a function that Brannick said could be very beneficial to both diagnosticians and researchers. “Because our groups are so spread apart, it would be nice if we were to get this system on board to be able to conference directly using virtual slides,” she said.

The groups briefly learned about the digital pathology equipment through a standard videoconference, then held a consultation on their diagnostic cases using remotely-linked computers and digital slide images that had been uploaded to Aperio’s servers in California. “I was able to share cases remotely and show participants directly what the lesions were and what I was seeing that helped me make my diagnosis,” said Brannick.

Participants at both locations could take turns analyzing disease lesions at multiple magnifications while discussing details of the case. “We could give Lasher laboratory participants control and they could drive the slide and ask questions,” she said. Despite streaming data from servers across the country, the images uploaded with minimal delay, projected crisply, and maneuvered easily, even for first-time system users.

The diagnostic applications conference was also a first for the Aperio representatives. While remote slide conferencing is a common use for the Aperio imaging system, the UD conference marked the first time the representatives were able to fully demonstrate the intuitive ease of digital conferencing before actually installing a system at a university. “The representatives tell people how to set remote conferencing up all the time but to actually get to do it too was a lot of fun for them,” said Brannick.

As for a teaching tool, Brannick brought the undergraduate and graduate students in her animal histology class in to try the Aperio system to demonstrate to other educators in attendance how beneficial it can be when an entire class can look at the exact same specimen on computer screens as opposed to a variety of samples under individual microscopes.

“If you were to use digital pathology in a lab setting, you could actually have a computer lab where everyone gets the same electronic slide set and then students pull up image after image. You can directly talk with students and guide them as a class through an image,” said Brannick. “Then you could turn control over to the students and have them drive around and show others what they’re looking at and what they see. So that’s a real strength of this system.”

Brannick is now looking to move forward, trying to bring the Aperio brightfield and/or fluorescence digital imaging system to UD on a full-time basis. “We really feel like it will greatly benefit all of these aspects for UD: the research, the teaching and the diagnostics.”

For more information about the Aperio digital pathology technology, contact Erin Brannick at 831-1342.

Article by Adam Thomas

This article can also be viewed on UDaily.


Upcoming seminars provide insight into poultry career opportunities

September 24, 2012 under CANR News

While the economy may be not be strong, employment opportunities in the poultry industry are thriving. It is with this in mind that the University of Delaware will host a Poultry Careers Seminar Series throughout the month of October and into November geared towards students interested in a career in the poultry industry.

The seminars will all take place at 6 p.m. in room 101 of the Allen Laboratory and will provide students an opportunity to speak directly to employers offering internships, management trainee programs and full time positions. A free dinner will be offered before each seminar and there will be drawings for two $50 Barnes and Noble gift cards for students who attend all 4 seminars.

The seminars include:

  • Wednesday, 10/3: Why a Career in Poultry Science? Why not! Employment opportunities are still great in the poultry industry, and this seminar will include presentations from Delmarva Poultry Industry, Inc.—a nonprofit trade association working for the continued progress of the broiler chicken industry on the Delmarva Peninsula— who will present an overview of the industry and the many poultry career opportunities. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will also present, focusing on an overview of career opportunities available at USDA-AMS.
  • Monday, 10/8: How to Use Industry and Research Internships to Jump Start your Resume. Bernie Murphy, the General Manager of the Agricultural Division of Jones-Hamilton Co., will discuss internship and career opportunities at Jones-Hamilton Co. and collaborative research projects with UD’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR). Jones-Hamilton Co. has been a leader in producing, packaging and distributing chemicals and products sold to manufacturing, processing and agricultural end users such as the poultry industry. Perdue Farms will also present, focusing on management training programs, internship and career opportunities in the company. Katelyn MacCann, a recent graduate from CANR’s Department of Animal and Food Sciences (ANFS), will be among the presenters.
  • Tuesday, 10/16: Domestic Career Opportunities in the Industry & Cooperative Extension Service. Mountaire Farms, a diverse, fast growing poultry and agricultural business which partners with local farming communities to raise chickens and grains, will give a presentation on management training programs, internship and career opportunities. The UD Cooperative Extension Service, which connects the public with University knowledge, research and resources to address youth, family, community and agricultural needs, will present on career opportunities and the CANR Cooperative Extension Summer Scholars Program.
  • Thursday, 11/1: National and International Opportunities in the Industry. Cobb-Vantress Incorporated, one of the the world’s leaders in research, development and sellers of breeding stock to the broiler industry, will give an overview of their international company and discuss internship and career opportunities. Elanco, a world leader in developing products and services that enhance animal health, wellness and performance, will also have a presentation given by Nannette Olmeda-Geniec, who works for them as a poultry technical consultant. Olmeda-Geniec earned her Ph. D at UD in the ANFS department and she will give an overview of the company as well as discuss internship and career opportunities.

There will also be information about a travel opportunity to Atlanta, Georgia in January 2013 to attend the largest international poultry and agribusiness trade show at the United States Poultry and Egg Association (USPEA) College Student Career Program. The program will allow students opportunities to interview with 25 regional, national and international poultry and agribusiness companies and organizations while having the opportunity to network with over 900 companies. Most student travel expenses are covered with minimal cost to students attending this conference.

Students interested in attending any of these seminars should log into their Blue Hen Career account to RSVP for the Seminar Series for each individual seminar so that food can be planned accordingly.

For more information, e-mail Diane Venninger at


Fabi crowned 2012 Delaware Dairy Princess

April 24, 2012 under CANR News

Amanda Fabi has been named the 2012 Delaware Dairy Princess, an honor befitting a student who spends her time working at the UDairy Creamery and milking cows on the University of Delaware’s Newark farm.

Fabi, who majors in pre-veterinary animal bioscience in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences, had to compete against someone very close to home to earn the crown: her sister, Megan. Of vying with her sister for the top prize, Fabi said that there wasn’t so much a sibling rivalry as there was a sibling cooperation. “We were each others support system,” said Fabi. “We helped each other get ready, so it was cool.”

The Felton Delaware native served as the Delaware Dairy Princess alternate last year, and said that the experience helped prepare her as she competed for the Dairy Princess crown. The competition had three categories, with the participants having to do a skit which promoted the dairy industry, followed by an interview and an impromptu question.

Fabi said that she lucked out on the question portion of the competition, as her question was about hormones in milk, a topic she was familiar with having done her freshman research paper on the subject.

As the Delaware Dairy Princess, Fabi was awarded $1,000 to go along with the title and she said that her duties will include going to different events “such as the state fair or to day camps for little kids or elementary schools and basically promoting the dairy industry and explaining to kids exactly where their food comes from when they buy it from the store.”

Fabi said that the summer is a busy time as she has to talk to many 4-H camps and spend lots of time at the Delaware State Fair. There is also Governors Day, where she said she gets to “walk around with the Governor and Miss Delaware and we get our own body guards, it’s pretty cool, you feel important for the day.”

Of her time working at the UDairy Creamery, Fabi said that she loves all the new flavors that the Creamery comes up with, as well as being involved from the start—with the milking of the cows—to the finish, actually getting to sell the ice cream, epitomizing the UDairy slogan “from the cow to the cone.” She says that she is “old fashioned” when it comes to her ice cream flavor selection, with her favorite being butter pecan.

When she is done at UD, Fabi said that she wants to be an animal virologist. “It sounds weird but I like diseases and learning about them and how to prevent them,” said Fabi.

As for studying at UD, Fabi said that she enjoys the “family atmosphere” of her major. “The people within our major are so close and it’s basically like a family,” said Fabi. “We help each other study for exams and for things like organic chemistry, and we can always go to each other and get help with projects and it’s just really nice.”

Article by Adam Thomas


Animal Science Club excels in quiz bowl at NESA Competition

March 23, 2012 under CANR News

The University of Delaware Animal Science Club had a strong showing in the quiz bowl portion of the 2012 Northeast Student Affiliate (NESA) competition hosted by the University of Maine on Saturday, Feb. 18.

The quiz bowl took place in a bracket system, with the UD teams competing against 49 other teams from 10 universities, which this year included schools such as Penn State University, Rutgers University and the University of Maryland.

The eight students representing UD were split up into two teams of four, UD teams A and B. Team B placed 10th overall, earning itself a blue ribbon handed out at the competition’s awards banquet.

Laura Nemec, laboratory coordinator in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences and the club adviser who went with the group to the competition, said that the teams from UD “were a great mix of freshman through seniors and many had little to no experience with NESA previously.”

Explaining that UD team B missed out on advancing in the quiz bowl by only one point, Nemec said that the Animal Science Club members “did a fantastic job this year and are already looking for more new members and practicing questions for next year at Rutgers. I could not be more proud of the NESA teams and Animal Science Club.”

The rounds were made up of 20 questions each, with the teams getting buzzers to ring in with the correct answers. Questions consisted of general agricultural questions, but also involved some bio-anatomy, biology and some trivia about the host school sprinkled into the competition, as well.

To prepare for the quiz bowl, Jennifer West, a senior in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) and president of the Animal Science Club, explained that the students used questions from the previous year’s competition and began to study them over Winter Session. The questions also helped pass the time as they prepped on their 11-hour car ride to Maine. Another way that they prepared was having UD professors come in and “speak with us and give kind of quick mini-lectures about what they teach.”

These lectures covered topics such as anatomy, genetics and nutrition. Faculty who spoke to the club included Carissa Wickens, assistant professor of animal and food sciences, Robert Dyer, associate professor of animal and food sciences, Carl Schmidt, associate professor of animal and food sciences, and Tanya Gressley, assistant professor of animal and food sciences.

Quiz bowl was only a portion of the NESA competition, which also included a livestock judging competition and a paper presentation.

Ariana Shakory, a sophomore in CANR, explained that the club had help in preparing for the livestock judging portion of the competition. Club members visited the University of Delaware dairy farm and learned and practiced dairy cattle judging with Richard Morris, dairy manager at the UD farm, which Shakory called “a good experience and good practice.”

For the paper presentations, each team selected one team member to give a presentation. The two members from UD were West and Jessica Applebaum, a junior in CANR. West’s paper focused on “Antibiotic Resistance and the Transmission from Livestock to Human Consumption,” while Applebaum’s dealt with “Mastitis in Dairy Cattle,” an inflammation of the udders.

While the team is already looking forward to next year’s event at Rutgers, they also have their eye on eventually hosting the event at UD because, as West explained, “with the shorter travel distance it would cost less and we could take more than two teams. We would really love to bring NESA back to UD — it would be really fun to do all the behind the scenes planning.”

According to Sara Hobson, a CANR senior and vice president of the Animal Science Club who chaired this year’s NESA planning committee, the last time UD hosted the event was 1996.

About the Animal Science Club

For anyone interested in joining the Animal Science Club, it meets every Wednesday at 6 p.m. in Room 107 of Sharp Laboratory.  While the majority in the club are Animal Science majors, that is not a pre-requisite to join as the club accepts students from all majors.

The club prides itself on providing a great opportunity for hands-on experience and involvement in the community. The club members volunteer at local farms and animal shelters, and they regularly have guest speakers from places like Carousel Farms come in to talk with the group about a variety of experiences.

Applebaum explained that she got involved with the club because, “I really want to go to vet school and I feel like the hands on experience would really help me and they bring in speakers from different places, like vet schools and animal organizations, and you also get to meet a lot of people on campus.”

The club’s advisers are Laura Nemec and Lesa Griffiths, professor in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences.

For more information on the Animal Science Club, visit their website or e-mail Jennifer West or Nina Lee, junior in CANR and secretary of the Animal Science Club.

Article by Adam Thomas