CANR announces 2013 Benton Award winners

July 29, 2013 under CANR News

benton-award-winnersThe University of Delaware’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) has announced that Jacquelyn Marchese and Michelle Windle are the winners of the 2013 William J. Benton Graduate Student Awards.

The awards were established in honor of William J. Benton, former CANR associate dean of research and professor in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences (ANFS).

Jacquelyn Marchese

Marchese received her master’s degree from the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology in May. Of the award, she said she was “honored that I was even nominated, so it was pretty cool that I won. I was definitely very grateful.”

Marchese’s research has dealt with bumblebees and how they can be used to pollinate certain crops in Delaware, such as watermelon, cucumbers and strawberries.

After graduating, she decided to take some time off and go on a cross-country road trip before settling into the professional world.

Marchese acknowledged her adviser, Deborah Delaney, assistant professor of entomology and wildlife ecology, and the rest of her committee: Gordon Johnson, assistant professor in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences; Vincent D’Amico, supplemental faculty in entomology and wildlife ecology; and Joanne Whalen, Cooperative Extension specialist in entomology and wildlife ecology.

Michelle Windle

Windle, a doctoral student in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences who previously received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from CANR, said her doctoral research focuses on silage, specifically how to increase the digestibility of starch earlier in the ensiling process to make it more readily available for cows to digest, which will in turn help them have more energy and produce more milk.

In addition to her research, Windle has also been a teaching assistant for many classes in fields as diverse as animal nutrition, which she taught for five years, production and genetics. She has traveled extensively to conduct research and present papers, and has given talks at conferences.

Windle said that it was an honor to receive the award, especially in light of the fact that she has interacted with some past winners. “That was really neat. It was an honor. I’ve known some of the other people who have gotten it, Laura Nemec and Kirsten Hirneisen, and it was an honor to be included with them.”

Windle pointed out that she could not say enough about her adviser Limin Kung, the S. Hallock du Pont Professor of Animal and Food Sciences who has been exceptionally helpful throughout her time at UD.

“I can’t talk about Dr. Kung enough. The guy is awesome,” she said. “He’s got drive, excitement, he thinks silage is cool, and he’s got the ability to inspire that in other students. He just genuinely wants to see you do well.”

This article can also be viewed on UDaily.

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Animal Science Club wins NESA quiz bowl competition

March 21, 2013 under CANR News

Animal Science Club wins NESA 2013 Quiz BowlThree years ago, students in the University of Delaware’s Animal Science Club came back from the North East Student Affiliate (NESA) competition without a single ribbon. This year, they came back with 27.

NESA, which is a part of the National Block and Bridle Club, sponsors the event in which students interested in animal science from schools across the northeast compete against each other in livestock judging, a quiz bowl and a paper presentation. This year, the competition took place at Rutgers University. Forty-five teams made up of 185 students from nine schools were present.

Nina Lee, a senior in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) and president of the Animal Science Club, said club members worked incredibly hard this year and saw their efforts rewarded.

She also noted how great it was to see the younger students in the club “get so excited and involved in the competition. I hope to come back as an alumnus and see Animal Science Club continue their involvement with NESA livestock judging, quiz bowl, and paper presentations.”

After having a team place 10th in the quiz bowl portion of the competition last year, the 2013 UD Team C broke through the field this year and brought home a first place ribbon.

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 UD teams were organized such that a freshman, sophomore, junior and senior were on each. The thinking behind the decision was to have strong teams across the board rather than just one team stacked with seniors.

“The team included students who just completed the Introduction to Animal Science course and have all that general knowledge really fresh in their minds through seniors who have taken the more in-depth courses such as physiology and anatomy. That way, no matter what type of questions they were asked, hopefully they had someone on their team who knew the answer,” Nemec explained.

The strategy paid off and Team C defeated a team from Penn State University in the finals and earned first place in the quiz bowl, a title that Penn State has held for quite some time. “Since I began attending these competitions, it has always been Penn State vs. Penn State in the final round. So to even have a team other than Penn State up there on the stage was phenomenal and for it to be Delaware blew my mind. I could not be more proud of these students,” said Nemec.

Team D also did well in the quiz bowl portion of the competition, finishing in fifth place.

UD did well in the livestock judging portion of the competition as well, with Team C winning first place Team D finishing seventh.

Club members attributed their success to the hard work put in by the team, as well as the lessons learned during Saturday practice sessions led by Richard Morris, UD’s dairy manager, and Brandon Gouge.

“Richard did this for us last year and he did it again this year,” explained Nemec. “He took a weekend out when he was working and came in early on a Saturday. He went through, really thoroughly, how to judge both heifers and dairy cows.”

She added that Gouge, who shows sheep professionally, helped them when it came to judging sheep. “He actually came in and spoke to the Animal Science Club the Wednesday before we left about the specific breed of sheep which is Tunis, and what their characteristics are and how to judge them. Those two really went out of their way to help.”

Stephanie Shapiro, a senior in CANR, echoed these sentiments, saying, “While the livestock judging was something completely foreign to me, I think the mini crash course the Animal Science Club gave really helped us all do surprisingly well.”

Shapiro said that she loved the quiz bowl portion of the event and that she was glad to attend NESA during her final year at UD, saying she’d recommend it to others.

Individual accolades were doled out during the competition, as well, with Rebecca Radisic, a junior in CANR from Team A taking home first place as an individual in livestock judging and JoAna Morales of Team C receiving third place in livestock judging.

Of the award, Morales said, “It was an amazing experience coming in as a freshman and actually winning a ribbon. I was able to learn to judge livestock, have fun in the quiz bowl and have a story to tell.”

When it came time to hand out the overall rankings for each school, UD finished in third place. Next year the event will be held at the University of Massachusetts. Students in Animal Science Club are already looking forward to next year and getting an even better jump on preparation.

Article by Adam Thomas

This article can also be viewed on UDaily.

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CANR students learn about veterinary career opportunities

November 2, 2012 under CANR News

15 University of Delaware students studying in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences (ANFS) recently took a trip to Johns Hopkins University to hear Mark Pokras, an associate professor in the Department of Environmental Population and Health and at the Wildlife Clinic & Center for Conservation Medicine at the Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, speak about opportunities available to them in the veterinary science field.

Erin Brannick, assistant professor in ANFS, director of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) Comparative Pathology Laboratory and a veterinary pathologist, went on the trip with the students and said that Pokras, “Offered invaluable insight into the wide array of career options open to veterinarians. More importantly, the speaker emphasized the flexibility of a career in veterinary medicine, indicating how important it is for students to be open to changes in career aspirations and paths which can be shaped and reshaped by the students’ pre-veterinary and veterinary experiences.”

Laura Nemec, the laboratory coordinator in ANFS, who also went on the trip said that it was great for the students to learn about all the opportunities afforded to those with veterinary degrees and to see that there are more options out there than just the three most common veterinary practices: small animal practice, large animal practice and food animal practice.

“There is wildlife conservation, there are public health aspects, aquatic and marine aspects and regulatory aspects, it is huge what you can do with a veterinary degree,” said Nemec.

Nemec said that she was glad to see a wide range of students, from freshman up to seniors, go on the trip because it benefitted them all in different ways. “Our juniors and seniors were able to benefit from the procedural aspects of applying to veterinary schools and our freshman and sophomores were able to get a glimpse into the vast realm of veterinary medicine,” said Nemec.

Nemec added that it was great for the freshman, who may have come into college only looking to study small or large animals as undergraduates, to see the different opportunities afforded to them. “At the college level we are opening their minds to small, large and food animal practices, but at the vet school level they realize that these three practices are just the tip of the iceberg.”

Nemec said that Pokras also spoke to the students about funding opportunities to help them pay for vet school, application and interviewing tips, and interesting career opportunities—such as working as a veterinarian in the Army—once the students complete vet school. “Dr. Pokras was a fantastic speaker and was able to encourage and engage the students in discussions throughout the time we were there,” said Nemec.

Jesse Kovacs, a sophomore in CANR, said of the trip, “After attending Dr. Pokras’ lecture, I realized just how many options I had available to me. I had always thought of veterinary school as a way to become a small animal vet, a large animal, or an exotics vet. He demonstrated how many other jobs were out there for someone who had attended vet school.”

Ashley Tait, a sophomore in CANR, echoed these sentiments, saying that she was “amazed at how many options there were besides being a large and small animal veterinarian. Joining the military, working in public health fields, or working for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), all encompass jobs with veterinarians.” She also added that Pokras made it clear that if you do not get accepted into veterinary school right away, to keep applying yourself and to not give up. “Become more experienced and diversify yourself, until you are accepted and make your dreams come true.”

Article by Adam Thomas

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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

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