Students find poultry career opportunities at the International Production and Processing Expo

May 24, 2013 under CANR News

Students found out about Poultry careers at the IPPE expoStudents from the University of Delaware interested in the poultry industry walked away with a lot more than information and a great experience at the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association’s International Production and Processing Expo (IPPE) held in Atlanta, Georgia. Some even walked away with job offers.

UD sent 11 students to the event as well as Kali Kniel, associate professor in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences (ANFS). This year, the IPPE set record attendance numbers with over 25,000 visitors and over 1,000 exhibitors. The expo is the world’s largest annual poultry, meat and feed industry event of its kind and one of the 50 largest trade shows in the United States.

The students had most of their travel expenses covered thanks to a grant received by U.S. Poultry and Egg and also some funding from the UD Career Services Center.

The event was a culmination of UD’s Poultry Careers Seminar Series that the students participated in during the 2012 fall semester. The seminar series was organized by Bob Alphin, instructor in ANFS and manager of the Allen Laboratory, and Kniel, and students learned about the many different opportunities afforded to them by the poultry industry from leading industry professionals, with representatives from Perdue Farms, the Delmarva Poultry Industry, Inc. and Mountaire Farms—among others—coming in to speak with the student participants.

As for the trip itself, Kniel said that she felt like it was a great learning experience for the students.

“I think that was a really good way to boost their interest and learn about the allied industries and the kind of depth in the careers that are available with poultry,” explained Kniel. “Because it’s not just working with live birds and it’s not just working in a processing plant, it’s really all the careers in health and production and it’s just a very broad scope.”

Caryn Deakyne, a senior in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR), who attended the program, said that the expo, “Completely opened my eyes up to the countless opportunities in the poultry industry as well as other related fields. By attending this expo I was able to really hone in on the specific jobs that I was looking for and spend the most time focusing on them.”

Deakyne added that Kniel was a great person to have on the trip as she was “such a supportive resource, and she even helped push me towards companies that I was nervous to speak with.”

The students got first hand experience with job interviews, as they were able to interview with many companies during the 3-day program.

Nina Lee, a senior in CANR who went on the trip, explained that the interviews were fast paced, set up in 30-minute increments, and took place with leading industry companies such as Perdue Farms, Mountaire Farms, Butterball and Boar’s Head, among others.

Lee said that she found the interviewing process to be the most beneficial aspect of the trip. “I thought I was astute and well poised before interviews, but after interviewing in Atlanta I learned so many tricks and subtle ways to appear more collected, confident, and eloquent. I became a lot more comfortable and was able to read the interviewer’s questions and responses, while answering with concise but well-thought out answers. Essentially, I learned how to genuinely market myself while showing my professionalism and poise.”

Kniel said that every senior who went on the trip walked away with a job offer from one of the leading producers in the poultry industry. She also encouraged students to look into careers in poultry as she said “Careers in the poultry industry are basically recession proof. The companies are continuing to do well, people eat, food is still being produced, and the health of the animals is still important.”

She also noted that the expo is fantastic as “it’s such a friendly environment. Everyone was very warm, very friendly and very excited to meet the students and to talk about the careers and the positions that they had available. There was a lot of enthusiasm.”

As for Deakyne, she said that the trip played a large part in her recent acceptance of a full-time position with Perdue Farms, Inc., and that she will be entering their plant management trainee program in June in Georgetown, Delaware.

Lee has also accepted a position as a plant management trainee with Perdue Farms in their Milford, Delaware processing plant.

Article by Adam Thomas

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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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