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Corey Thomas graduated from UConn in 2015 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Animal Science. During his time as an undergraduate student, he was an instructor for Little I Livestock show in Poultry. He was involved in a running club and an a cappella group, living at Spring Valley Student Farm during his Senior Year.
After graduating from his undergrad, Corey worked at UConn with exchange students from various African countries to develop entrepreneurship programs to implement in their home countries. He also spent some time writing for UConn extension, gaining a deeper appreciation for local agriculture after repeatedly interviewing local farmers and CSA farms. He then moved to Martha’s Vineyard to gain livestock experience working for a diversified livestock educational farm, The Farm Institute.
Upon being accepted into UConn’s Teaching Certification Program for College Graduates, Corey left the island and began his classes at UConn Waterbury. He completed his student teaching at Middletown High School Agriculture Science and Technology Center, researching the intersection of experiential learning and environmental education while developing a curriculum on survival homesteading. After graduating with his MA in May of 2017, Corey accepted a position with Massaro community Farm as an Education Director. In this role, Corey will work to develop educational programing, field trips, and a summer camp for local schools and communities in the New Haven County area.
After graduating from UConn, Genevieve attended the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine where she focused on equine medicine and spent the majority of her clinical time at the school’s large animal facility, New Bolton Center. Throughout her time in vet school, she appreciated the strong animal science background gained from UConn. After graduating from UPenn in May 2013, Genevieve pursued an internship and gained employment in private practice at the New England Equine Medical & Surgical Center in Dover, NH.
Alumna Kaitlin (Wilson) Lindhardt graduated from UConn in ‘09 as an honors student with a B.S. in Animal Science. Her honors advisors were Dr. Cindy Tian and Dr. Kumar Venkitanarayanan. She received her M.S. in ANSC from Washington State University in ‘11 under Dr. Holly Neibergs with a focus on breeding and genetics. Kaitlin is currently Senior Husbandry Coordinator in the Lab Animal Resources Department at KUMC (University of Kansas Medical Center) where she utilizes skills she learned in Dr. Milvae’s Lab Animal course. Kaitlin works as a supervisor of a large animal team which takes care of all species that are USDA regulated (e.g. gerbils, rabbits, dogs, etc.) She provides basic husbandry and also assists the rodent workers with taking care of a mouse breeding colony.
Sarah LaRose graduated with her bachelor’s in Animal Science in 2007 and her Master’s of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction in 2008. After completing the masters program, she began teaching at Nonnewaug High School in the Agriscience and Technology Program where she has been busy teaching a wide variety of classes including Animal Science, Horse Management and Local Food Production. She has won several awards for her teaching and traveled to South Korea. This month, she will begin working towards her PhD in Agriculture Education and Communication at the University of Florida. Read more about her work here.
Jamie was initially interested in a career as a veterinarian. The more time she spent as an Animal Science student, however, the more she realized that there were a wide variety of opportunities in food science, a field that interested her. The three classes that piqued her interest in food science were Animal Food Products, Poultry Science, and Food Microbiology and Safety.
After graduating from UConn, she went on to obtain a Master of Public Health degree from UConn. In addition to her job in Recall Management and Technical Analysis with the USDA, she is on the State of Connecticut Department of Public Health’s Food Safety Advisory Committee and assists with the UConn Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point course twice per year in Storrs. Jamie believes in the importance of exploring a wide variety of opportunities and getting involved. Read more from her interview on Naturally@UConn here.
Heather grew up on a small farm in Connecticut, where she raised and showed a small herd of registered Jersey Cattle. She was a member of the Litchfield County 4-H and the Woodbury FFA Program. She graduated from UConn in 2007, with a BS in Animal Science and a Minor in Dairy Management. After graduation, she worked in retail for Agriventures Agway (New Milford, CT) as a Farm Specialist and Store Manager. In 2009, she moved to Lee, MA to work as a herdsman for High Lawn Farm (HLF) – a 180 milking cow registered Jersey Herd. Heather served as Farm Manager from 2011-2013, and helped the farm downsize and transition to a 2 robotic milking facility. During her time at HLF, she worked closely with several bull stud companies to breed young stud bull calves using genomics – they had a Top 5 bull in the breed, as well as several Top 200 cows and heifers to rank on the quarterly genomic lists. In 2013, she received the Young Jersey Breeders Award from the New England Jersey Breeders Association for her work with the genetic improvement at HLF. Since last June, Heather is now working at Arethusa Farm (Litchfield, CT) as the Milking Barn Manager and is in charge of an 80 cow milking barn and its staff, along with other daily tasks that include all cow care, breeding, and barn upkeep. Arethusa Farm gives many tours, and has their barn open to the public every Saturday to promote their products and the local farm movement. Arethusa consists of 350 head of Registered Holsteins, Jerseys and Brown Swiss. The farm also houses some of the great cows from the show ring, including Veronica, Vista, Karlie and many others.
In Spring of 2012, Dr. Surendranath Suman, a UConn Department of Animal Science M.S. (’05) and Ph.D. (’06) alumnus, accepted the Young Animal Scientist in Research Award from the American Society of Animal Science Southern Section.
Dr. Suman is an Assistant Professor at the University of Kentucky and studies proteomics, specifically, the interactions between proteins in meat. Suman wants to know how protein interactions affect coloration in meat. Much of his research focuses on a protein called myoglobin, which binds with iron to give meat its color.
In July 2013, he was also awarded the 2013 ASAS Early Career Achievement Award at the annual ASAS/ADSA meeting in Indianapolis.
Carey (Marston) Kegel graduated from UConn in 2005 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Animal Science, focusing on Equine Sciences, with a deep interest in animal nutrition, reproduction, and behavior. She spent a lot of time in the UConn horse barn and was a member of the Equestrian Team. As a result of her four years of classes, labs, and extracurriculars, she took away an invaluable amount of information that helped her find a job in the field she desired.
In Carey’s senior year, she began to focus her career search around equine feed sales and pharmaceutical sales. During her career search, she found a company called SmartPak Equine that was hiring for Product Specialists for equine supplement and supply sales. After being hired in November 2005, she moved from Connecticut to Plymouth, MA, and served as a Product Specialist for over a year, helping customers to find the best products and supplements for their horses. Since then, Carey transitioned to the E-Commerce Department where she now serves as the Email Marketing Manager. “My experiences at UConn definitely contributed to the career I have today, and I have been fortunate to be able to combine my love for horses with customer service and marketing to help solve customer problems." – Carey (Marston) Kegel
I obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science from the University of Connecticut in May 2005. While attending the University of Connecticut, I gained valuable experience through coursework, hands on experience working at the University of Connecticut’s Livestock Unit, research experience at the Center for Regenerative Biology, and internship opportunities at Mystic Aquarium and Institute for Exploration and Pfizer Global Research and Development.
These experiences were instrumental in my acceptance into Kansas State University, where I earned my doctorate in veterinary medicine in May 2009. As a veterinary student, I served as president of my class and received awards for my leadership experience, potential to contribute to the profession, and proficiency in both small and food animal medicine and surgery.
After graduation, I moved to Borger, Texas, where I began working as a mixed animal practitioner at High Plains Animal Hospital. After practicing in Texas for three years, I moved back to Connecticut to be closer to family. I am currently employed at Torrington Animal Hospital in Torrington, CT, working as a small animal veterinarian.
Jessica Belsito graduated from UConn in 2003 with a B.S. in Animal Science and a minor in Dairy Management. While at UConn, she aided a graduate student with research trials and in turn learned what being a graduate student and pursuing an M.S. degree was all about. Jessica decided that was the route she wanted to take so she could specialize in her favorite area -- Dairy Industry Mastitis Management.
As an undergraduate, Jessica took classes useful to her as a graduate student even though she did not need them to graduate (e.g. Organic Chemistry, Growth & Nutrition, etc…) The summer before her senior year, Jessica participated in an internship with a pharmaceutical company to gain experience in that field. It was a great résumé builder and she learned sales skills and, more importantly, people skills.
During her senior year, she focused on choosing which college she wanted to attend for graduate school. She visited a few colleges and met with all of the professors that would qualify to be her "major professor" and in charge of her research project. Jessica picked the University of Florida based on the kinds of research that her professor was doing and because she thought they both would work together well.
Jessica completed her M.S. in two years and applied for many different jobs. It is important to start applying almost a full year before you graduate. Finding a job that will be a good fit takes time. Jessica worked for a nutrition company before deciding she wanted to move home to Massachusetts and work with her family's business. The sales and people skills she learned from her internship and other job experiences were invaluable. She was able to bring new marketing ideas and some new science knowledge to her family's business.
The work Jessica undertook while obtaining her Master's degree allowed her to be able to understand new science concepts as they relate to new products and management techniques. She feels that working with many different people and companies gave her invaluable experience that has become a valuable asset to her own company.
Jessica’s current title is Director of Marketing and Technical Advisor. She does everything from research and development of new products, filling out EPA and FDA paperwork for products, creating labels and instructions for marketing and use of company products, and editing the company's magazine – Dairy World!
After graduating from UConn in 2002, Michaela worked for a brief time as an Assistant Animal Curator at a local small children’s museum. After a short period of time, she went back to UConn for a degree in Physical Therapy. She graduated with a Masters in Physical Therapy in 2007, and started working in an outpatient setting with a large focus on sports and manual therapy. Since then, she has had the opportunity to work in a variety of settings, including a school system north of Hartford, and home-care.
As well as working in a clinic, she has had the opportunity to serve on the CT Board of Physical Therapy. Michaela believes that her time at UConn studying Animal Science has given her a greater sense of confidence to help achieve her goals within her field and help her patients achieve theirs. She is currently working per diem as a Physical Therapist while raising her three young sons.
After graduating from UConn in ‘92 with a B.S. in Animal Science, Dr. Steven E. Ellis attended graduate school at Virginia Tech, where he earned both his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees researching lactation physiology and mammary development in dairy animals. After earning his Ph.D. in ‘98, Steve spent two years working at the Institute for Molecular Medicine and Genetics at the Medical College of Georgia as a postdoctoral researcher on a thymus development project. He then returned to dairy research as a visiting scientist at the USDA Beltsville Animal Research Center. In ‘02, Dr. Ellis started his position at Clemson University in the Animal and Veterinary Sciences Department, where he continues his mammary development research and teaches histology, graduate physiology, and other courses. In addition, Dr. Ellis is currently serving as a Program Officer at the National Science Foundation in the Biological Sciences Directorate. At NSF, he helps manage the review of grant proposals from a wide range of researchers across the biological sciences.
Laurie Macha, who obtained her BS in Animal Science from UConn in 1987 and her MS in Animal Science from UConn in 1991, began her career at the Mystic Aquarium right after graduation. An internship she did as an independent study while attending UConn helped her secure a position with the aquarium. Now, as the Curator of Marine Mammals and Birds, she is responsible for the care, management and training of beluga whales, sea lions and seals, but penguins are her passion.
The job requires a lot of physical activity and time spent outdoors to make sure that everyone has the tools and supplies they need to care for the mammals and birds. Laurie credits animal behavior, genetics and endocrinology classes as being the most useful courses she took that apply to her current job. Laurie has also been able to travel to South Africa several times to help with penguins affected by oil spills and assisted in writing a manual for zookeepers on penguin chick conservation. Read more about Laurie's experiences at the aquarium here.
Bill Davenport (ANSC BS ’85 and ANSC MS ’86 with a teaching certificate) was very involved as an undergraduate and graduate student inthe Department of Animal Science. While a student at UConn, he was Vice President and then President of the Dairy Club as well as an active member of the Block and Bridle Club. As a student, Bill enjoyed participating in the Dairy Show, in which he won Champion in 1983 and 1985.
Bill credits his successes as an agricultural teacher at Nonnewaug High School to his experiences at UConn both in club involvement and mentorship from faculty and grad students. As an undergraduate and graduate student, Bill studied under renowned professors such as Dr. Cowan, Dr. Riesen and Dr. Kinsman, the latter to whom he credits his knowledge of meat science. This knowledge was instrumental in teaching his students including current ANSC professor Dr. Richard Mancini. Bill credits graduate student, Jeff Semler, with honing his coaching skills for dairy judging.
As a teacher at Nonnewaug High School, Bill has coached many successful FFA dairy judging teams to victory including 20 state championships and three top 5 teams at nationals. Bill’s successes in and out of the classroom gained him the CT Teacher of the Year Award in 2004.
In addition to being a successful agricultural teacher, Bill owns and shows several dairy cows that he keeps on his brother Jim’s farm in NY.Read the entire interview with Bill Davenport here.
Dr. R.L. “ Bob” Hough is a UConn alumnus. He was raised in Pennsylvania where his family had a general livestock farm. He graduated from UConn in the Department of Animal Science (formerly named Animal Industries) with his M.S. degree in 1984. Dr. Hough remained at UConn once he received his degree and due to an assistantship he was able to teach Farm Management, Beef Cattle Management, Livestock Evaluation and coached the UConn Livestock Judging Team all while working part-time toward a PhD in agronomy with an emphasis in grazing.
His background in animal science led him on quite an accomplished career path where he was employed as a Livestock Extension Specialist, editor for the Journal of Sustainable Agriculture, Executive Secretary/Treasurer (CEO) for ten years and Marketing Coordinator for three years at the Red Angus Association of America (RAAA), and served as President of U.S. Beef Breeds Council.
Dr. Hough is an avid writer, popular speaker and livestock evaluator, having written more than 300 scientific, technical, and popular press articles, wrote the book The History of Red Angus, coauthored Breeds of Cattle, been quoted in many national articles, and has been invited to speak on programs in 27 states, four Canadian provinces, Paraguay, Bolivia, and Brazil.
Mr. and Mrs. Jim and Karen Davenport (ANSC BS ‘82 and ANSC MS ‘84 with a teaching certificate, respectively) met in Dr. Michael Darre’s first poultry class. Karen now teaches Agricultural Education at the local high school and Jim, along with two of his brothers, runs their successful dairy farm in upstate NY. Karen tells the story of the day she met Jim:
“I was in Dr. Darre's first ever poultry class. We met in George White where the temperature hovered over 90 degrees, day and night and all year long. We had taken our first exam and Dr. Darre laid the tests out on the front table for us to pick up AND for all the world to see. Apparently my four years as a vocational agriculture student at Ledyard High School and my poultry supervised agricultural experience program taught me a few things about chickens as well as Mike's instruction because I earned a 100 on the exam. Jim saw my grade and said in a very loud and clear voice, "the people who get hundreds ruin the curve for the rest of us" apparently he saw this as an ice breaker to get to know me. HA!He broke the ice all right, and I left the room frozen because I was so embarrassed. I actually missed the rest of the class. The only class in college I ever "skipped". To this day, Dr. Darre takes credit for a very happy 30-year marriage and two more Davenport girls, Kristen, 24 and Laura 23.”
Jim and Karen both come from families consisting of many UConn graduates and were involved in both the Dairy Club and Block and Bridle while attending UConn. The guidance they received from their ANSC professors, such as Dr. John Reisen, helped them in pursuing successful agricultural careers after their graduation. The Davenports are heavily invested in the future of agriculture and can attribute much of their success to the guidance of our Animal Science Program.
Read more about their family and UConn experience here.
Alumna Dr. Kristen Johnson received her B.S. in Animal Sciences with an interest in animal nutrition from UConn in 1980, and then went on to Michigan State University where she earned an M.S. and Ph.D. in Animal Sciences with again an emphasis in animal nutrition. She attended Colorado State University for post doctoral experience in animal energetics. She is now currently a professor at Washington State University in the Department of Animal Sciences and teaches several undergraduate classes including a freshman seminar, upper division courses in Ruminant Nutrition and Beef Cattle Production, and graduate classes in nutrition and nutrient management. Her research program includes work in whole animal and mitochondrial energy expenditure, methane production by ruminants and nutrition and the environment. The path she took following UConn now is not one she would have predicted but rather is the result of a lot of opportunities leading to her current position.
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