Kathy Strawn, B.S., M.S.
Home State: Iowa
Current Residence: Phoenix, Arizona
Background and Education
Kathy grew up in central Iowa and graduated with a B.S. in Animal Science from Iowa State University prior to starting her Masters degree in Nutritional Physiology. She and her husband Steve have been married since 1993 and have lived in Phoenix since Kathy’s graduation in 1995.
Kathy’s most recent job titles include Technical Support Manager and Area Quality Assurance Manager. After working almost 10 years in Quality Assurance for various companies in the pet food industry, she has recently had the opportunity to pursue another career. She is currently working towards a degree in Database Administration. She will leverage her science background and the computer skills she is developing to find a career in the fledgling biotechnical development in the Phoenix area.
Current Work Responsibilities
Her previous job responsibilities included establishing testing protocols, providing training to customers, troubleshooting customer complaints and developing written protocols and support materials for customers. Kathy worked with senior management to determine staffing needs, root cause quality issues, and to brainstorm sales strategy. Kathy has also served as the primary contact for manufacturing plants on quality issues, developing and implementing corporate quality policies and procedures, and conducting audits of manufacturing facilities, blenders and warehouses. She managed Integrate Pest Management service contracts in excess of $500,000/year and facilitated budget development at the plant level for quality initiatives.
Describe your graduate program at Iowa State:
The objective of Kathy’s research was to use a rigorous sampling schedule for characterizing oxygen delivery, acid-base variables, metabolites and other clinical values in stressed and unstressed newborn calves. She also had the opportunity to teach Animal Science 214 (Animal Physiology) laboratory for several semesters.
In what ways has your degree from ISU impacted your professional and personal development?
My graduate school experience greatly enhanced my ability to think critically and to evaluate data. In Quality Assurance, interpreting data is an essential skill to trouble shooting quality failures and improving processes.
What advice would you give to prospective graduate students considering Animal Science at Iowa State?
An important piece of advice would be to make sure that your research project is a subject that you can be passionate about. You are about to spend several years of your academic career with this project and you want to feel passionate about your project or it can become difficult to finish. Also, this is the time to gain marketable skills. The purpose of gaining this degree is to get a job and be successful. The skills you gain are laboratory, writing, speaking, and research. Take the opportunity while you are in school to maximize your skill set.
Kathy and her husband Steve in 1993 and hiking in Colorado (circa 2007)