Alumni Feature – Erin Deters, Post-Doctoral Research Associate at Iowa State

Erin DetersWhen Erin Deters started her journey at Iowa State University in 2012, she had no idea that she would still be here almost nine years later. In 2015, Erin graduated with her B.S. in Animal Science. Not knowing exactly what she wanted to do after graduation, she decided to continue at Iowa State to pursue her Doctorate after Stephanie Hansen, a professor at Iowa State with an expertise in Ruminant Nutrition, presented her the opportunity. Erin received her Ph.D. in 2020 and is now a post-doctoral research associate with Hansen, focusing on feedlot nutrition. 

Erin credits Iowa State and the Department of Animal Science for helping her find the right career path and for allowing her to explore areas she wasn’t familiar with but grew to love. She explained that she came into Iowa State on a pre-veterinary track with an interest in horses and companion animals, though when it came time to apply for the veterinary medicine program, Erin realized she wanted something different. It was undergraduate nutrition classes like ANS 319, 320 and 419 where she found her passion for nutrition. This passion and an unexpected but timely offer from Hansen led her to where she is today.

During her time as an undergraduate, Erin participated in a study abroad trip to Brazil with professors Brad Skarr and Peggy Auwerda. The trip focused on facilities and care of cattle and horses. When asked if she developed a favorite class or teacher over her time at Iowa State, she pointed out the difficulty of the question. She then proceeded to list off many nutrition and species-specific classes she enjoyed. Outstanding faculty members like Dan Loy and Cheryl Morris, among others, helped her succeed in her educational goals. 

Erin’s advice for students is to take advantage of the opportunities available to them. “The biggest thing you can do for yourself is to keep your options open.” She pointed out that college is all about finding yourself and your interests. Something hard to do when you close a door before even considering it as an option. “Don’t get so ingrained in the mindset of what you think you are going to do because things can change so easily.”