Graduate Student Spotlight: Amy Petry

Amy Petry, a a recently graduated swine nutrition Ph.D. student, was a positive contributor to the Iowa State Department of Animal Science and is representative of the hard-working students that compose the department. Amy was selected as the commencement marshal for the Graduate College for the Fall 2020 ceremony. “I’m very humbled and honored,” said Amy regarding the opportunity. Amy is excited to call Iowa State her alma matter. “Thank you to the animal science community for all of the support and opportunities.”

Petry's Ph.D. research focused on improving pig’s utilization of fibrous feed ingredients by looking at the xylanase enzyme and its mode of action. By understanding xylanase, it’s efficacy, feed efficiency and fiber’s contribution to energy can all be improved. This carries exciting long-term impacts on feed costs and helping reduce pig mortality in commercial production. Amy also spent time in Alberta, Canada, and at the University of Illinois doing lab work. Her favorite part of research has been ’thinking about her science,’ integrating data, putting it together and determining the mode of action to utilize it better. 

Amy will be returning to her Texas roots as an Assistant Professor in Animal Science at Texas Tech University, where she will be combining her passions for swine, research and teaching. While at Iowa State, she was able to get involved and further define her passions while being a Teaching Assistant, serving as the president of the Association of Graduate Animal Scientists, the Graduate Professional Student Senate and as the lab manager for her major professor, Dr. John Patience. “There are so many opportunities available through research, lab work, extracurriculars and industry involvement,” said Petry. 

The Department of Animal Science has played a large role in preparing her for the future. “I appreciate the open-door policy professors have here.” Amy said this helped her make connections with multiple professors. She also had opportunities to network with allied industry and production companies through her Ph.D. program. She’s also been able to expand her professional network through events, including conferences, industry shows and the Iowa Pork Congress. 

Amy encourages current students to make the most of their time at Iowa State. “Learn to be brave, ask questions and network. Put yourself out there and make connections.” She also encourages students to take advantage of ISU’s learning environment and the knowledge they are able to gain. Her favorite quote, “Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think,” has been a motto of her educational career. “It’s important for students to apply critical thinking skills, learn information, then think and integrate it. It’s a valuable skill set in any industry.”