2022 Department of Animal Science Graduate Student Awards Ceremony

The Department of Animal Science held their 2022 Graduate Student Awards Ceremony on May 6, 2022. Faculty, staff, and donors helped recognize the accomplishments of the department’s graduate students. Over the last 5 years, across the four majors the department has maintained 65-80 M.S. and Ph.D. students. These graduates are trained in varying aspects of basic and applied sciences with graduate degrees in four majors that include Animal Breeding and Genetics, Animal Physiology, Animal Science and Meat Science. Minors are also offered in Animal Breeding and Genetics and in Meat Science.

The 2022 Department of Animal Science Graduate Award for Outstanding Teaching was awarded to Brady Goetz. Goetz is originally from Stewartville, MN. Brady obtained his bachelor’s degree in Animal Science at Iowa State. After graduating, he stayed at ISU for his PhD. Brady’s research involves the role of immune activation in poor transition cow performance and dietary solutions to consider. Brady’s goal is to apply his scientific and research knowledge with farmers and nutritionists to support and sustain the dairy industry. While completing his graduate school, Brady taught in the following classes: ANS 319 – Animal Nutrition, ANS 320 – Animal Feeds & Feeding, ANS 434 – Dairy Systems Management, ANS 411 – Issues in Animal Science, and ANS 475F as the dairy challenge coach.

“Some of the things I tried to do while teaching was to ensure the students not only knew I was someone knowledgeable on the subject, but they had the opportunity to speak freely and ask questions. Additionally, with teaching Ans 320 two different times, I was able anticipate questions that were going to arise and try to explain them more thoroughly from the beginning,” Goetz said.

The 2022 Department of Animal Science Graduate Student Excellence Award was awarded to Krysten Fries-Craft. Fries-Craft completed her Master of Science with Dr. Bobeck in August of 2019 and continued on for her PhD with Dr. Bobeck. During her research Krysten has been driven to learn a variety of assays and has collaborated with the Schmitz-Esser lab to learn laboratory techniques related to analysis of the microbiota. Krysten has publications that encompass applied nutrition and examination of the immunological response to probiotic supplementation. Her work culminated in a top presentation award at Poultry Science annual meetings last summer in Canada. She has 6 peer-reviewed articles, 7 animal industry reports, and 14 abstracts to date.

“My career goal is to work in the poultry/animal industry and continue implementing the skills I learned at ISU to develop and research nutritional strategies to improve animal health and protect our flocks from disease- ideally working with an animal pharmaceutical company. I think animal health is critical for public health and want to work in a capacity where I can combine both fields,” said Fries-Craft.

The Iowa State University Graduate College Research Excellence Award is to recognize graduate students for outstanding research accomplishments as documented in their theses and dissertations. For 2021-2022, Elizabeth Messersmith, Megan Abeyta, and Handagala Janaka Wickramasinghe were all recognized with this award.

Similarly, the Iowa State University Graduate College Teaching Excellence Award is given to recognize and encourage outstanding teaching achievement by graduate students. Julie Opgenorth and Jaspreet Rishi were recognized for this award in 2021-2022.


The following scholarships were awarded to current graduate students in the Department of Animal Science:


Duane and Shirley Acker International Fellowship - to foster international experiences for graduate students

Sonia Rodríguez-Jiménez & Sophia Breuer


John Airy Endowed Graduate Scholarshipfor significant research accomplishment related to beef cattle breeding and management

Dathan Smerchek                                                       


Arthur and Muriel Anderson Scholarshipfor excellence in academic performance and interest in swine science

Jamie Studer                                                  


Charles H. and Inez M. Callahan Memorial Scholarshipfor excellence in academic performance and outstanding leadership in extracurricular poultry activities

Krysten Fries-Craft


Lauren L. Christian Graduate Fellowshipfor excellence in academic performance and outstanding leadership in extracurricular swine activities

Grace Moeller & Derek Henningsen    


Dr. and Mrs. M.E. Ensminger Scholarshipfor excellence in academic performance, character and leadership

Julie Opgenorth


Dr. Gene Freeman Animal Breeding and Genetics Graduate Student Travel Scholarshipfor excellence in academic performance and an interest in working with dairy or beef cattle

Cori Cooper & Leonora James


William Riley Gillette Graduate Scholarship in Animal Sciencein recognition of academic performance in the Department of Animal Science

Brady Goetz & Jamie Studer


Robert E. and Dorothy B. Rust Graduate Scholarship in Meat Sciencein recognition of excellence in academic performance and demonstrated active interest in applied meat processing or allied industry

Sarah Bludau

Dorothy Rust, Robert Rust, and Sarah Bludau


Vaughn and Meg Speer Graduate Awardto provide graduate students in monogastric nutrition with a unique training/education experience

Kayla Miller

Kayla Miller and Vaughn Speer


Thomas Sutherland Graduate Award for Excellencefor excellence in academic performance and significant accomplishment in research relative to tenure in the graduate program

Brady Goetz


David and Jacqueline Topel Scholarship in Meat Sciencefor excellence in academic performance, leadership and involvement in campus activities, and promise of a career related to the meat industry

Logan Johnson

David and Jacqueline Topel Scholarship in Meat Science - Logan Johnson

David Topel, Logan Johnson, Jacqueline Topel


Harold L. and Esther G. Wilcke ScholarshipFor significant research related to the nutritional requirements of domestic animals or poultry

Julie Opgenorth


Esther and Richard Willham Graduate Scholarship in Animal ScienceIn recognition of out-of-the-ordinary creativity in graduate student education

Vishesh Bhatia


Iowa Poultry Association Scholarship, in Honor of Tom J. ZaniosFor excellence in academic performance and interest in the poultry industry

Shulan Xiao    


The graduate students have also been recognized with many other industry awards and scholarships this year as shown in the following list:

Print and Grace Powers Hudson Scholarship in Agriculture (2022)

Jaspreet Rishi


Print and Grace Powers Hudson Scholarship in Agriculture (2022)

Maria Estefania Gonzalez Alvarez


Print and Grace Powers Hudson Scholarship in Agriculture (2021) & The Graduate and Professional Student Senate Research Award (2021)

Janaka Wickramasinghe


Caine-Bogle Family Graduate Fellowship (2022)

Brady Goetz


Iowa Farm Bureau Graduate Fellowship (2022)

Julie Opgenorth


Print and Grace Powers Hudson Scholarship in Agriculture (2022)

Dathan Smerchek


Iowa Farm Bureau Graduate Fellowship (2022) & Iowa Pork Foundation Graduate Fellowship (2022)

Jamie Studer


ASAS Midwest Animal Science Young Scholar winner

Elizabeth Messersmith


First place in the Iowa Pork Congress Research Poster Contest (Sponsored by Cargill) and named one of Farm Journal's Pork, Up and Coming Leaders, November/December 2021

Blythe Schultz


3rd in Midwest ASAS Graduate Student Oral Competition

Dalton Humphrey


Targeting Excellence Scholar

Sarah Elefson


American Physiology Society's Cell and Molecular Physiology Section Research Recognition Award (2022 APS CAMPS Research Recognition Award). 

Swathy Krishna


USDA NIFA Predoctoral Fellowship

Tori Rudolph



The full program from the award’s ceremony can be found here: https://www.ans.iastate.edu/files/page/files/2022_document_-_grad_awards_ceremony.pdf


The greatest accomplishments from the department’s graduate programs have been the training of graduate students that are highly sought after in animal science, academia, science related fields and allied industries. Other accomplishments include scholarly outputs of peer-reviewed original research, fact sheets, patents, webinars and popular press articles generated by these students. If you are interested in contributing to graduate student scholarships, please visit the Iowa State University Foundation website.