Student Spotlight: Cori Cooper

Cori CooperCori Cooper may have enrolled in the Iowa State Animal Science Department with no prior agriculture background, but she is certainly making an impact in the livestock industry now.  

As a Ph.D. student, Cooper is building on the research from her master’s degree, which is using automated technology to look at indicator traits of feed efficiency in dairy cattle.  

Her decision to pursue a degree in animal science stemmed from her grandfather, who owned a hog farm. She said her respect for him and what he did to support his family has inspired her to give back to producers, which is exactly what she is doing.  

When asked why she decided to pursue a graduate degree, Cooper explained it was a combination of her interests that led her on her path. She originally wanted to go to veterinary school but in the end, decided she wanted to focus on dairy cattle. With her enjoyment of math and statistics, it was only natural for her to choose the route of a breeding and genetics graduate degree. 

As an Iowa State undergraduate transfer student, Cori was a peer mentor. Now she supports Assistant Professor Jennifer Bundy in coordinating and implementing the program each year. She has also been on the executive team for the Association of Graduate Animal Scientists for two years, as well as a part of Preparing Future Faculty.   

Cori is most proud of working with students. She had the opportunity to be a Teaching Assistant as well as work with undergraduate students that assist her with her research project. She is grateful to be a part of their stories as they find their niche in the animal science industry.  

After obtaining her Ph.D., Cooper aspires to work in the industry or academia that encompasses extension and outreach or teaching.  

When asked if she had advice for younger students, Cori said, “Don’t get discouraged by other people’s thoughts and opinions. You can do anything you set your mind to, so don’t give up on your dreams.”