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2023 Department of Animal Science Graduate Student Awards Ceremony

The Department of Animal Science held their 2023 Graduate Student Awards Ceremony on May 5, 2023. 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 2023 Department of Animal Science Graduate Award for Outstanding Teaching was awarded to Caroline Downey.  Caroline has been extremely active in teaching and coaching in the area of Meat Selection and Grading having coached three ISU Meat Judging Teams to date. Additionally, she has been active in both Extension programming helping to conduct over 25 ISU Meat Science Extension activities for both youth and adult learners. Further, her research has focused on improving the color and oxidative stability of frozen ground beef specific to our small locker industry here in Iowa. Upon completion of her M.S. degree, Caroline hopes to stay in academics as an instructor in Meat Science.

The 2023 Department of Animal Science Graduate Student Excellence Award was awarded to Brady Goetz and Meaghan Meyer. 

Brady’s research looked at the correlation between the inflammatory response following dry-off and its impact on inflammation and production in the following lactation. Brady completed five projects and defended his PhD in early April. He accepted a consulting position with GPS Dairy.

In addition to welfare and behavior-based research in broilers, Meaghan has worked on optimizing a metabolic assay in laying hen and broiler immune cells, and has piloted multiple broiler feed-additive performance and gut health-focused trials. Meaghan’s work has resulted in mentoring over 50 undergraduate students, 19 conference abstracts, 8 animal industry reports, and 17 peer-reviewed publications.

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 2022-2023, Meaghan Meyer and Krysten Fries-Craft were 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. Cori Cooper and Vishesh Bhatia were recognized for this award in 2022-2023.


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

Chloe Hagen and Logan Johnson

Jason Ross and Chloe Hagen   Jason Ross and Logan Johnson  

 John Airy Endowed Graduate Scholarship - for significant research accomplishment related to beef cattle breeding and management

Kourtney Jimmerson and Emma Rients

Jason Ross and Kourtney Jimmerson  Jason Ross and Emma Rients

 Arthur and Muriel Anderson Scholarship - for excellence in academic performance and interest in swine science

Caitlyn Wileman

 Jason Ross and Caitlyn Wileman  

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

Krysten Fries-Craft

Jason Ross and Krysten Fries-Craft

 Lauren L. Christian Graduate Fellowship - for excellence in academic performance and outstanding leadership in extracurricular swine activities

Alexandra Keller and Grace Moeller

 Jason Ross and Alexandra Keller  Jason Ross and Grace Moeller

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

Vishesh Bhatia and Leonora James

Jason Ross and Vishesh Bhatia  Jason Ross and Leonora James

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

Zoe Kiefer and Kayla Miller

Jason Ross and Zoe Kiefer  Jason Ross and Kayla Miller

Dr. and Mrs. M.E. Ensminger Scholarship - for excellence in academic performance, character and leadership

Tapiwa Magwaba

Tapiwa Magwaba

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

Kayle Eivins

Jason Ross and Kayle Eivins

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

Dalton Humphrey and Caitlyn Wileman

Jason Ross and Dalton Humphrey  Jason Ross & Caitlyn Wileman

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

Krysten Fries-Craft

Jason Ross and Krysten Fries-Craft

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

Logan Johnson

Jason Ross & Logan Johnson

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

Sonia Rodriguez-Jimenez

Jason Ross and Sonia Rodriguez-Jimenez

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

Dalton Humphrey

Jason Ross & Dalton Humphrey

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

Krysten Fries-Craft

 Jason Ross & Krysten Fries-Craft

The full program from the award’s ceremony can be found here: 2023 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.