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Camryn Schultz: Student Spotlight

Growing up an avid Cyclone fan, Camryn Schultz came to Iowa State to combine her love for science and animals and pursue veterinary school. Hailing from Schleswig, Iowa, she regularly helped her grandpa with chores on the farm and discovered her passion for animals. As a junior majoring in animal science with a minor in meat science, her plans look a little bit different than from when she started as a freshman. Now, she is focused on a career in meat science.   

Camryn gives credit to the animal science department and the different experiences it offers to students when talking about her career switch. “As a freshman, ANS 110: Orientation in Animal Science, encouraged me to go to the career fair. There, I really hit it off with Cactus Family Farms. They offered me an interview and I took it just to get some practice. I ended up accepting the internship and spent a summer working in pork production. I loved it and learned so much about something I never thought I’d be doing.”  

Camryn said she was able to learn not only about pigs, but also about how many different opportunities there were to work with animals that did not involve being a veterinarian. After taking ANS 225: Swine Science, Camryn reaffirmed her interest in pork production. But the surprises did not stop there for her.  

As a sophomore, Camryn was on the hunt for an internship in nutrition. Ultimately, she accepted a position with Tyson in carcass merchandising. After spending the summer at their beef plant in Joslin, Illinois, Camryn knew meat science is where she wanted to be. “The people within the meat protein industry were awesome and taught me a lot. I found that although I still love pork production, meat processing was what I wanted to move forward in for my career.”  

Now as a junior, Camryn is leaning fully into her meat science interest. She is a research assistant in Steven and Elisabeth Lonergan’s lab and cites her favorite class as ANS 360: Fresh Meat Science and Applied Muscle Biology, taught by Steven and Elisabeth Lonergan as well.  

Camryn is also involved in various clubs and activities, including CALS Ambassadors, Meat Science Club, Block & Bridle, and is an Animal Science Peer Mentor.  She has also served as the secretary for Swine Production Advocates, the logistics co-chair for Bacon Expo, and vice president of membership development for her sorority, Alpha Delta Pi.  

After graduation, Camryn plans to pursue a master’s degree in meat science. Ultimately, she has the goal of being a fresh meat scientist for a large meat packing company or continuing on to her earn her doctorate degree. “My love for science hasn’t left. That is why I want to continue my education and do research. It would be great to be able to work to bring new ideas to the industry.” 

During her time at Iowa State, Camryn is most proud of watching her plans change multiple times. “The different experiences the department allowed me to have changed my plans over and over again. I don’t think I would’ve been able to get that if I wasn’t at Iowa State.”  

When asked if she had any advice for other students, Camryn said, “There are so many jobs and opportunities within animal science. Say ‘yes’ to internships opportunities or industry tours, even if it’s not what you initially wanted. You will learn something regardless and it could end up changing your future plans.”