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  • Iowa State and UW-Platteville co-hosted this year’s Midwest Regional Dairy Challenge in Dubuque, IA, on February 15-17, 2023. Dairy Challenge is a farm evaluation competition focused on training the next generation of dairy leaders and connecting them with industry professionals. This year’s contest featured 97 students from 16 colleges and universities in the Midwest. Teams are aggregated across participating universities for regional contests. The host farms that students evaluated for the contest were Blue Hyll Dairy (Clinton, IA), Cinnamon Ridge Farms (Donahue, IA), and D Gaul Dairy (Peosta, IA).

  • McKenna Maus has made the most out of her time at Iowa State. Whether it was the countless committees and co-chairs she served on through Block and Bridle, or working on various research projects, McKenna has jumped into all the opportunities the Department of Animal Science offers.  

    Hailing from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, McKenna is a self-proclaimed “city girl.” Although she was not raised on a farm, she always knew she had a passion for animals and wanted to work with them for a career. Her dad, an Iowa State alumnus, frequently brought McKenna to Cyclone basketball and football games when she was growing up. These interactions and her interests made Iowa State and the animal science department a perfect fit.  

  • Iowa State University’s ACE Project opened a world of opportunities to the two-year-old yellow lab affectionately named Baron after being found astray in the cornfields near Council Bluffs, Iowa. The Ace Project partners with Midlands Humane Society to bring opportunities for students to work with foster dogs, like Baron, with behaviors that aren’t suited to life in the shelter. 

    Last semester, Danielle Pape received the opportunity to foster Baron through the Project, a student group she has been involved in since the Spring of 2022, her junior year. When Pape first met Baron, she knew he had something special, but as a high-energy and high-anxiety dog, she wasn’t sure if a typical family life would suit him.  

  • The URUS Dairy Consulting Experience brought together 18 undergraduate students from across the top agricultural schools to learn and network while competing for a $1,000 scholarship. In four rigorous days in early January, students learned about cattle reproduction, genetics and information management while growing their skills as future dairy consultants at the URUS headquarters in Madison, WI.

    Students who were selected for the program include:

  • The students, postdocs, staff and faculty of the Animal Breeding and Genetics group made major contributions in leadership roles and scientific presentations at the recent Plant and Animal Genome (PAG) conference in San Diego, a premier international meeting for agricultural genomics.

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  • When Shayne Wiese graduated from Iowa State University in 2017 with his B.S. in Animal Science, he never expected to find himself flying out to Washington, D.C. to go before the House Agriculture Committee on behalf of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) and Iowa Cattlemen's Association (ICA). Testifying the value of conservation programs for cattle producers might have come as a surprise to Wiese but made it no less of an honor.  

  • The ISU Dairy Judging Team had a busy fall semester competing in three contests and then prior to the spring semester they competed down in the Lone Star State. The team this fall was coached by former ISU dairy judging team member (2018), Mary (Scott) Fliehler who works for Select Sires MidAmerica as a Marketing & Communications Specialist while Ms. Christen Burgett was out on maternity leave. Team members included: Amber Engelken, Earlville, IA; Mason Jauquet1, Pulaski, WI; Faith (Palmer) Scott, Waukon, IA; and Carly Strauss2, Lake Mills, WI. To start off their successful season in September 2022, the team competed at the 28th Annual Vernon County Intercollegiate Dairy Cattle Judging Contest in Viroqua, WI.

  • Once again this holiday season, our department participated in Mentor Iowa’s Adopt-a-Family holiday event. Mentor Iowa’s mission is to provide trained volunteer mentors to abused, neglected, and delinquent children who are under the jurisdiction of the Juvenile Court. Every year during the holidays, they host a Christmas party for the individuals in the program, their mentors, and their families in the Central Iowa area. For some of these children, this may be the only opportunity to receive gifts, so their goal is to make every child feel special during this festive time.

  • Grace Moeller, an Ohio State University Zoology graduate, received her Master's in Animal Science from Iowa State in 2020 with the late Dr. Ken Stalder and is now working on her Ph.D. in Animal Science with Dr. Dan Thomson. After receiving her Bachelor's degree from Ohio State, Grace said her decision to continue her education at Iowa State was an easy one. Her parents are both Iowa State University graduates, so she said that coming to Iowa State felt like coming home. One of her favorite parts about the department is the diverse and expansive group of faculty members we have and the immense amount of support for graduate students regardless of species of interest or area of focus.

  • It's not every day that a college student receives a $1.5 million loan to construct their own business before they even graduate. This may not be the common path to take, but it is exactly the road Animal Science Senior Jordan Marks is on.  

    Marks' passion for the meats industry started when he was young, working in his uncle’s meat locker located in Remsen, Iowa, since he was the age of 14. As he approached his senior year of high school Marks started to consider his future career, looking at jobs in welding and construction, but nothing seemed to fit. When the idea of building and owning his own meat locker, Marks said that “it just clicked and I instantly knew that that was what I was going to do.” He decided that the difficult journey to reach his dream would be even harder without a college degree by his side.  

  • With a lifelong passion for animals of all shapes and sizes, Claudia DeLeon’s journey in the Iowa State University animal science program started like many, with the desire to become a veterinarian. 

    When DeLeon made the journey to Iowa from her home state of Florida, she fully expected to leave as a veterinarian, but as she went through the undergraduate program, it became evident that her true passion was in the research field rather than medicine. After she graduated with her bachelor’s degree in animal science in the spring of 2021, DeLeon decided to continue at Iowa State to pursue her master’s degree in animal physiology. 

  • Cori 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.  

  • The members of the Association of Graduate Animal Scientists are selling meat bundle raffle tickets for their annual fundraiser. For this year’s raffle, they have two meat bundles available to win, each containing more than 50lbs of pork and beef. Both bundles are valued at $300. Tickets are priced at one for $10 or five tickets for $40. They accept cash or checks made payable to ISU AGAS. The proceeds of the raffle go to support travel scholarships for the members of AGAS. The ticket drawing will take place on November 8th, where two winners will receive a $300 value meat bundle. Those who win do not need to be present to claim the bundle and will be contacted on November 8th. The product must be picked up from the Meats Laboratory by November 18th. Contact Grace Moeller to purchase tickets at 

  • Tom Rathje started his journey at Iowa State University, as many in animal science do, as a pre-vet major. Possessing a strong love for science and math, this seemed to be the perfect option for him until he found his undeniable passion for genetics while taking an advanced breeding and genetics course during his time at Iowa State. Rathje went on to explain that current associate professor Brad Skaar and now professor emeritus Max Rothschild “were able to show me a path forward in genetics where I would be able to utilize all of my skills and interests.” Rathje graduated from Iowa State University in 1989 with his bachelor's degree in animal science and continued to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he received his MBA in Business Administration along with his M.S. and Ph.D. in Genetics. 

  • Students in the Department of Animal Science now have access to new 3D virtual technology to study in ANS 214 lab on Domestic Animal Anatomy and Physiology.  Animal science 214 is a foundational course that students build upon throughout their coursework.

    “We are the first animal science program in the nation, possibly the world, to incorporate this state-of-the-art, cutting-edge virtual anatomy and physiology dissection table technology in the classroom by Anatomage,” said assistant professor Karl Kerns, instructor of animal science 214 lab.

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