Katelyn McFadden enjoys opportunities to conduct animal science research and give presentations at national conferences. She is a CANR College Ambassador and plans to become a veterinarian. Here is what she said in an interview.
What is your major? Why did you choose this major? I am an animal science major. In high school I looked into the animal science program at UConn and decided to apply because they have an excellent program. I plan to become a veterinarian.
Name two or three activities, internships or jobs that have enriched our studies. During my senior year of high school, I was part of a research mentorship program. I worked in Dr. Kristen Govoni’s laboratory in the Animal Science department at UConn. examining the expression of T-box2 in the bovine mammary gland. The research mentorship program opened up doors for me. I was able to build relationships with professors, and I found that I enjoyed doing research, which was something I had not considered before.
During my freshman year at UConn I participated in a study examining the effects of poor maternal nutrition on offspring using sheep as a model. I was able to get hands on experience with sheep and also lab analysis experience.
I got a Summer Undergraduate Research Fund grant to study the effects of maternal vitamin D supplementation on bone and cartilage development in pigs. This is my honors thesis. I presented my thesis at the Joint Annual Meeting (JAM) of the American Dairy Science Association, the American Society of Animal Science and the Canadian Society of Animal Science. I placed third in the undergraduate poster presentation.
I got a UConn IDEA grant, which gives you money to pursue an idea. I studied the effects of poor maternal nutrition on gene and protein expression in the liver in lambs. My research is continuing for three semesters. It is a research project at the master’s degree level and funded by the University Scholar Project. I will be presenting it at JAM in July.
Which one of these endeavors was the most memorable? Why? All of my research has been memorable to me. I have had great opportunities to get hands on animal experience and to develop critical thinking skills. I have also been able to network and collaborate with other schools. The vitamin D research project was a collaborative project with Texas Tech, and we communicated with them extensively.
What was the biggest challenge in your UConn career? Balancing coursework, research and extracurricular activities has been the biggest challenge for me. I needed to learn time management skills. When I was doing one of my animal studies, I was working with lambs, and they had to be fed every three hours. The other students and I took turns feeding them. I had to wake up in the middle of the night to feed them while keeping up with all of my other responsibilities.
When do you expect to graduate? What then? I am graduating in May 2015. After I graduate, I plan to attend veterinary school. I hope to be accepted into a dual degree program, which is an eight year program where I will be able to get both my veterinary science degree and my PhD.
Is there anything else you would like us to know about you? I am a Peer Research Ambassador for the Office of Undergraduate Research. I share my experiences with research and encourage others to get involved in it.
In addition, I am a College Ambassador for CANR. I help at events, such as Cornucopia, and talk to prospective students and their parents. Being an Ambassador is a great way to give back to the College of Agriculture and promote a good image of the College.
I was a goat husbandry intern at local Beltane Farm in Lebanon. I milked goats for the summer. The farm sells the goat milk and makes goat cheese as well. This semester I am participating in the Dairy Show at UConn. I trained a jersey calf for the show. I halter broke it and trained it to walk properly. I also volunteer at the Manchester Veterinary Clinic.
By Claire Morris