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Author Archives: Sara Putnam

About Sara Putnam

Sara is director of the College’s Office of Communications. She has a BA and an MA, both in English, from UConn. She is also assistant to the dean for human resources.

UConn Dairy Science: Home to one of nation’s top dairy herds, maker of legendary ice cream

MCCconeA scoop of Salted Caramel Crunch and a scoop of Toasted Almond Amaretto nestle together in a cup. If you can, let it sit for five minutes so the ice cream just begins to melt, creating a little pool in the bottom of the cup. (In July, this step is not required.) Now, spoon a small amount from each sphere, saucing it with some of the liquid from the bottom of the cup.
Oh. My. Goodness.

This mini-miracle must be the result of some sort of wizardry: Milk from the cows on Horsebarn Hill goes into the shiny steel vats of the UConn Creamery. A spell is cast, and poof! The best ice cream in the world appears. But there’s no magic here; what makes this sublime treat is passion, hard work and scrupulous attention to detail—along with the best ingredients you can get.

UConn’s ice cream begins with the milking cows in the Kellogg Dairy Center (KDC) on Horsebarn Hill, just about 700 yards from the Dairy Bar. (The cows you see grazing on the hill are their not-yet-bred daughters, called heifers.) The UConn Department of Animal Science’s dairy herd is a mix of Holsteins and Jerseys, and a remarkable group of dams it is. The herd has just been ranked by the venerable Hoard’s Dairyman as one of the top twenty of approximately 47,000 dairy herds in the country, receiving a gold ”Best of the Best” National Dairy Quality Award. This accomplishment, extraordinary in itself, is made all the more so by the fact that many of those who tend to the cows are students studying dairy management and milk production in an experiential learning environment. Only one other university herd, from the University of Wisconsin, made the Hoard’s list. The list recognizes milk quality, the primary measure of which is the milk’s somatic cell count (SCC). The lower the number of somatic cells in the milk, the better the animals’ health and the longer the shelf life and finer the quality of the dairy products made from it. This starts to explain why the ice cream’s so good.


Meet undergraduate Amanda Michelson

Amanda Michelson

Amanda Michelson

An animal lover, Amanda Michelson enjoyed horseback riding as a young girl growing up in a suburb of New York City. Michelson is an animal science major with a pre-vet area of interest in the Department of Animal Science and serves as a CAHNR Ambassador while working as an administrative assistant in the College. While she’s leaving her options open, she is leaning toward a veterinary career with large or exotic animals. Here is what she said about her experiences as a CAHNR student:

What attracted you to UConn? I was initially attracted to UConn because of its animal science program and facilities. At the time, I was looking for a school that had a strong undergraduate animal science program that could prepare me for veterinary school, as well as a school that had a polo program since I had started playing polo in high school. When I came to open house and saw the close-knit community of faculty and students within the department and the College overall, I knew it would be a good fit for me.

Why did you choose your particular major? I chose animal science because I knew it would give me a strong foundation for vet school since that’s my ultimate goal. I also really wanted the hands-on practical experience that I knew I wouldn’t get through my major if I had chosen a broader scientific field such as biology or chemistry.

Which one of your UConn activities, internships or jobs, was the most memorable? Why? I just completed an internship this past semester at the Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport, Connecticut, which was a really great opportunity. When I was growing up, I always imagined what it would be like working in a zoo, but never thought I would have the opportunity to experience it. The experience with exotic animals made me a better candidate for graduate school and allowed me to explore my interests further. It was also just a lot of fun in general. I worked with really great zookeepers and learned a lot about exotic animal husbandry and welfare. I loved it so much that I continued going during winter break after my semester ended. (more…)

UConn’s clubs bring array of activities to 4-H Adventures in STEM Conference

Members of the UConn Chemistry Club work with Adventures in STEM Conference participants in the electric fruit workshop.

Members of the UConn Chemistry Club work with Adventures in STEM Conference participants in the electric fruit workshop.

The 2016 4-H Adventures in STEM Conference, held November 5, was designed to engage youth ages 12 to 18 in STEM learning, as well as introduce the students to UConn and STEM careers. This year’s conference hosted sixty-six youth attending a variety of workshops primarily designed and run by UConn student groups.

“After our first student workshop with the Engineering Ambassadors was so successful, I discovered there are a lot of STEM-related student organizations on campus,” says Nancy Wilhelm, program coordinator Cooperative Extension System (CES).


Meet undergraduate Yarden Tepper

Yarden Tepper

Yarden Tepper

Yarden Tepper, a senior majoring in allied health sciences, plans to attend graduate school for physical therapy. Tepper has been involved in gymnastics since the age of two. As a competitive high school gymnast, she fractured her back in two places and was told her career was over. But with hard work and an excellent physical therapist, she was able to go back into the sport, competing through high school and college. This inspired her to seek out a career in physical therapy with the hope of helping other athletes in a similar position. Here is what she said about her experiences as a CAHNR student.

What attracted you to UConn? Initially I was attracted to the school strictly for financial purposes as an in-state student. But, when I came to open house still undecided as to which school I would attend, I fell in love. I thought the campus was beautiful and I met the nicest people. I was drawn in by the immense school spirit everyone had, and I was not let down when I officially became a student here.

Why did you choose your particular major? I always knew I wanted to be a physical therapist, but in the back of my mind I had concerns that I would change my mind. I wanted to keep my options open to a career within the health care field. Allied health sciences provided me with the leniency that I was seeking. I also felt a strong connection to psychology since high school. This led to a decision to minor in it. Allied health requires me to take multiple psychology courses, allowing me to obtain the minor I wanted with only a few additional classes. (more…)

CLEAR receives Provost’s Award for Excellence in Public Engagement

Mike Dietz, left, and Dave Dickson, right, take Congressman Joe Courtney on a tour highlighting UConn's innovative storm water management practices.

Mike Dietz, left, and Dave Dickson, right, take Congressman Joe Courtney on a tour highlighting UConn’s innovative storm water management practices.

The College’s Center for Land Use Education and Research (CLEAR) received the 2016 Provost’s Award for Excellence in Public Engagement, Career Recognition for a Team. A reception was held at the William Benton Museum of Art on November 17, with awards presented by Provost Mun Choi and Carol Polifroni, director of the University’s Office of Public Engagement.

The Provost’s Awards recognize faculty, staff, students and alumni, for programs that engage the public and address social issues.

“We’re honored to be recognized,” said Chet Arnold, director of CLEAR . “This is an award for many different programs and projects that are all interwoven amongst a team that works very closely together. Every single person on this team deserves this award.”

Since 2002, CLEAR has developed award-winning programs designed to address issues related water management, land use planning, climate resiliency and geospatial technology. CLEAR is a partnership between the Department of Extension, the Department of Natural Resources and the Environment and Connecticut Sea Grant. (more…)