Recipients of this year’s College and CAHNR alumni awards were honored at the 2017 Awards and Honors event, held the evening of Friday, March 31. Names of the award recipients are shown on the event website. This year, despite less-than-ideal weather, hundreds of guests came to honor outgoing Dean Gregory J. Weidemann and his wife, Rozanne Weidemann. Guest speakers were Connecticut Commissioner of Agriculture Steven J. Reviczky, Dean John Kirby of the University of Rhode Island College of the Environment and Life Sciences, Interim Provost Jeremy Teitelbaum and Jenny Riggs, member of the Dean’s Advisory Council.
Deanna Puchalski grew up in Middlefield, Connecticut. For more than a decade, her family has operated Laurel Brook Farm where she cares for the horses, goats and chickens in addition to assisting with riding lessons, summer camps and clinics held at the farm. As a pre-vet animal science major, she plans to become a practicing large animal veterinarian. Puchalski enjoys her role as a University tour guide, as well as an animal science mentor. Here is what she said about her experiences as a CAHNR student.
What attracted you to UConn? Being a larger institution, UConn offers an amazing quantity and quality of opportunities and resources to its students, but at the same time, it provides a small school feel. UConn has strong academic programs, especially in science, and I knew that I would be exposed to beneficial experiences here that would impact my future. UConn also has a great network of alumni who are always welcoming when students reach out to them, and I have definitely benefited from a few UConn alumni in the veterinary field who have mentored me and given valuable career advice.
Why did you choose your particular major? I first heard about animal science at Accepted Students Day, when Dr. Steven Zinn, the department head, spoke about the major and what it entails. Animal science as a major provides both academic and practical experience in dealing with animals and their health, nutrition, etc. My major would also give me the opportunity to work further with the farm animals on campus, which I appreciated since I want to work with farm animals in the future. In addition to offering courses in animal science topics of interest, I’m on a pre-vet track, so my major works to incorporate all the prerequisites for veterinary school. (more…)
A 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.
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…)
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).