Erin Norris is a senior majoring in animal science and minoring in applied business management and food science. She is a former Gavitt Communications Fund Professional Writing Experience student and has been heavily involved in co-curricular programs in CAHNR during her undergraduate studies. After graduation she plans to be work on her family’s dairy farm, specifically focusing on dairy reproduction. Here is what she said about her time at UConn.
What attracted you to UConn? I was initially attracted to UConn’s beautiful and welcoming campus. The first time I visited UConn, I knew it felt like home and was where I wanted to spend my next four years. As I approach graduation and look back at my undergraduate career, I cannot imagine having spent it anywhere else.
What is your major, and why did you choose it? My major is in animal science. I also hold minors in applied business management and food science. I grew up on a dairy farm in western Massachusetts, so I always knew that I wanted a future career working with animals. The Department of Animal Science at UConn has provided me with a vast array of opportunities and given me the tools and knowledge to succeed in the dairy industry.
Which one of your UConn activities, internships or jobs was the most memorable? Why? Last summer I had the opportunity to intern with Select Sires in the Northeast. Through this internship, I was able to learn about dairy reproduction and genetics. I was able to develop my skills in breeding cattle while also learning about analyzing reproduction records, mating cattle and working with customers. This internship sparked my interest in working in reproduction and taught me many valuable skills that I have been able to use in the time since my internship ended.
Name two other experiences that have enriched your studies. My time at UConn has also been shaped by two organizations that have become very important to me; Sigma Alpha and the Dairy Club.
In the fall of 2015, as I began my time at UConn, I heard about a sorority on campus that was dedicated to agriculture. Little did I know what a big role Sigma Alpha would come to play in the next four years of my life. Sigma Alpha developed me as a professional leader in agriculture and allowed me to work with a passionate and driven group of young women. This organization has helped me to form connections and friendships that will last long past my time at UConn.
During my time as a member of the UConn Dairy Club, I have been able to expand my depth of knowledge of the dairy industry by participating in a variety of contests and trips. With the Dairy Club, I have been able to travel to the Royal Winter Agricultural Fair in Toronto, Ontario, participate in regional and national Dairy Challenge competitions and have fun each year at the annual dairy show.
What was the biggest challenge in your UConn career? The biggest challenge in my UConn career was balancing classwork with activities. Like many college students, I dove into numerous internships and clubs throughout my time at UConn, which helped to enrich my studies, but over the years I learned the importance of sometimes stepping down to focus on my schoolwork.
When do you expect to graduate? What then? I will be graduating this May. After graduation, I plan to work in dairy reproduction, and I will stay involved with my family’s dairy farm in Massachusetts.
Is there anything else you would like us to know about you? I am currently spending the last semester of my undergraduate career at The Miner Institute in Chazy, New York in their advanced dairy management program. This intensive program has provided me with a hands-on education in managing cattle, permitted me to take classes with leading researchers in the dairy industry and allowed me to attend conferences around the country.