An animal science graduate student, Alexis Trench, has a unique combination of interests in animal research, science education and mentoring women in STEM disciplines while leaving time for dancing and being outside with lambs on the farm. Here is what she says about her experiences at UConn.
Where did you study as an undergraduate? What was your major? At the University of Delaware, I was a double major in pre-veterinary medicine and animal biosciences, and agriculture and natural resources. I also had a minor in dance.
Why did you decide to go to graduate school? Around my sophomore year, I decided that veterinary school wasn’t the path I wanted to take. This was partially because of the massive amounts of debt this education would bring and partially because I didn’t have a strong desire to be a practicing veterinarian.
I got into undergraduate research my junior year and stuck with it through my senior year. I worked in a dairy nutrition lab under Dr. Tanya Gressley at the University of Delaware. She mentored me as I deliberated going to graduate school. I spent a year working after graduation while I looked for the right graduate school program and then started applying.
Who is your advisor? What is your field of research? Associate Professor Kristen Govoni is my advisor. I currently work in in her lab studying growth physiology and metabolism.
Name one aspect of your work that you like. One part of my project is working with lambs and studying the effect of supplementation with probiotics on their growth. I missed being on a farm during my year off. So, I love all the time I get to spend outside taking care of the lambs!
In your opinion, what is your greatest accomplishment so far? I also work as a graduate director for the Women in Math, Science, and Engineering (WiMSE) Learning Community, and one of my students nominated me for the First Year Experience Teaching Innovation Award. While I didn’t receive the award, I was honored that the student thought I was deserving of the title. It felt really nice to know I was having a positive impact on young women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).
When do you expect to get your degree? What then? I expect to get my degree in spring 2020. After that I hope to find a job in science education at either a science museum or university.
Is there anything else you would like us to know about you? People often ask me about the dance minor because it seems a little out there. I have always been passionate about dance, and I knew I had to find a way to incorporate it into my undergraduate studies.
A minor seemed to be the best way to make sure I made the time to dance without putting too much extra pressure on myself. It was fun and an excellent way to get out of a lecture hall and get creative!
By Patsy Evans