As a part of the 10-week Animal Science Undergraduate Research Experience (ASURE) sponsored through the Department of Animal Sciences at Ohio State, I participated in a research internship focusing on nutritional immunology in neonatal piglets. My main responsibilities revolved around various sample collections, sample processing, and data analysis.
Regarding the impact that of my STEP Signature Project, the most significant transformation that occured as a result of my project was a stronger understanding of what goes into animal science research, which prepares me for my post-graduation plans and future career. Being able to participate in ASURE introduced an exceptional opportunity to become integrated in animal science research through aspects of practical and applicable science. I aspire to pursue a career in animal agriculture where I can operate at the forefront of public health and sustainability, specifically in the pork and poultry industries where the demand for their growth and products continues to be on the rise. This transformation involved adaptability and resilience as success in this type of position relies heavily on one’s capability to adjust when circumstances do not go as planned and to remain flexible with those adjustments.
A transformation that occurred more personally to myself is a growth in my ability to communicate, both orally and written. Clear communication is an aspect of myself that I struggle with at times, so this project truly pushed me to be more efficient and effective in this way. Because the expression of scientific findings requires concise and understandable language, I grew in this regard. The changes I experienced were all encompassing, transforming my personal development and broadening my understanding of animal sciences.
The transformations I have experienced are all owed to the interactive, hands-on nature of my project. Having had the chance to be a part of the research process from start to finish really put into perspective all that is involved in investigating various scientific ideas relating to animal agriculture. The experiential structure of my internship has prepared for the types of obligations and issues that I will endure in my future career.
Furthermore, having had individual and independent tasks during my project allowed me to experience personal change. Taking on multiple responsibilities pushed me to be more confident in my work and abilities. Similarly, I was encouraged to develop my communication skills while giving a presentation on the data analysis processes I was tasked with. Although it was daunting at first, it came to be an enjoyable experience and I was able to learn more about scientific methods in the process.
While I was initially skeptical of how impactful my STEP project could be, I am both surprised and very grateful for the experiences I had. Overall, these transformations will enable me to be a valuable asset to the agricultural industry as I work on problems impacting different production systems and effectively communicate how they can be solved through research.
It is commonly mentioned how the global population is going to drastically increase over the next thirty years, and that the agricultural field, specifically food animal agriculture, must do something to combat this inevitable issue of feeding a growing world. Of course, this issue at hand is not to be taken lightly. It must be seriously considered and is a driver for why many are passionate about this field of work; they can have an essential and meaningful impact on the lives of others in terms of providing nourishment and subsistence. I have the same desire and mentality as others to continue working towards the goal of providing for society, and my STEP Signature Project and resulting transformations will allow me to advance in my life after graduation in this manner. By gaining a deeper understanding of the area of study that I am interested in and developing myself personally by becoming a more effective communicator, I will be able to contribute meaningfully while collaborating with others and solving issues revolving around human and animal health. What makes this experience so valuable and life-changing not only to my life after graduation, but also my future career is being able to see firsthand how my education in the classroom is transferable to the industry and societal issues. It pushes and encourages me to be successful in the classroom now, as it will only put me forward in the future. My STEP Signature Project and transformations are valuable because they allow me to continue in a progressive direction.