Nominate an ASAS National Graduate Director

Responsibilities: Plan, advertise and implement ASAS graduate and undergraduate student activities at JAM, such as the Graduate Student Symposium, Lunch & Learn, Open Forum and Social; serve as a voting member on the national ASAS Board of Directors; attend board meetings in January and July each year (all travel and accommodations covered); serve on various national ASAS committees (Student Activities, Communications, Membership, National Awards, and Agri-King Outstanding Graduate Student Award); recruit and organize National ASAS Graduate Director elections; update the graduate student section of the ASAS website; communicate with members using monthly Facebook/blog postings and updates in the Taking Stock e-newsletter; contribute monthly to the Graduate BULLetin, oversee one of the sectional graduate director committees and facilitate communication; continuously adjust programming activities to meet the needs of a changing and diverse membership.

Time commitment: Varies during the year from 5 to 20 hours per month depending on proximity to JAM. Term is from July 2016 to July 2018. Graduate Directors must be graduate students or post-docs during the duration of their term. While two years is a significant commitment, participation should not interfere with progress towards your degree.

Application process: If you are interested in serving as a graduate director, or know someone you wish to nominate, please send name of nominee and contact information to Kyle McLean, by May 1, 2016.

A committee will then choose two candidates to be finalists. Finalists will be asked to submit a short biography and vision statement. Elections are open to all ASAS members and take place in May. Finalists will be notified of election results in mid-June and, the new Graduate Director will begin his/her term at the completion of national meetings in July.

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ASAS Foundation: Supporting our students

April 11, 2016 - The 2016 Midwest Meeting wrapped up last month. This year’s meeting included several graduate and undergraduate student competitions. We would like to particularly thank donors of the Gretchen Hill Appreciation Club and the Tim S. Stahly & Ernie Peo Memorial and Tribute Fund for sponsoring Midwest student awards.

In all, there were more than 25 student awards given during the meeting! If you haven’t already done so, take a look at the outcome of the various student competitions to see the ASAS Foundation in action!

Undergraduate student competition results, sponsored by the Gretchen Hill Appreciation Club.

Graduate student competition results, sponsored by the Gretchen Hill Appreciation Club.

Meet the Outstanding Swine Nutrition Midwest Graduate Student, sponsored by the Tim S. Stahly & Ernie Peo Memorial and Tribute Fund.

The Foundation also is a strong supporter of the Midwest Academic Quadrathlon.


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Greetings from D.C.

By Jamee P. Bell, ASAS science policy intern

March 28, 2016 - Since my last contribution, I have become much more comfortable in my position as an intern. The time in my office has flown by and before I know it, I will be approaching graduation at Tarleton State University!

Meanwhile, I have begun a new, particularly complex, research assignment. While I was certain that this task might only take a week, it has proven to be much more challenging than I had anticipated. Not only am I becoming more knowledgeable about an area of agriculture that I was not very familiar with, I am also learning who and what resources are available to me. By utilizing these resources, I am learning how to interact with professionals at the top of their field and work with them efficiently to produce information or data that will help progress my current findings.

In addition to this research project, I have also attended various briefings and have been given the assignment of focusing on crop insurance. These briefings have enabled me to become more familiar with crop insurance, as well as illustrated just how policy briefings work and their importance. I have been able to meet with the president of an agvocacy government relations firm who is familiar with farm insurance. As a result of our discussions, I have gained even more insight on this issue, which I am sure will be beneficial to my future endeavors.

Through these experiences, I am building a network that I fully intend to maintain and that has the potential to help me answer the burning question of what is to come post-graduation.

In this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in Washington, D.C., I have also taken advantage of my time off of the clock. I have attended the Conservative Clean Energy Reception, honoring congressional leaders who support clean energy as well as a First Amendment on College Campuses panel at the Religious Freedom Center at the Newseum. Also, I have enjoyed trying new restaurants around town including Cafe Berlin— authentic German cuisine, Cafe Bonaparte— a quintessential European cafe and Founding Farmers— fresh, farm-to-table American cuisine; all which I highly recommend!

Though I feel like a seasoned intern, I still have 4 weeks to learn as much as possible before I make my way back to Texas. I look forward to sharing the rest of my journey with you!

As I approach graduation, the question arises, “What are my plans post commencement?” What a loaded question that feels like! While the answer is still unbeknown to me, I am certain that my time on the Hill has prepared me well, thus far, to accomplish my vision of advocating for policies that truly benefit American agriculture.

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Western Section Graduate Director Updates

Hello Fellow Western Section Graduate Students!!

The 2016 Western Section meeting is rapidly approaching!

Because Western Section is coinciding with JAM this year, all the graduate directors have been working together to plan a fantastic Graduate Student Mixer and Lunch and Learn! For the Lunch and Learn, we are planning to bring in a panel of experts in the field of animal science including representatives from industry, government, research, and academia. This will give you a chance to enjoy some food while having the opportunity for an engaging discussion with our panel of experts. They will be offering advice and wisdom from their experiences and we highly encourage everyone to sign up for this fantastic opportunity.

Have no fear we are scheduling in some much need “socializing” time as well. The Graduate Student Mixer will be a joint event with other section members, however, the Western Section Graduate Students will have an opportunity to come an hour early and socialize within our section before combining with all graduate students at JAM/WSASAS meeting.

Just a few dates to keep in mind:

  • Abstracts/Proceedings for JAM/WSASAS are due TODAY, March 23rd by 11:59 PST.
  • An election ballot will open soon for members to vote for the next Western Section Graduate Director. Please keep an eye out in your e-mail for voting information
  • Remember to register for JAM/WSASAS Meetings prior to June 3rd

We are looking forward to a great meeting in Salt Lake City, UT! If you have any questions/concerns/comments please don’t hesitate to contact Kelsey Quinn ( or Hannah Cunningham ( We are here to represent the Western Section Graduate Students and would love to hear from you!

Thank you and have a wonderful day!
Kelsey and Hannah

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Australian interns visit NDSU

By Chloe Mitchell and Holly Webb, ASAS/ASAP communications interns

March 10, 2016 – ASAS organized a trip for us to Fargo, North Dakota, to visit the animal science facilities at North Dakota State University Campus. Many thanks to Kim Vonnahme for graciously hosting us and organizing our activities at NDSU.

We arrived in Fargo and were taken on a tour of the NDSU Beef Cattle Research Complex (BCRC). Here we spoke with grad students conducting ultrasounds on pregnant cows, examining uterine and mammary blood flow. We also met with Trent Gilbery, animal care specialist, who took us to the feedmill and spoke about the different diets currently being used for BCRC research. After the BCRC, we returned to the main campus where Sheri Dorsam (histology and bioassay coordinator) gave us a tour of the physiology laboratories, before meeting with Kim Vonnahme.

The following morning, we started the day with Kim at the dairy unit before being shown the Animal Nutrition and Physiology Centre (ANPC). The ANPC is an impressive facility that caters for multiple research projects across many species, allowing a controlled environment. We then sat in on a lecture given by Kim on reproductive physiology. Over lunch, numerous animal science graduate students spoke to us about their research projects and future plans. Carrie Hammer then hosted us at the university’s equine center, which can house approximately 250 horses and has an indoor arena so students can work with the horses throughout the winter months. We observed a colt training class before finishing the day at the BCRC.

On day 3 we met with multiple faculty members who spoke with us about their research and teaching areas. We sat in on a nutrition exam given by Marc Bauer to junior students, as well as a breeding and genetics lecture with Lauren Hanna. Graduate student and ASAS National Graduate Director Kyle McLean then gave us a tour of the nutrition labs and spoke with us about his research in bovine reproduction. A seminar was given by Aykut Gram (University of Zurich) on endocrine control of canine reproduction, which was attended by grad students and faculty members. Following this, we spoke with Loren Baranko, intern coordinator, about our own internship as well as the ones she coordinates for NDSU students, and Alison Ward, assistant professor, about her studies in nutritional epigenetics. We also met with Eric Berg, who showed us the NDSU meat science facilities. The meat science lab is an integrated learning facility, incorporating practical experience and meat science theory. To finish the day, we spoke with Kelli Armbruster, from the NDSU agricultural communications team. The morning before returning to Champaign, we met with Anna Grazul-Bilska, reproductive physiologist, who showed us around the reproductive technology labs.

Thank you again to all faculty members and graduate students for taking the time to meet with us, and to ASAS for organizing the trip.

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