By Madeline McCurry-Schmidt / ASAS Communications
This time last year, I was wrapping up my first trip to JAM. I had started my job at ASAS just a couple weeks before, and though I had a good time at my first JAM, it was also a little overwhelming. Maybe the student attendees at JAM can sympathize; there are a lot names to learn and a lot of science to absorb.
This year, I headed to Phoenix as a more seasoned ASAS employee. And I had a great time! Some highlights:
Opening session. It was great to hear from Temple Grandin at the opening session on July 15. Grandin has really changed how people view both animal behavior and autism. I think a lot of people forget that even though Grandin is a kind of “celebrity” scientist, she is still dealing with the same challenges as a lot of animal scientists. During her opening session Q&A, Grandin talked about the challenge of educating students, promoting hands-on experience, and confronting misconceptions about animal production.
Academic Quadrathlon. ASAS hosted the first-ever National Academic Quadrathlon this year, and I got to help organize the competition. The competition was fun to watch, but my favorite part was just getting to know the teams. I drove down to Tucson with the Penn State team, and I think we bonded after getting caught in a dust storm, lightening storm and flash-flood warning together. I also had dinner with the Texas A&M team. They are a hoot, and they know it. Team member Katie Moore was quick to tease team member Jacob Brown about when he tried to get creative during the lab practicum and almost accidentally tasted animal urea.
Meeting ASAS members! After a year of exchanging emails and phone calls with ASAS members, it was great to meet so many in person. For the ASAS Living History project, I got a chance to interview Joe Fontenot and his wife Eula. We had a great conversation, and I’m looking forward to posting the video of the interview in the next couple weeks. I had also looked forward to meeting Alison van Eenennaam, a fellow UC Davis Aggie and a great spokesperson for the field of genetics and biotechnology.
I’ll be keeping in touch with ASAS members this year, and I hope to highlight more great research in my posts over at Taking Stock. See you all in Indy!