I grew up on a farm near Canistota, South Dakota, where my family raises Angus cattle. I was active on our farm growing up, and enjoyed showing breeding heifers and competing in livestock judging through 4-H. After high school, I went to South Dakota State University where I completed my bachelor’s degree in animal science and agricultural business. Following graduation, I went on to complete my master’s degree in animal science with a meat science focus at the University of Idaho. I joined faculty at UNL in June 2020, as the youth meat animal Extension assistant professor.
What is your position at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln?
My position is focused on youth extension. In this role, I develop educational resources to teach students about meat science and introduce them to careers in the industry. One of my goals in this position is to make meat science a career path that students seek out, not just something they stumble into during college. In addition to my extension position, I also teach the meat evaluation, grading and judging class at the university and am the head coach for the Meats Judging Team.
What drew you to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln?
One of the things that really drew me to UNL was the combination of the animal science and Extension programs. UNL has an awesome animal science department with tremendous facilities and opportunities for students. The Extension program is well developed and does great work within the state. It was an exciting opportunity to be involved in two distinguished departments.
What aspect of working in an educational setting do you enjoy the most?
I really enjoy working with the students. Through coaching and advising Block and Bridle and the Meat Science clubs, I have had the chance to see the students take what they have learned in the classroom and put it into play through these activities. In addition to that, it has been fun seeing many of them get excited for internships, jobs or grad school and great to know that our department prepared them well for those opportunities.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Personally, my greatest achievement was taking the leap and moving to Idaho for graduate school. It was a totally new environment and new group of people, and I really didn’t have a lot of research experience up to that point. It was a big jump to be that far from my family and friends, but I am so thankful that I did it (but I am also thankful to be back in the Midwest now).
What is something that most people don't know about you?
I like to play the guitar (not necessarily well). I took lessons for a few years in high school and have kept up with it on my own since then. It’s definitely a fun change of pace!
What is your life like outside of work?
Now that I am closer to home, I enjoy making trips back to South Dakota to visit family and friends. Since moving to Lincoln, I have enjoyed spending some time on the bike trails throughout town and exploring the community as much as COVID has allowed.