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Penn State Poultry Science Club Gains National Recognition

Posted: March 12, 2013

The Club's scrapbook won first place in the scrapbook contest, the club was third in Club of the Year contest, and Corissa Steimling placed first in the undergraduate research poster presentation contest.
Penn State poultry club students who attended the IPPE meeting in Georgia in January.

Penn State poultry club students who attended the IPPE meeting in Georgia in January.

Penn State's Poultry Science Club was recognized at the College Students Program held as part of the International Poultry and Processing Exposition (IPPE) in Atlanta in January. The Club was recognized with first place in the "Scrapbook of the Year" contest and was third in the Club of the Year contest. Cori Steimling, Gettysburg, placed first in the undergraduate research poster presentation contest.

Fifteen club members attended the exposition, where students visited the extensive trade show with over 1,000 exhibitors and had the opportunity to interview for jobs and internships with industry and allied companies. They also viewed the latest technology and newest innovations in today's poultry and egg production and processing operations. Nearly 25,000 people attended the exhibition.

Dr. Terry Etherton, Head of the Department of Animal Science, said, "I congratulate the students on this well-deserved recognition at the national level. Members of the club work hard for the opportunity to attend this exhibition which complements their studies by helping them gain knowledge of the breadth of the poultry industry. Interacting with their peers from around the country and meeting industry leaders is a valuable part of their educational experience. It is a credit to our outstanding program that they have done so well."

Steimling, scrapbook chair, said Penn State had been edged out in the scrapbook competition last year after having taken first place for a few years.  She said, "We all were very determined to win." The scrapbook was a unique compilation of the activities and programs of the club prepared by members, who were required to complete four pages of the scrapbook to help earn their way to Atlanta. 

Club president Taylor Young, Harleysville, added, "Placing third in the overall club contest was very exciting to us because we are one of the smaller clubs in the country." She said the club competed by providing an essay on the activities and various ways the club works together. Young, who has participated in the Atlanta program for three years, said, "The most valuable thing is for students to interview for potential internships and jobs. All the large companies are there, and there is great exposure."

Steimling's poster presentation was "The Effect of Different Management Factors on the Incidence of Pendulous Crop (PC) in Commercial Female Turkeys." She was part of a reception where visitors - and judges - could visit and ask questions about her project. Steimling was enthusiastic about the experience, saying it allowed her to make some good connections, including meeting a veterinarian who is working in Pennsylvania and who invited her to join him for a few days of work. Her particular interest is in pathology and genetics, and her visits to the exhibition provided great exposure to the industry to see all the potential career possibilities.

Isaac Haagen, Howard, said, "This trip contributed greatly to my undergraduate experience.  The opportunities that an event like this presents are available to relatively few undergraduates.  Personally, I was offered several internship opportunities with leading poultry companies that would not have been possible without this event."

Phillip Clauer, senior instructor, 4-H youth and specialty poultry in the Department of Animal Science, said, "This international exposition is an outstanding learning experience for our students. They gain very helpful exposure to the entire industry and are able to make valuable contacts to help them as they plan their career path."

Each student had their expenses paid, having earned the trip through eight hours of work either at the Fall Turkey Harvest, at the Penn Ag Food Booth or poultry exhibition area at the Pennsylvania Farm Show or by completing pages of the scrapbook.

More than 400 students from 25 universities participated in the program, "Transition from Academics to Industry," sponsored by the USPOULTRY Foundation.

A highlight was a keynote address by Donnie Smith, president and CEO, Tyson Foods, who brought a message of enthusiasm and optimism for the future of the industry. He said, "Who we are is a lot more important than what we do. Integrity, innovation, interpersonal skills, resilience and servant leadership are some of the important things that are necessary to be a good leader and are integral to success in business." An alumnus of the College Student Career Program over 25 years ago, Smith is well versed in providing advice to students interviewing for jobs. He said, "Enjoy the process. Even if you don't get your first job through this program, enjoy the process. Don't worry about making mistakes along

The club received partial funding from the Office for Undergraduate Education to participate in this event.