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Penn State Students Excel at Southeastern Meat Judging Contest

Posted: April 25, 2014

The first meat judging team in four years competed strongly at the regional contest hosted by the Ohio State University and the University of Kentucky.
From left: Cecilyann Klink, Dr. Jonathan Campbell, Katie Harvison, Jena Sigel, Hannah Grim, Kelley Jay and Steven Bookbinder.

From left: Cecilyann Klink, Dr. Jonathan Campbell, Katie Harvison, Jena Sigel, Hannah Grim, Kelley Jay and Steven Bookbinder.

A team of five Penn State students from the Department of Animal Science competed at the 2014 Southeastern Intercollegiate Meat Judging Contest, a two-day contest hosted by the Ohio State University and the University of Kentucky on April 11 and 12. The Penn State team finished third high team in the pork judging division and finished in ninth place overall out of sixteen teams that competed. They averaged 138 out of 150 possible points in beef quality grading, with only a six point spread between team members.

Members of the Penn State team were: Steven Bookbinder, junior, Fort Lauderdale, FL; Hannah Grim, senior, East Berlin, PA; Katie Harvison, senior, Titusville, PA; Cecilyann Klink, junior, Hartstown, PA; and Jena Sigel, senior, Breezewood, PA. Kelley Jay, sophomore, Artemas, PA, served as an alternate. Bookbinder is a Food Science major while Grim, Harvison, Jay, Klink and Sigel are all Animal Science majors. Alyssa Sheppard, also a valuable member of the 2014 team, was unable to compete due to a scheduling conflict. The team is coached by Dr. Jonathan Campbell, extension meat specialist, who joined the faculty in 2013.

Dr. Terry Etherton, Head of the Department of Animal Science, said, "I am elated that the team participated in this event, and congratulate the team for their commitment to the hard work necessary to succeed." He noted that their success is especially noteworthy since it is the first team Penn State has fielded in four years.

Dr. Campbell added, "Meat judging helps students learn to work as a team, to defend decisions using written communication skills and to build relationships with peers in animal agriculture across the country."

Meat judging contests are an opportunity for students to demonstrate their knowledge of animal science, food science and muscle biology, as well as test their mastery of USDA standards governing the grading and quality of beef, pork and lamb.