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Penn State Animal Science Students Place Second Nationally in Quadrathlon

Posted: July 22, 2015

Penn State's four member team represented the northeast in the national competition's fourth year.
The 2015 national Quadrathlon team from Penn State, from left: Stephen Smith, Hawley, Pa; Denille Pingrey, Strykersville, NY; Michelle Morelli, Rydal, Pa; and Samantha McKinney, Rebersburg, Pa.

The 2015 national Quadrathlon team from Penn State, from left: Stephen Smith, Hawley, Pa; Denille Pingrey, Strykersville, NY; Michelle Morelli, Rydal, Pa; and Samantha McKinney, Rebersburg, Pa.

After winning the opportunity to represent the northeastern region of the US,  students from Penn State's Department of Animal Science tied for second placed in the national academic Quadrathlon held as part of the Joint Annual Meeting of the American Dairy Science Association and the American Society of Animal Science (ASAS), held July 12-16 in Orlando, FL.

Team members were Stephen Smith, Hawley, Pa; Denille Pingrey, Strykersville, NY; Michelle Morelli, Rydal, Pa ; and Samantha McKinney, Rebersburg, Pa. Jana Peters, Animal Science Advising Coordinator, accompanied the group.

Now in its fourth year, the competition is designed to be a comprehensive academic overview of the animal sciences. Teams participated from the University of Minnesota, Oklahoma State University and Oregon State University, along with Penn State. Each four-member team had won similar competitions in their respective regions. In one of the closest competitions in years, Oklahoma State took first place and University of Minnesota tied with Penn State.

Peters said, "The Quadrathlon is an exceptional test of the students' comprehensive understanding of a range of knowledge. It is a tribute to our students, faculty and staff that they perform so well at the national level. The competition is demanding and far reaching, including both classroom material and practical experience."

The academic Quadrathon consists of teams working together in each of the four segments of the contest: practicum, written exam, oral presentation, and quiz bowl.

The written covered the comprehensive body of work students learned in their collegiate career including genetics, physiology, reproduction, nutrition, animal products, and animal management . Teams had one hour to complete the test.

The practicum consisted of 8 individual activities, each with a different emphasis involving every livestock species, with the team demonstrating its ability to perform physical skills. Work at each station lasts 20 minutes and involves the entire team.

For the group oral presentation, teams selected one of five current topics and had one hour to prepare a 12-minute presentation designed to educate the listener.

The Quiz Bowl contained wide-ranging questions about all domestic animals, livestock and companion animals, as well as questions on nutrition, genetics, reproduction, meat science/muscle biology, physiology and lactation. Each round is made up of "toss up" questions. After a series of "toss up" questions, teams can earn the chance to get extra points on a "bonus" question. Toss up questions must be answered individually; for bonus question, individuals may confer with their team.

The University of Florida, Gainesville, hosted the competition.