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Poultry Science Club Named National Club of the Year

Posted: February 8, 2017

Club places first for third year in a row; also first in scrapbook competition. Matthew Hackenberg was second in Student of the Year contest.
Members of the Penn State Poultry Science Club being recognized as first in the nation.

Members of the Penn State Poultry Science Club being recognized as first in the nation.

Maintaining a strong tradition, Penn State's Poultry Science Club made it a three-peat when they were recognized for the third year in a row as the National Club of the Year at the USPOULTRY College Students Program held as part of the 2017 International Production and Processing Exposition (IPPE) in Atlanta, GA last week. They have won 6 times in the last 12 years.

Also following a strong tradition, the Club's scrapbook earned first place in a very competitive field. This is the third straight year for first for the scrapbook, and it has been first 18 of the last twenty years. 

Matthew Hackenberg, Orangeville, PA, placed second in the country in the Student of the Year contest. He was part of Penn State's Poultry Judging team that placed first in the nation in November at the National Collegiate Poultry Judging Contest in Arkansas. A senior animal science major with a minor in poultry and avian science, Hackenberg placed fifth individually in that contest.

Dr. Terry Etherton, Head of the Department of Animal Science, said, "This is a wonderful recognition for our students, and a strong endorsement of the outstanding program we offer our poultry science students. The fact that we have won this national contest so consistently is a remarkable tribute to our talented and hard working students and staff - the honor is well-deserved, and I congratulate all those who participated and those who helped prepare the students."

Phillip Clauer, Club advisor and senior instructor in the Department of Animal Science, said, "Our students work extremely hard throughout the year, and it is gratifying to see their diligence rewarded with this national recognition. We are very proud of everyone who works together to make an exceptional scrapbook highlighting their activities and the participation which makes them worthy of being first in the nation. All members of the Poultry Science Club contribute to the scrapbook as part of earning their way to the national competition. We have developed a culture of hard work and excellence in the Penn State Poultry Science Club which is evident in the recognition we continue to receive at the national level as well as in the demand for your students for both internships and employees after graduation." 

Seventeen club members participated in the College Student Career Program, sponsored by the USPOULTRY Foundation, with nearly 600 students from 36 universities interviewed by 170 representatives from 35 companies for career opportunities in the poultry industry. Many PSU students returned with multiple job or internships offers.

The College Student Career Program is held in conjunction with the 2017 International Production & Processing Expo, where students visited the extensive trade show with over 1,200 exhibitors covering every aspect of the poultry industry. One of the largest career events of its kind for students seeking professions in the industry, the career program offers students the opportunity to meet and interview with potential employers. The vast trade show floor has exhibits featuring the latest exciting technology and newest innovations that drive today's modern poultry industry.

Clauer noted that the contacts students make as they interact with industry leaders and recruiters from firms around the country are extremely valuable as they seek careers in the thriving poultry industry.  He credits the USPOULTRY College Student Career program as offering an exceptional learning experience. He noted that opportunities exist in the industry for many more students than there are graduates, a testament to the strong background they receive at Penn State.

Clauer invites any high school student who may be interested in studying Poultry Science at Penn State to contact him at paclauer@psu.edu.  Over $40,000 in poultry specific scholarships are available for students, and the PSU Poultry Science Club and Collegiate Poultry Judging Team are consistently one of the best in the country.

Each student who attended the USPOULTRY Expo had their expenses paid by the Poultry Science Club, having earned the trip through eight hours of work at the Club's annual Fall Turkey Harvest, working a day for the Penn Ag Food Booth or poultry exhibition area at the Pennsylvania Farm Show, and by completing four pages of the club's scrapbook.

The club received partial funding from the College of Agricultural Sciences' Office for Undergraduate Education to participate in this event.