Posted: November 23, 2022

Penn State’s Collegiate Poultry Judging Team placed first in the nation at the 56th Fall National Collegiate Poultry Judging at the Center of Excellence for Poultry Science, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR. on November 7th and 8th, 2022. Penn State has now won this national contest two years in a row and four of the past 7 years.

The team placings included:

  • First place Overall team, tied with Texas A&M
  • Second Place Egg Production & Quality Division
  • Fifth Place Breeder Selection & Carcass Quality

Members of the team were Matthew Eyre, Northampton, PA, an Animal Science major with Poultry and Avian Science minor; William Sondericker, Attica, NY, Plant Science major; Katherine Schafer, Aaronsburg, PA, Animal Science major with Poultry and Avian Science minor; and Madison Berger, White, PA Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences major with Poultry and Avian Science minor. Phillip J. Clauer, Associate Teaching Professor in Penn State’s Department of Animal Science, coached the team.

Individuals placed extremely well in the contest:

  • Eyre was 2nd individual overall and placed 7th in the Egg Production and Quality division and 7th in the Breeder Selection and Carcass Quality division.
  • Sondericker placed 3rd individual overall and was 4th in the Egg Production and Quality division and 9th in the Breeder Selection and Carcass Quality division.
  • Schafer was 12th place individual overall and was 8th in the Egg Production and Quality division.

Clauer said, “I was extremely proud of these four students. With 36 hours and a variety of travel issues it was a challenge just getting to the contest this year, but the team performed extremely well.”

Other teams included Texas A&M which tied Penn State for first place (University of Arkansas does not break ties); University of Arkansas placed third; Mississippi State fourth; Ohio State University fifth followed by Louisiana state University, North Carolina State University, University of Wisconsin River Falls and University of North Georgia.

The students prepared for the competition through a rigorous training program as part of a 14-week poultry science course in spring and practices during the fall semester. The competition allows students the opportunity to demonstrate how well they have mastered their knowledge of breed selection for meat production, egg production and purebred chicken defects as well as the U.S. Department of Agriculture rules and regulations governing the grading of eggs and poultry carcasses.

Clauer noted that employment opportunities abound for graduates in poultry science. Anyone interested in a career in the industry should contact Clauer at (814) 863-8960 or by email at

The judging team received partial funding from the Office for Undergraduate Education “Student Activities Fund” to enable them to travel to this event. 

poultry judging 2.jpg

Penn State Collegiate Poultry Judging Team, front row from left:  Katherine Schafer and Madison Berger; Back row, from left Matthew Eyre, William Sondericker and Phillip Clauer