Posted: July 13, 2017

Four undergraduates from Penn State's Block & Bridle and Dairy Science Clubs took first place in the national ASAS competition held at the ASAS national meeting.

Penn State students who won the national ASAS Academic Quadrathlon competition, from left: Amber Gabel Smith, Sarah Shoup, Amy Middleton and Alexa LeCrone.

Penn State students who won the national ASAS Academic Quadrathlon competition, from left: Amber Gabel Smith, Sarah Shoup, Amy Middleton and Alexa LeCrone.

A team of undergraduates from Penn State University's Block and Bridle and Dairy Science Clubs dominated the American Society of Animal Science's (ASAS) Academic Quadrathlon competition, held July 7-8, at the 2017 ASAS Annual Meeting & Trade Show in Baltimore, MD, July 8 to July 12.

Team members were Amber Gabel Smith, Newport, PA; Alexa LeCrone, Huntingdon, PA; Amy Middleton, Mill Hall, PA; and Sarah Shoup, Trout Run, PA. They were accompanied by Ben Williamson, Instructor of Animal Science.

Teams from California State University-Chico, Kansas State University and Texas Tech University also competed in four events: lab practicum, written exam, oral presentation, and quiz bowl. The competition is designed to be a comprehensive academic overview of the animal sciences, with a team of four working together in each of the four segments.

Penn State placed first in the practicum and the written exam and placed second in the quiz bowl and in the oral presentation. They won the opportunity to represent the northeast at the American Dairy Science Association Northeast Student Affiliate contest held in Rhode Island in February.

Dr. Terry Etherton, Head of the Department of Animal Science, said, "It is a tribute to our students, faculty and staff that the team excelled at the national level in this highly competitive contest. The quadrathlon is a robust test of the students' comprehensive understanding of a range of knowledge, including both classroom material and practical experience. I offer my congratulations to all those who made this success possible."

The written exam 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.

In the laboratory practicum, team members demonstrated their ability to perform physical skills, working at each station for 15 to 20 minutes as an entire team. Each of the eight individual activities had a different emphasis involving a species such as beef or swine or a disciplinary area such as nutrition or meats.

For the group oral presentation, teams selected one of five current topics related to animal agriculture and had one hour to prepare a 12-minute presentation designed to educate attendees in audience.

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. The competition was organized as a double elimination tournament.

Following the competition, the students participated in the ASAS annual meeting, which is an international scientific conference with a focus on Animal Science and Technology: Ensuring Food Security. There, they were able to gain insight on cutting edge research in the realm of food and companion animal production, as well as network with leading scientists, both domestic and abroad.