Pursuing opportunities and hands-on experiences
The opportunities I’ve had since transferring to Nebraska have given me hands-on experiences that I’ll use directly after graduation. I’m a 2021 graduate of the Meat Science program within the Animal Science department. Now I work with McLean Beef as the assistant production manager. I report to the head production manager and help him with all areas of the processing facility—processing, fabricating all the meat, harvesting, making sure that the retail product is in stock and training new employees.
I transferred to Nebraska from Southeast Community College (SCC) in Beatrice after two years there; I also had two years at Nebraska. The process of transferring was easy for me because of all the help I had from both the SCC and Nebraska staff. My academic advisor at SCC was awesome in helping me figure out how to get my application sent in, how to enroll in classes and what classes to take at SCC so my credits would transfer.
As I got closer to transferring, I worked directly with the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources (CASNR) and the Animal Science department; they were great in getting me connected and on the right track. After that, I was assigned to an academic advisor in the Animal Science department—Gary Sullivan. Gary helped me plan out my time at Nebraska and made sure I was taking all the right classes to graduate in two years. I still go talk to him any time I need to pick his brain; he has a lot of knowledge in my area of interest.
I knew when I started at SCC that transferring to Nebraska was my goal. I’m from Wellfleet, Nebraska, so I grew up raising livestock and participating in 4-H and FFA, so I’ve been passionate about animal sciences for as long as I can remember. I’ve always known that Nebraska has a great Animal Science department, and I came to Nebraska’s campus every year through FFA. I knew that for what I wanted to accomplish, Nebraska would make me the most successful. I’ve also been a Husker fan my whole life, so it’s always been my plan to come here.
I joined the Meat Science club and we had monthly meetings, which often included a guest speaker who could share what their career in the meat industry is like. As a club, we also had outings when we could. For example, we went to Kansas City to tour several meat companies—including a meat processor, a sausage company and Ultra Source, which is a company that builds meat processing equipment.
I was also a member of the Meats Judging Team at Nebraska, which gave me experience in evaluating meat quality. Our team was able to travel to compete against other Big 10 and Big 12 teams. While I was on the Meats Judging Team, I was awarded the Eric Peterson Memorial Award, which is awarded to a member who shows leadership and team spirit. Receiving that award was a special moment for me. My advisor Gary Sullivan also encouraged me to get involved with the Meat Lab on campus, where I’ve worked in the Meat Lab with the lab manager Calvin Schrock. Working in that lab has included fabricating, harvesting and processing meat for the Loeffel Meat Shop.
I think most majors have a club you can join to meet with other students in your program. Participating in the Meat Science club, the Meat Judging Team and the Meat Lab all gave me hands-on experience and skills I’ll use in my career.