As a way to learn more about the 23 majors in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at the University of Florida, we’ve been asking 23 questions. Kylie Philipps, a masters student in animal sciences, answered our 23 questions while conducting research for an extension program, the Fed Beef Challenge. Watch the video to learn more about Philipps favorite animal sciences courses and her masters research!
Olivia: We have with us Kylie Philipps. She’s one of our students in one of our 23 majors, so we have 23 questions for you. What are you working on today?
Kylie: So we’re actually doing—cooking for slice sheer force evaluation, which is an objective measure of tenderness that we use here in animal science specifically with meat science projects. The steaks that you see have been collected in a commercial packing plant. We’re going to grill them today and then we’ll run them through the Instron to get a tenderness measurement on them. They were part of an extension program that we call the Fed Beef Challenge.
Olivia: That’s really cool! Why’d you choose your major in animal sciences?
Kylie: So I started in animal sciences as a freshman straight out of high school. I always had an interest in animal agriculture. I was involved in 4-H and FFA youth programs when I was in public school and I came into the department kind of unsure of where I would fit or what I would want to do but after taking the ANS3634 meats course as a sophomore, I became really interested in the subject and pursued further opportunities in research labs, the meat judging team, which led me to grad school where I am today.
Olivia: Of the classes that you’ve taken, what has been your favorite?
Kylie: So my favorite set of classes that I took, they kind of all worked together but the beef production classes—there were a lot of really hands-on practicums that were offered with the lectures. It was really industry-oriented real world applicable information that I got from that.
Olivia: If you could be any animal, what would it be?
Kylie: I don’t—that’s a hard one, I guess I probably wouldn’t necessarily want to be a food animal maybe, if you think from that direction, but I think it would be pretty good to be a dog. You kind of have the best life, right? If you’re a companion animal like that.
Olivia: Dogs definitely live the best life! Do you prefer books or movies?
Kylie: Probably movies.
Olivia: What is your proudest accomplishment?
Kylie: I think my proudest accomplishment was probably the series of teaching awards that I was able to receive this past year. As a grad student, I was actually a teaching assistant from the start and so I got to work with a lot of really great undergraduates and kind of develop my teaching skills and styles and so getting those awards based on what the students that I taught thought of me and what they got from the classes that they took that was really meant a lot.
Olivia: That’s really impressive, congratulations on that! Thank you. What’s your favorite meal to cook?
Kylie: So I—this is a hard one. People ask me this all the time. I love to cook, but I rarely cook the same meal twice, so I’m really into trying new recipes and things that I’ve never done before but I really do like cooking a short rib.
Olivia: What is your dream job?
Kylie: That’s also a hard one that I feel like you get asked a lot when you’re graduating, especially finishing a master’s degree. I’m not sure exactly what my dream job is, but I think it looks like something that would have you working in a plant with meat products and then also being able to tie some live animal production into that, and then being able to convey that to the consumer or to the people that eat. So, still working on it but hopefully we get there one day.
Olivia: What advice would you give to a new animal sciences student?
Kylie: Yeah, I think that my biggest piece of advice and one that I gave to the undergraduate students that I worked with is get involved with everything that you can. The best experiences that I got as an animal sciences undergrad came from taking the chance to volunteer to work into a research lab or to be on the meat judging team and get to travel meet new teammates and kind of learn about what you’re interested in so definitely take every advantage that you can take internships and get as involved as you can.
Olivia: What’s your favorite color?
Kylie: My favorite color is green.
Olivia: What’s something on your bucket list?
Kylie: I think traveling to all 50 states. So I got a really good head start on that on the meat judging team. I don’t know exactly what number I’m up to right now but I got to visit a lot of cool places and it got me interested in finishing that out at some point.
Olivia: That’s a fun one. Do you have any pets?
Kylie: I do not have any pets. At my mom and dad’s house, we have a dog, but I don’t have any pets here in Gainesville with me.
Olivia: What could you give a 40-minute presentation on with absolutely no preparation?
Kylie: Yeah definitely meat science. I could probably pick a couple different actual like specific focuses on that, but anything related to fresh beef probably I could pretty easily talk about for 40 minutes.
Olivia: What has been your fondest memory at the University of Florida?
Kylie: Probably my undergraduate graduation. That was a lot of fun. Students that I had been with for four years and taken classes with and—and had lots of good memories with and getting to graduate with them was a lot of fun.
Olivia: If you could turn any activity into an Olympic sport, what would you win a gold medal for?
Kylie: I think that, not necessarily cooking but collecting steaks off of a carcass in a packing plant, so you have a whole side of beef for the whole half carcass and—and you cut one off the loin when it’s in that whole piece, I think that could be a fun one like for time and how many you could get in—in a specified amount of time and the quality of the steaks that you cut.
Olivia: We’ll have to keep an eye out for that on the next Olympic games. What song do you listen to on repeat?
Kylie: That’s also a hard one I listen to a lot of variety of music. I probably don’t listen to anything on repeat. I’m kind of mix it up and listen to all sorts of stuff in one time.
Olivia: What is a smell that reminds you of home?
Kylie: Probably something outside. The smell of fresh-cut grass, I don’t know, when I think about home and kind of my childhood I was always outside.
Olivia: You’re graduating in a few weeks. Congratulations! What are your post-graduation plans?
Kylie: Yeah, so I accepted a full-time position with Florida Cattle Ranchers. I’ll be the director of cattle and beef supply. That sounds really exciting, good luck in your new role!
Olivia: What is the best advice you have received?
Kylie: Yeah I think that I’ve gotten a lot of good advice from a lot of different people in my time as a student. Probably some of the best was just to pursue what you’re interested in you know if you have something that you like and that you want to learn more about, do everything that you can to learn as much as you can about it.
Olivia: What is your favorite UF tradition?
Kylie: That’s a hard one. Probably some of the stuff that we do specifically in animal sciences. Maybe our judging banquet at the end of the year and getting to recognize those students for all the hard work they put into that program.
Olivia: How many hours have you spent here in the sensory kitchen?
Kylie: Quite a few. My project was based doing the same thing, and so, I don’t know, probably over hundreds of hours that I’ve spent either cooking steaks or collecting other data right here.
Olivia: What has been your favorite research project?
Kylie: So I’ve worked on quite a few. I think the one that I used for my thesis probably was my favorite. We got to collect some data in the feed yard with live cattle. I got to be there when they sorted those cattle to send them to the plant to be harvested and then I got to go into the plant be involved at that stage, as well as with steaks here cooking.
Olivia: So a lot of different aspects of that, that made it fun. If you could redo your collegiate experience, would you change anything?
Kylie: I really don’t think that I would. I feel pretty happy with what I did as a student. I feel like I took advantage of everything that I wanted to take advantage of, maybe slowing down a couple of times to instead of worrying about what was going to come next enjoying what I was doing, but I think overall I’m very happy with what I did with my time as a student.
Olivia: Okay, Kylie, that’s our 23 questions! We’ll let you get back to your steaks now. Thanks!