The UF/IFAS Department of Animal Sciences (ANS) strives to prepare its students for their future careers both inside and outside of the classroom. In the classroom, faculty provide engaging lectures and labs through creative teaching methods. Outside of class, students have multiple opportunities to network with alumni and industry stakeholders through clubs and conferences.
In June, faculty members Amie Imler, Kyle Mendes, Jason Scheffler, and Tracy Scheffler, along with two graduate students and seven undergraduate students, traveled to St. Paul, Minnesota for the American Meat Science Association’s (AMSA) 76th Reciprocal Meat Conference (RMC). Adeel Manzoor, Laurent Lagos, Bia Castanho, Makayla Quick, Isabel Ribiero, Kaley Tamanini, Gina Tran, Karina Vestergaard, and Hadley Wimsatt participated in several facets of the conference, including the quiz bowl competition and collegiate social events.
On their way to the event, the group stopped for several industry-related tours. The first stop was at Cargill’s case-ready facility in Newnan, Georgia. Recent alumni Gabrielle Allen, a Food Safety, Quality, and Regulatory Associate at the facility, gave a tour and discussed processed product production.
After arriving in Minnesota, students toured two production facilities, Lorenz Meats and Jennie-O Turkey Store. Lorenz Meats is a specialty processing center that focuses on niche markets such as bison and grass-fed products. Jennie-O Turkey is one of the largest producers of ground turkey in the world and one of the first plants to use high-pressure pasteurization. Additionally, a quick tour of the Spam Museum was also included on the itinerary.
During the conference, the undergraduate attendees participated in the Quiz Bowl Competition and the Iron Chef Competition. Participants of the Quiz Bowl Competition tested their knowledge on all things meat science in a fast-paced setting. This year, there were two teams from the department.
Makayla Quick and Bia Castanho were members of the champion Iron Chef team. The Iron Chef Competition is a culinary contest where students are randomly assigned teams with an industry leader. Together they develop a dish with the ingredients provided and within the theme. This year, they created a pineapple chicken hot dish.
Adeel Manzoor, a Ph.D. candidate under Dr. Jason Scheffler, presented a research poster discussing Salmonella enterica, Escherichia coli O157:H7, and Listeria monocytogenes inactivation in non-intact beef steaks during low temperature sous vide cooking.
Two of our faculty members spoke during the conference. Dr. Tracy Scheffler gave opening remarks for the Meat and Muscle Biology concurrent section regarding stress and its impacts on muscle biology and meat production. Dr. Jason Scheffler participated in a panel discussing the transition from being a student to an academic professional.
Recent ANS graduate Stephanie Shimer was also recognized with the AMSA Undergraduate Scholastic Achievement Award. This award recognizes students who have shown potential for and committed themselves to a career in the meat science industry.
For more information about the UF/IFAS Department of Animal Sciences, please visit https://animal.ifas.ufl.edu/. Be sure to follow us on social @UF_ANSCI. To read more stories like this one visit https://blogs.ifas.ufl.edu/animalsciencesdept/.