From a childhood love for horses, Sierra Carpenter has been around animals her entire life. Her interest evolved into a passion for meat science when she took a course with Bailey Harsh, assistant professor in the UF/IFAS Animal Sciences Department.
“Dr. Harsh showed me the amazing science that goes behind our meats industry,” Carpenter said. “After some persuasion, I joined the meat judging and quiz bowl teams to further my extracurricular education of meat. Through these teams that animal sciences offers, I have found a home in the meats industry.”
Having grown up in Williston, Florida, Carpenter had always known the University of Florida College of Agricultural and Life Sciences would be the right fit for her.
“Once enrolled at UF, CALS gave me numerous opportunities to broaden my horizons and gain resume building skills,” Carpenter said. “For a kid coming from an agriculture background, CALS gave me the chance to shine in my own unique way that I couldn’t have done in other colleges.”
Carpenter emphasizes the importance of becoming involved in clubs and groups. Being part of the 2019 meat judging team gave her the opportunity to build her professional network, travel across the country, and develop meat judging skills in a competitive atmosphere. These experiences solidified her decision to pursue a career in the meats industry.
“If it wasn’t for a great friend, Jessica Brown, pulling me aside and telling me that I should join a judging team, I wouldn’t be in the position I am today,” Carpenter said. “Through our conversation in the meat lab one day, I was encouraged to partake in the International Production and Processing Expo (IPPE) where I found a great internship with Pilgrim’s. Meat judging gave me an amazing family. Having the chance to travel across the country with a van full of people is something I will always encourage. I gained personal growth in and outside the cooler all while having the time of my life.”
After graduation, Carpenter will be moving to Guntersville, Alabama, to be a management trainee with Pilgrim’s.
Animal sciences graduates work with the science and business of producing domestic livestock species or animal-related products. They may also pursue veterinary studies for future work with companion animals, livestock, or other species. Students study biotechnology, reproduction, genetics, nutrition, physiology, growth, behavior, management, and food processing. Find a CALS major that suits your interests by taking our majors quiz. You can also find information regarding our undergraduate and graduate programs on our website.