You don’t need to grow up on a farm to make a career animal sciences. Kylie Philips fell in love with the field through her local 4-H program.
“I didn’t come from an agricultural background. If it wasn’t for 4-H, I wouldn’t have known my options with becoming a student in the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences student,” said Phillips.
Phillips, now a UF/IFAS CALS graduate student, says participating in 4-H livestock projects sparked her interest in the agriculture industry. She joined 4-H at the age of eight, where she showed rabbits and pigs at her local county fair. She has volunteered in her community, mentoring youth in how to be successful with their first show project. She also participated in Hog and Ham, the State Livestock Judging contest and other various 4-H contests.
As an undergraduate animal sciences student, she served as the assistant coach for the UF Intercollegiate Meat Judging Team and was a club member of Gator Collegiate Cattlewomen and Block and Bridle.
With her work ethic and dedication, Phillips was awarded the J. Wayne Reitz Medal of Excellence Award in the spring of 2019. This prestigious award recognizes an outstanding graduating senior in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. Recipients have achieved a distinguished scholarship record and have demonstrated a high degree of leadership.
“I was very excited. I didn’t think out of the entire college I would be chosen as the outstanding senior,” said Phillips.
She believes that one of things that set her aside from the rest of her cohort is her undergraduate research thesis on researching dry, aged beef for potential incorporation into premium ground beef.
This researched involved evaluating the growth of bacteria on meat. This thesis allowed her to graduate with honors.
She believes that being involved in 4-H provided her with the stepping stones to success.
“There was always something that I was working towards as a kid in the 4-H program,” said Phillips. “Had I not been involved in 4-H, I wouldn’t have the opportunity to have these resume builders.”
Florida 4-H sets the stage for work ethic, ambition and rising to the occasion to meet your goal, Phillips said.
“The opportunities are endless. You can do anything you want to do if you’re willing to dedicate time towards your goal – it will pay off,” said Phillips. “Even if you’re not the best, natural talent isn’t 100 percent. Work ethic goes a very long way.”
Phillips is currently pursuing master’s degree in animal sciences in UF/IFAS CALS. As a graduate student, she will work with a meat scientist on meat science focused research. Upon graduation she plans to enter the meat industry.