This concentration prepares students for careers in:
General Job Description: Jacquelyn’s research at Virginia Tech focuses on providing to dairy farmers and nutritionists diet formulation models that increase milk output and cow efficiency while decreasing farmer cost and nitrogen excretion. Her lab plans to develop educational extension materials to explain the importance of formulating cow rations based on amino acid requirements. She will be conducting a study to determine production responses, nitrogen efficiency, and other factors in cows fed diets formulated using both the Dairy NRC model and a model developed in her lab.
Jacquelyn Prestegaard knew she wanted to pursue a career that allowed her to work closely with animals, and as a PhD student in Dairy Nutrition at Virginia Tech University, she is able to do exactly that.
“Ever since I was in high school, it was important to me to have a job where I worked around animals,” Jacquelyn says. “Since I now get to conduct hands-on research, I am always at the farm and interacting with the cows. I enjoy taking the reins on my own projects and feeling challenged by the science.”
She says her continuous development of leadership and communication skills has played a significant role in empowering her to educate and reach differing audiences.
“I am passionate about spreading information about sustainable livestock production to a variety of audiences – from the average consumer and middle schoolers to college students and high-level scientists,” Jacquelyn says. “I have had to learn how to be tenacious and confident in my abilities to communicate science. Finding your path is not entirely about having a perfect GPA; it is also about developing ‘soft skills’ that allow you to connect and establish trust with others. Learning and practicing those soft skills isn’t easy for an introvert. I am very grateful for the classes I took as a Leadership Studies minor at U of I, which helped me hone those skills and taught me the importance of being a leader, rather than a boss.”
Jacquelyn says she was inspired by her professors at U of I to pursue her passion for academia and science communication.
“There is unparalleled professionalism and pride among those who conduct research, extension, and teaching at University of Illinois,” she says. “As an undergraduate, I truly looked up to my professors and was inspired by many of their abilities to teach and connect with students. The confidence of several key faculty members motivated me to follow a similar path to an academic career.”