Thank you to our 2024 Award Sponsors


2024 ASAS Midwest Section Award Recipients

ASAS Young Scholar Award

Sponsored by: United Animal Health

Hyunjun Choi, North Carolina State University

Hyunjun Choi is an animal science doctoral candidate at North Carolina State University. He was born and raised in South Korea, and received his B.S. and M.S. at Konkuk University. His Ph.D. research is aimed at the investigation of dietary interventions; acidifiers, medium chain fatty acids, and anti-nutritional compounds degrading enzymes, that could alter mucosal microbiota for the benefit of intestinal health with reduced pathogenic attachments and inflammation to enhance nursery pig growth performance. To date Mr. Choi has published 11 journal articles, with 8 articles as the first author, has co-authored a book chapter and presented numerous poster and oral presentations at Midwest and National American Society of Animal Science. He was President of the NCSU Korean Student Association (2022-2023), received the Pinnacle Award (2023) from the International Ingredient Company which is awarded to outstanding graduate students in the US and was selected by the NC Pork Council for their Communicators Graduate Fellowship (2022).

Sponsored by: United Animal Health

Olivia L. Harrison, Kansas State University

Olivia L. Harrison is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Animal Sciences & Industry at Kansas State University. She is one of the leading scholars in feed safety and biosecurity, with 10 refereed journal articles and 17 scientific abstracts. Her research transcends from the fundamental, such as the development of laboratory methods for viral RNA extraction from contaminated fomites, to the applied, such as the role of boot baths for improving on-farm biosecurity. Olivia’s research and publications have served as the basis for feed biosecurity activities adopted by the United States Swine Health Improvement Plan and are referenced by FDA and USDA in their efforts to prevent foreign animal disease. Olivia has also been the primary instructor for multiple feeds and feeding courses and served as president of the department's graduate student association. Olivia is an impactful researcher, teacher, and leader. We look forward to her continued contributions as a young scholar.

Sponsored by: United Animal Health

Lauren L. Kovanda, University of California-Davis

Lauren L. Kovanda was born in Sacramento, California. She earned her B.S. in Animal Science at California State University, Fresno and received an athletic scholarship as a member of the women’s equestrian team. During college, she interned at the California Department of Food and Agriculture, where she disseminated legislative information on the Veterinary Feed Directive requirements by the Food and Drug Administration. Her interest in combatting antimicrobial resistance by reducing antibiotic use in livestock production led her to working in Dr. Yanhong Liu’s laboratory at University of California, Davis. She completed a master’s degree in the Animal Biology Graduate Group in 2020, with research evaluating the antimicrobial effects of organic acids against bacterial species. Her Ph.D. research is focused on investigating the effects of dietary short chain fatty acids on intestinal health and immunity using in vitro and in vivo porcine models.

Sponsored by: United Animal Health

Alison C. Neujahr, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Alison C. (Bartenslager) Neujahr is a Ph.D. candidate in Complex Biosystems at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln under the guidance of Dr. Samodha Fernando. She earned her B.S. in Animal Science with an emphasis in production livestock. In 2018, she began pursuing a M.S. degree in Ruminant Nutrition. Here, Alison investigated alternatives to prophylactics to reduce the occurrence of liver abscesses in fed cattle and studied the bovine ocular microbiome regarding Infectious Bovine Keratoconjunctivitis (IBK). Both projects laid the foundation for her Ph.D work. Alison has placed twice in the ASAS Midwest Oral Competitions and has published her work in 6 different peer reviewed journal articles. In addition to her own research, Alison is a laboratory technician for the non-ruminant group and enjoys mentoring both graduate and undergraduate students.

Sponsored by: United Animal Health

Jung Sung, Purdue University

Jung Sung is an exceptionally enthusiastic and prolific Ph.D. candidate. He is highly motivated with an innate curiosity for discovery. His research focuses on digestibility in monogastric animals and, to date, Jung Sung has published 20 peer-reviewed research articles. This is, by all metrics, outstanding. Importantly, his research is by-and-large immediately translatable allowing producers, large and small, to improve efficiencies with precise and affordable diets. Importantly, Jung Sung communicates these results very well to various types of audiences (on top of peer-reviewed publications).

Outstanding Early Career Agribusiness Award

Sponsored by: BASF

Chad Pilcher, Iowa State University

Dr. Chad Pilcher received B.S. (2007) and M.S. (2009) degrees from Illinois and a Ph.D. (2015) from Iowa State. As a Swine Nutritionist at Cargill Animal Nutrition, he has provided impressive scientific leadership, such as leading efforts to revise what was previously an internal nutrition system to one that is cloud based and available externally to Cargill customers. He led the initiative to develop an NIR system to estimate total and available amino acids – and has another NIR project in the works. Chad’s greatest contribution is to his personal clients, earning their respect by providing them with feeding programs that are both nutritionally and financially sound and helping them to find cost effective solutions to problems specific to their farms. As one example, he helped one client grow their nutritional services division by 130% in 6 years. Through his clients, he directly influences the nutrition program of more than half a million sows and more than 10 million market hogs.

Outstanding Young Researcher Award

Raghavendra Amachawadi, Kansas State University

Dr. Raghavendra (Raghu) Amachawadi is an Associate Professor of Food Animal Therapeutics in the Department of Clinical Sciences in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University. Raghu received his B.V.Sc. (Bachelors in Veterinary Science) from the Veterinary School in Bangalore, India followed by his M.S. and PhD (2014) in Microbiology/Epidemiology from Kansas State University. Dr. Amachawadi’s research uses a multidisciplinary approach to study emergence and dissemination of antimicrobial resistance in bacteria and at developing and evaluating novel intervention strategies, particularly antimicrobial alternatives to control liver abscesses and bovine respiratory diseases, with the ultimate goal to minimize antimicrobial resistance in food animal production systems. Raghu’s research has generated over $7.3 million in funding and 101 refereed publications, 3 book chapters, 8 published gene sequences and 2 bacterial strains deposited at the American Type Culture Collection. Dr. Amachawadi resides in Manhattan, KS with his wife, Amoolya, son, Pranav, and daughter, Charvi.

Outstanding Young Teacher Award

Sponsored by: Elanco

Tasia M. Kendrick, Michigan State University

Dr. Tasia M. Kendrick is associate professor of Animal Science at Michigan State University. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Missouri-Columbia and completed postdoctoral training at the USDA-ARS NADC in Ames, IA. Dr. Kendrick teaches two high-enrollment undergraduate courses and co-instructs a graduate teaching methods course. Her interactive teaching style engages students through active learning. Dr. Kendrick conducts both education research and disciplinary research in genetics of disease. She has published 13 refereed articles since 2017 and has received nearly $2.8M in federal funding. She trains graduate and undergraduate students in her lab, and she also provides community instruction for youth and adult audiences.

Stahly/Peo Outstanding Graduate Student in Swine Nutrition Award

Sponsored by: Stahly/Peo Memorial and Tribute Fund

Katelyn N. Gaffield, Kansas State University

Dr. Katelyn N. Gaffield completed her B.S. and M.S. at the University of Illinois and Ph.D. at Kansas State University. She has 11 peer-reviewed articles, 11 peer-reviewed abstracts, 5 extension publications, and 2 popular press articles that are published or in preparation and has secured funding for research projects totaling $217,793. Her MS research focused on feeding high oleic soybean oil on growth and meat quality attributes. For her PhD, she researched how in-feed acids impact pigs and in nursery and commercial finishing facilities and developed an available phosphorus release curve for a novel phytase source. She also worked with 13 soybean crush facilities across the U.S. determining nutrient profiles and quality characteristics of soybean meal and related co-products. She has been recognized with numerous university and industry scholarships and awards. Katelyn’s worth ethic, leadership skills and passion are unmatched and is contagious for those she interacts with.

Student Competition Award Recipients

Undergraduate Poster

3rd Place

Alyssa Brown, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
PSIV-A-12: Ruminal in vitro digestibility of novel pennycress meal using the Daisy II incubator

2nd Place

Maria Jansen, Michigan State University
PSIV-A-9: Effects of non-nutritive sweeteners on growth performance and diarrhea of weaned pigs 

1st Place

Kristen Kahler, Kansas State University
PSIV-A-6: Effects of a yeast cell wall additive on the growth performance and fecal Eimeria load of finishing lambs

Undergraduate Oral

3rd Place

Clara K. Henry, Michigan State University
#83: Effect of stocking density on F1 gilt reproductive performance

2nd Place

Ella Frake, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
#82: Relationships between performance traits and osteochondrosis of the hock in Standardbred racehorses

1st Place

Ayva Bohr, Iowa State University, Abstract
#90: Evaluating water- and feed-based arginine supplementation on newly weaned pig growth and gastrointestinal health

Graduate Oral MS

3rd Place

Cassidy Ross, South Dakota State University
#103: Effects of partial or total replacement of dried distillers with soybean meal on growth performance, carcass characteristics, sera urea nitrogen, and net energy utilization in finishing beef steers

2nd Place

Andrea Mallea, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
#101: Supplementation of Valine, Isoleucine, and Tryptophan may overcome the negative effects of dietary excess Leucine in high protein corn protein when fed to weanling pigs

1st Place

 Jacob Henderson, Iowa State University
#100: Evaluating the effect of liver copper concentration on vaccine response in lightweight dairy-beef steers

Graduate Oral PhD

3rd Place

Ethan Stas, Kansas State University
#75: Diet acid-binding capacity-4 influences nursery pig performance and fecal dry matter

2nd Place

Ron Aldwin Navales, Kansas State University
#70: Determination of phosphorus release of Microtech phytase in nursery pig diets

1st Place

Olivia Harrison, Kansas State University
# 67: Decontamination of a feed manufacturing environment following inoculation of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, porcine reproductive and respiratory virus, and Seneca Valley virus 1

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