Some graduate students dread their semesters as teaching assistants. Dr. Trista Strauch looked forward to it. Strauch, an instructor in the Department of Animal Sciences at the University of Missouri, said teaching gives her a chance to share animal science with new students.
“My family has always been involved in teaching,” said Strauch. “I really enjoy the classroom, and I really enjoy the students.”
On Mar. 13, Strauch received the 2013 ADSA Midwest Branch / ASAS Midwest Section Outstanding Young Teacher Award. Her work at the University of Missouri helps students prepare for careers in wild animal management.
Strauch is the academic advising coordinator for student in the Captive Wild Animal Management minor at the University of Missouri. She develops new courses for the minor and works closely with the university’s Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences Department.
In an interview with the American Society of Animal Science, Strauch said it is important for her students to get first-hand experience working with animals. Though she is an instructor now, Strauch has a strong research background.
After earning a Bachelor’s degree in animal science at the University of Missouri in 1997, Strauch went on earn a Master’s degree in ruminant nutrition and reproduction at the University of Missouri in 1999. After graduation, Strauch headed to Texas A&M University to earn a PhD under legendary reproductive physiologist Dr. Ron Randel.
“Doc [Randel] was a fabulous mentor,” Strauch said. “One of the greatest things he always said was ‘Lead with your strength.’ I feel like I am doing that when I working with the students.”
Strauch said several mentors helped share her career. She said Dr. James Spain and Dr. Mike Smith taught her a lot about teaching during graduate school at the University of Missouri. Dr. Chris Skaggs was an important teaching mentor during her time at Texas A&M University.
“I feel like I learned a lot from the three of them,” Strauch said.
Today, Strauch develops internship opportunities for students at the University of Missouri. She recommends that students try working with many different species—especially if they hope to become instructors themselves.
“They’re not really going to know what they’re going to be teaching in the future,” Strauch said.
Strauch has also received the University of Missouri Provost’s Outstanding Junior Faculty Teaching Award, MU Excellence in Advising Award, CAFNR Outstanding Advisor Award, Missouri Academic Advising Association Outstanding Faculty Advisor Award and the prestigious 2012 NACADA Excellence in Advising Award.
The American Dairy Science Association (ADSA) Midwest Branch / American Society of Animal Science (ASAS) Midwestern Section Outstanding Young Teacher Award is given to educators who make significant contributions early in their careers. The 2013 award was sponsored by the ASAS Foundation.
American Society of Animal Science
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