August 01, 2016

JAM Graduate Student Symposium summary


By: Lucy Schroeder, ASAS Communications Intern

August 1, 2016 – The American Society of Animal Science hosted their Graduate Student Symposium on Friday, July 22, at the 2016 Joint Annual Meeting (JAM) in Salt Lake City. This symposium focused on helping graduate students with achieving their career goals. The speaker line-up consisted of Dr. Ryan Yamka (Pet Food R&D Consultant), Dr. Michelle Calvo-Lornezo (Elanco Animal Health), Dr. Justin Crosswhite (North Dakota State University), and Dr. Joel Caton (North Dakota State University).

“Marketing 101: Learning how to market yourself for a successful career”

Dr. Ryan Yamka

Dr. Yamka’s presentation focused on techniques for graduate students to market themselves. In a competitive field such as animal science, it is necessary that potential job candidates know how to market themselves to various employers. Dr. Yamka recommended basing resumes on job descriptions and securing letters of recommendation when applying. There are multiple career paths within the same industry, and the marketable skills are different for each one. Dr. Yamka advised graduate students to showcase research and leadership skills to make their name known. Before an interview, he recommended being informed on the company’s goals and coming prepared with questions for the interviewer. Once securing employment, it is important to continue marketing yourself by mastering the job, being a team player, and knowing your career goals.

“Personal branding”

Dr. Michelle Calvo-Lornezo

In her presentation, Dr. Calvo-Lorenzo discussed methods of personal branding. She offered innovative advice for determining personal brand and becoming an expert in your field. Dr. Calvo-Lorenzo asserted that it is important for your brand to be authentic, credible, and have a value in the marketplace. Establish a network to create a solid relationship in the industry. Most importantly, Dr. Calvo-Lorenzo contended that having passion is the key to developing a personal brand.

“Bridging the gaps”

Dr. Justin Crosswhite

Dr. Crosswhite discussed the challenges presented by the different education models. He contended that while the traditional system of tenure track faculty taking on roles of educators, researchers, and advisors allows for diversified knowledge, it leaves that individual with less time to devote to each aspect of their position. On the other hand, an instructor/lecturer model, as well as a professional advisor model, allows for more time to focus on students. However, these models then deal with a disconnect from research. To remain well-rounded, Dr. Crosswhite recommended tht graduate students step outside their comfort zone by taking advantage of opportunities for teaching experience. He also suggested having sufficient ability to talk to layman and producers and maintaining industry contacts.

“Doctoral programs in animal science: Strategies for targeting academic careers”

Dr. Joel Caton

Dr. Caton highlighted a number of elements essential to developing your academic career. He asserted that writing grants, publishing, collaborating, teaching, doing extension work, communicating, networking, and mentoring are key to fostering professional skills that will be used throughout one’s academic career. Furthermore, Dr. Caton contended there are certain characteristics that are critical to a successful academic career: persistence; leadership; discipline; and care for others.