Alumni Newsletter : Alumni Newsletter - Autumn 2018

  1. Animal Sciences Alumni In The News

    Our Animal Sciences alumni are making the news!

    Information courtesy of CFAES Office of Advancement:

    Michael Boyert, BS in Animal Science, 1980 - Ohio Farm Bureau turning 100

    Mike Bumgarner, BS in Animal Science, 1979 - Awards, industry updates highlight 2018 Buckeye Shepherd’s Symposium

    Jess Campbell, BS in Animal, Dairy & Poultry Sciences, 2009 -  Ohio Farm Bureau turning 100

    Jaclyn Krymowski, AS in Livestock Science and BS in Animal Science, 2016 & 2018 - Yes, I was an animal science major. No, I never wanted to be a vet.

    Jeanne Osborne, BS and MS in Animal Sciences, 1983 & 1989 - Jeanne Osborne named Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs

    Cy Prettyman, BS in Animal Science, 1990 - Ohio Farm Bureau turning 100

    Dave Rowe, BS in Animal Science, 1987 - Awards, industry updates highlight 2018 Buckeye Shepherd’s Symposium

    Dr. David R. Hawkins, BS in Animal Science, 1963 & MS in Animal Science, 1965 - Five Angus Icons to Appear in New “I Am Angus”

    Ashlee Dietz, BS in Animal Science, 2013 - 4-Hers showcase their talents

    Mick Heiby, AS in Dairy Cattle Production & Management Technology, 1985 -  Hills Supply under new ownership

    Dr. Andrea Lohstroh, BS in Animal Science, 2010 - Growing our Generation: Our family and our farm

    John Poulson, BS in Animal Science and MS in Agricultural Education, 1981 & 1987 – National Association of Agricultural Educators Teacher Mentor Awards

    Whitney Short, BS in Animal, Dairy & Poultry Science and MS in Agricultural Education, 2007 & 2009 - Agriculture Students Harness Innovation

    Michele Specht, BS in Dairy Science, 1978 - Bettering agriculture priority for Specht family

    Steve Specht, BS in Dairy Science, 1978 - Bettering agriculture priority for Specht family

    Delanie Wiseman, BS in Animal Science, 2016 - Sheep Care: Showmanship

    Victoria Popp, BS in Animal Science, 2015 - Four finalists named in OFBF Discussion Meet

    April Boehnen, BS in Animal Science, 2017 - Interns join 'Ding' Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge

    Dr. Stephen Boyles, MS in Animal Science, 1981 - From Ohio to Puerto Rico

    Dr. Justin Kieffer, BS in Animal, Dairy and Poultry Science, 2004 - Clinical Vet with OSU with the truth about antibiotics in beef

    Michele Specht, BS in Dairy Science, 1978 - Reckoning with Opioids in Farm Country

    Stacey Atherton, BS in Animal Dairy & Poultry Science, 2006 - Meet the Shipley Family

    Jess Campbell, BS in Animal Dairy & Poultry Science, 2009 - Campbells win Ohio Farm Bureau award

    Jim Herron, AAS in Dairy Cattle Production and Management Technology, 2006 - Meet the Herron Family

    Tara Herron, AAS in Dairy Cattle Production and Management Technology, 2007 - Meet the Herron Family

    Dr. Lynn Knipe, BS in Animal Science, 1978 - Knipe Teaches 70+ HACCP Training Courses Over 20 Years

    Dr. Brandy Nuhfer, AS in Livestock Science and BS in Animal Dairy & Poultry Science, 2005 & 2007 - Meet the Nuhfer Family

    Victoria Popp, BS in Animal Science, 2015 - Growing our Generation: An unconventional start in agriculture

    Dr. Joy Rumble, AS in Livestock Science, BS in Animal Dairy & Poultry Science and MS in Agricultural Education, 2006, 2007 & 2010 - Specht, Rumble win ACE awards

    Jaime Uren, BS in Animal Science, 2018 - Alumna Uren Wins First Place at ADSA


  2. Remembered

    The Department of Animal Sciences remembers members of our community we have lost.


    Lois N. George, 96, passed away on Nov. 8, 2018. She retired after many enjoyable years of service from the Ohio State University, working in the Animal Science Department Meat Laboratory. Her obituary can be found here.


    Dr. Sandra Velleman provided the following rememberance for Dr. Glyde Marsh, MS in Poultry Science 1948. “Dr. Glyde Marsh was a faculty member of our Poultry Science Dept for 24 years and retired in 1985.  He was still active with the poultry companies and OPA until his death. He was also active in local city government until his death.” A number of new outlets posted tributes to Dr. Marsh including The Columbus DispatchWSYX/WTTE, and This Week Community News.


    John Massie, BS in Dairy Science, 1951- A graduate of Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture, he enlisted in the US Air Force, and became a pilot, serving in Korea and northern Africa. His rank after four years was First Lieutenant. Just before enlisting, he married Genevieve Mae Oestreich Massie of Ritzville, Wash., his loving wife of 54 years before her passing in 2007. He was a long time resident of Oregon, starting his first job as an Oregon State University Extension Agent for Linn County in Albany. In 1971, when the opportunity to become the head of the Extension Service in Tillamook County was presented to him, he moved his family to Tillamook, and continued with the Extension Service until his retirement in 1990. He thoroughly enjoyed his time as an extension agent in Tillamook as his education had focused on animal husbandry. You can find his obituary:John William Massie

  3. CFAES Alumni Society Selects Two Alumni for Awards

    The CFAES Alumni Society has selected two Animal Sciences alumni for awards at the 2019 CFAES Alumni Awards Program. Dr. Bo Harstine, MS '13 and PhD '16 both in Animal Sciences, was selected for the Young Professional Achievement Award. Dr. Leandro Cruppe, MS '11 and PhD '15 both in Animal Sciences, was selected for the International Alumni Award. Both Harstine and Cruppe were nominated by Dr. James Kinder, professor, and Dr. Michael Day, currently the Chair of Animal Science at the University of Wyoming, who was their advisor. The Alumni Awards Luncheon will be held Saturday, March 2nd at the Fawcett Center. 

    Dr. Bo HarstineDr. Leandro Cruppe

  4. Department Signs MOU with Australian Firm Agersens

    The Department of Animal Sciences and the College of Food Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Australian firm Agersens to do research on a virtual fence for livestock.  Their innovative product, called “eShepherd,” uses technology that enables the user to control the movement of cattle and sheep without using a physical fence via the use of energized individual collars and GPS coordination via specialized software.  Department Chair John Foltz has worked to secure this collaboration, which will allow access to this novel technology for use by our faculty to determine efficacy and the economics of this system.  For more information, see:

  5. Foltzville Returns

    Once again the Department of Animal Sciences Chair, Dr. John Foltz, has shared his train sets to help decorate our offices. However, this year, both 110 Animal Science Building and 116 Plumb Hall had trains. Canned and boxed food items were collected by both offices in a friendly competition to see which train set could collect the most items. The boxes will be counted after the holidays and taken to the Mid-Ohio Foodbank.

    Animal Science BuildingPlumb Hall

  6. Bacon Vending Machine Goes Viral

    You may have heard that the Department of Animal Sciences hosted a bacon vending machine during the last two weeks of classes. News of the machine went viral with national and international coverage.

    The machine was courtesy of the Ohio Pork Council. Students from the meat sciences program received the proceeds from the machine. In return, they kept the machine stocked for the crowds interested in trying bacon bits and strips for only $1. Even Ohio State University's President Michael Drake stopped by with CFAES Dean Cathann Kress to try out the machine!

    Although the bacon vending machine is now longer on campus, it was recently seen on Fox & Friends.

    The bacon products sold in the machine were donated by Hormel, Sugardale and Smithfield.

    Ohio State President Michael Drake and CFAES Dean Cathann Kress

  7. Processed Meats Product Students Display Final Products

    The Processed Meats (MEATSCI 4510) class presented its final products to visitors who wanted to taste and judge the students' creations. Individuals or teams produced a variety of meat products. The students had to include proper labeling, a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) safety plan, and a marketing and advertising plan in their final presentation. The course was taught by Dr. Macdonald Wick, associate professor, with HAACP assistance from Dr. Lynn Knipe, associate professor in the departments of animal and food sciences.

    Stu"Duck the Halls" team (l. to r.) Tyler Kimball, Patrick Hoffman, and David Keltydents in the course enjoyed trying to come up with unique products, that would still have a market. One group, "Duck the Halls", took on the challenge of creating products made with duck (a holiday duck sausage with brie, cranberries and butternut squash, and duck rinds).

    "Duck is a high end product that a lot of people don't use," said Senior Food Business Management major Patrick Hoffman. "We liked being able to work with and create products that people may only buy for special occasions."

    David Kelty, also a senior from food business management, agreed, "We decided to make this really unique and base our flavors around the holiday season. That's why we used things like butternut "HLS' Buffalo Balls" team members (l. to r.) Sophie DaCunha, Lexi Fye, and Helen Wittmansquash and brie cheese."

    Making unique products can create some challenges. Members of "HLS' Buffalo Balls" (mozzarella-stuffed buffalo chicken meatballs) found the creation of their product challenging for even those in the Meat Lab.

    "The biggest challenge was perfecting the formula," said Sophie DaCunha, a senior animal sciences major with a minor in meat science. "Even the staff in the Meat Lab found helping us challenging because of the breading on the outside and the cheese inside the meatball."

    Students prepare maple bacon breakfast sausageLexi Fye, a senior chemical engineering major with a minor in food processing, added, "A meatball is supposed to be 65% meat. You add in products like cheese and water, that have different levels of moisture, and it can be a challenge."

    The course attracts a wide range of students. Of the 16 students enrolled in the course, 10 are from majors outside of animal and meat sciences. Fye, took the course as an elective for her minor. "I really like that the course takes learning outside of the book. We're in the meat lab and learning first-hand the complete process of makinVarieties of pastrami and prosciuttog and marketing a meat product."

    However, animal and meat science students also find the course valuable for their career-experience. "I really like how I have been able to see the whole food-animal industry through my major in animal sciences and my minor in meat science," says DaCunha. "You start with getting to see the animals and how they're raised. Right now I'm in a carcass preparation and evaluation course and this processed meats course. I've been able to follow the creation process of food products from start to finish and it's given me a greater appreciation for all of it."

  8. Velleman and Ohio State Named as Individual and Institutional Turkey Experts

    In honor of Thanksgiving, Expertscape recognized 10 individuals and 10 institutions for their pre-eminent contributions to the understanding and treatment of Turkey Science. Dr. Sandra Velleman, professor animal sciences, was recognized as the world's top expert for turkeys and The Ohio State University was recognized as the top institution. Dr. Yehia 'Mo' Saif, MS in Animal Sciences '1964 – Emeritus Professor in the Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine, was also recognized. You can read the full article here.

  9. 2018 Little International Results

    The 104th Annual Saddle & Sirloin Little "I" (International) was held October 20th, at the Beef, Swine, and Equine Centers in Columbus. The Little "I" events consisted of showmanship competitions in five livestock species (horses, swine, pig, sheep, and beef cattle).

    Advanced Division Winners:

    • Pigs: Hunter Frobose
    • Sheep: Mason CreagerSteeb Award winner Mason Creager
    • Cattle: Skylar Plank
    • Goats: Jamie Gothard
    • Horses: Morgan Kessler

    Beginner Division Winners:

    • Pigs: Maile Moyer
    • Sheep: Shauna Fiebing
    • Cattle: Casey Golden
    • Goats: David Jenner
    • Horses: Harrison LeVan

    Steeb Award: Mason Creager
    Reserve: Hunter Frobose

    Queen: Brittany Weller
    King: Lucas BuehlerLittle "I" King Lucas Buehler and Queen Brittany Weller

  10. Livestock Judging Team Prepares for NWSS

    The Ohio State Livestock Judging Team spent the last part of the autumn semester preparing for the National Western Stock Show (NWSS). NWSS will be held in Denver during January.

    The team traveled over 3,000 miles and judged over 50 classes of cattle, sheep, goats and hogs.

    The team would like to thank the following groups for allowing them to stop and evaluate their livestock:

    • OSU Beef Farm
    • Stitzlein Club Lambs
    • Lowderman Cattle Company
    • Griswold Cattle Company
    • Lucky Strike Cattle
    • Pfieffer Show Goats
    • Express Ranch
    • Hurlman Club Lambs
    • Ty Allen Club Lambs
    • Fitzler Farms
    • Weisinger Farms

    The team had success during the Keystone International Livestock Exposition in October.

    • Team Results:High team overall. High team in reasons and swine.
    • Individual Highlights :
      • Caleb Penwell - 3rd high individual , 1st in reasons, 1st in swine
      • Garrett Stickley - 4th high individual, 2nd in Reasons, 2nd in swine
      • Brooke Anderson - 8th in swine
      • Taylor Andrews - 4th in sheep
  11. Buckeye Classic Meat Judging Contest Features Dean Team vs Flash Team

    This year's Buckeye Classic Meat Judging Contest featured a unique competition, the "Dean Team" (led by CFAES Dean Cathann Kress) vs. "Flash Team" (led by Animal Sciences Chair John Foltz). Both teams featured industry and educational leaders. Flash Team won the contest, with Animal Sciences alum (B.S. '13) Dr. Bailey Harsh leading the way in points. Dr. Harsh may have been a ringer, she had been a member of the Ohio State Meat Judging Team as a student.

    (L. to R.) CFAES Dean Cathann Kress, Nationwide Insurance V.P. of Sponsor Relations Devin Fuhrman, V.P. Public Policy at Ohio Farm Bureau Adam Sharp, Ohio Pork Executive V.P. Bryan Humphreys (L. to R.) Univ. of Florida Asst. Prof. Dr. Bailey Harsh, Ohio Cattlemen's Assoc. & Ohio Beef Council Exec. Dir. Elizabeth Harsh, CFAES Assoc. Dean Graham Cochran, Animal Sciences Chair John Foltz










  12. Accomplishment Filled Autumn for Dairy Judging Team

    The Ohio State University Dairy Judging Team had a busy autumn semester. Their season started with managing the parlor at the Ohio State Fair. The first week of September, they made a trip to the Maryland State Fairgrounds for a Dairy Judging Boot Camp. Coach Bonnie Ayars believes the best summary for dairy judging is, “I have often remarked that many activities for youth are deposits, yet dairy judging is a major investment.”

    Autumn 2018 Contests and Results

    • Big E Intercollegiate Dairy Judging Contest
      • Team Results: 2nd in Reasons and 5th team overall. High team in Ayrshires, 3rd in Swiss, 4th in Guernseys, 5th in Holsteins, and 2nd in Jerseys.
      • Individual Results: Hannah Dye finished 3rd high individual and won reasons. Skylar Buehl was 10th high individual.
    • 50th Pennsylvania All-American Dairy Judging Contest
      • Team Results: Sixth team overall, 2nd in Brown Swiss.
      • Individual Results: Hannah Dye finished 2nd high individual.
    • National Intercollegiate Dairy Cattle Judging Contest
      • Team Results: Tenth overall as a team.
      • Individual Results: Kate Sherman finished 5th high individual and 9th in reasons.
    • North American International Livestock Exposition (NAILE) International Dairy Judging Contest
      • Team Results: Third place overall and 3rd in reasons. They also placed in the top 5 of four breeds (2nd in Guernseys, 3rd in Jerseys, 5th in Holsteins and Ayrshires).
      • Individual Results: Ian Lokai was 3rd high individual and 5th in reasons. Billy Smith was 7th high individual.
  13. Poultry Judging Team has Success at National Collegiate Contest

    The Ohio State Poultry Judging Team recently competed in the 53rd National Collegiate Poultry Judging Contest, hosted by the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Arkansas, on November 5th & 6th, 2018. The team placed 2nd in the Egg Production & Quality Division; 6th in the Breed Selection & Carcass Quality Division; and 5th overall. Allison Rapp (Animal Biosciences sophomore) was the high individual in the Egg Production & Quality Division, as well as the 6th high individual overall. Other participating schools in the contest were the University of Arkansas, Penn State University, Mississippi State University, Texas A&M University, Louisiana State University, Kansas State University, and North Carolina State University.

    Back Row (left to right): Kaci Carter, Cadiz; Hannah Farr, Paulding; and Michael Cressman, coach. Front Row (left to right): Brittany Weller, Bellevue; Paige Andrews, Sherrodsville; Jesseca Fantauzzi, Monroeville; Allison Rapp, Xenia; and Michael Trombetta, Staten Island, N.Y.

  14. Academic Advising Appointment Leads to Establishment of Wounded Warrior Project OSU

    A lot can happen within an academic advising appointment; courses, extracurricular activities, and internships are often discussed, and graduation plans are made. But for Animal Sciences major and Army ROTC member Kellie Garrity, she learned that The Ohio State University did not have a student organization to support the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP).

    The WWP ( is a non-profit organization that supports veterans and current service members who have suffered a mental injury, illness, or wound while serving. Their specific focus is those who have served or are serving after September 11, 2001.

    Kellie Garrity“Dr. [Lyda] Garcia and I were discussing our military history/backgrounds in one of our advising meetings and she mentioned that her previous university [Texas Tech University] had fundraisers for the WWP and she hadn’t been approached about a similar fundraiser at Ohio State, which caught my attention,” said Garrity, a sophomore from Olmstead Falls. “I knew forming this club on campus would help so many local wounded veterans including my fellow buckeyes that have served, so we gathered a leadership team and we started planning!”

    Garrity recruited fellow Army ROTC members Krystal Wheeler (a junior from Hilliard, majoring in health science) and Elizabeth "Lizzy" Williams (a junior from Ostrander, majoring in cognitive/computational neuroscience) to serve as organization officers and help establish a WWP at Ohio State.  The three divided the tasks required by Student Life to start a new organization.

    “Student Life has been incredibly supportive through the process,” Williams said. “There are quite a few steps a new organization has to complete to become active, but Kellie, Krystal and I split the work up so that we could knock out all of the requirements efficiently.”

    One of the requirements was finding a faculty advisor for the organization. Garrity immediately remembered her advising appointment with Animal and Meat Elizabeth "Lizzy" Williams (Center) with her sistersSciences Assistant Professor Dr. Lyda G. Garcia, and knew she was the perfect person.

    “I’ve always been very passionate about our U.S. military. At the end of my high school journey, I was torn between the military (Air Force) and college. Because I had received a full scholarship to livestock judge, my mother convinced me to give college a chance. And we all know how that turned out,” laughs Garcia. “I was very active with the WWP at Texas Tech University and was surprised OSU did not have something similar. So, I was more than happy to serve as an advisor. I knew these three young ladies would be able to run the organization and wouldn’t need much more than support from me.”

    The three student leaders held their first meeting on Monday, November 5th in the Recreational and Physical Activity Center (RPAC). Additionally, they are brainstorming fundraisers to help local veterans. Hosting local fundraisers will also help the student organization register with the national WWP.

    Krystal Wheeler“To be in the WWP Student Ambassador program we have to register a fundraiser with the national organization through their website,” Williams said. “As we gain momentum through membership and support we will house fundraisers that will allow us to be WWP Student Ambassadors. We are excited and determined to get to that point.”

    Membership recruitment efforts have been in the form of campus flyers, word-of-mouth, and a Facebook page (@WoundedWarriorProjectOSU). The organization is open to all students, not just those with military ties. 

    “It’s important to us to take WWP’s ideas and localize them so that we can see direct impact in our own community and help people here in Columbus,” said Williams. “We also want to show students, faculty, and staff on campus that any one of them can be part of something that makes a positive difference right in their backyard.”

    For more information on the organization, you can like their Facebook page @WoundedWarriorProjectOSU or contact them via

  15. Knipe Teaches 70+ HACCP Training Courses Over 20 Years

    For over 20 years, Dr. Lynn Knipe, associate professor of food and animal sciences in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, has provided training as part of the Meat Science Extension program. Since 1998, he has taught 1,845 people in 72 introductory Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) Training for Meat and Poultry Processors courses, as well as other food safety, labelling and processing courses. 

    According to Knipe, “All meat companies that are fully licensed with either the Ohio Department of Agriculture or the USDA Food Safety Inspection System, are required to have at least one person trained in the seven principles of HACCP, in order to write, reassess or modify their HACCP plan(s).” 

    The 71st  Introductory HACCP course occurred at the Greater Cleveland Food Bank.

    “Cleveland is a popular location in Ohio, because there are many fully-inspected, smaller meat processors in Cleveland and northeast Ohio,” Knipe said. “The Dr. Lynn Knipe (standing, far left in the blue button-down shirt) and Dr. Daniel Clark (standing, far right in the green polo shirt) at the most recent HACCP trainingprocessors are required to have at least one employee trained to write, modify, or reassess the companies’ HACCP plans.” 

    While Knipe offers a variety of food-safety training courses, the Introductory HACCP course occurs most frequently. Knipe developed the course curriculum for meat and poultry processors, egg processors, and food service operations; the International HACCP Alliance accredits the course. Knipe brings in experts from the USDA Enforcement Investigations and Analysis Officers (EIAO) program, part of the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS, a USDA agency). Other faculty members, most recently Dr. Daniel Clark, assistant professor in the Department of Animal Sciences, Attendees working at the most recent HACCP training in the Greater Cleveland Food Bankhave also assisted him.

    The 72nd Introductory HACCP course was at the University of Illinois Meat Laboratory for Illinois meat processors, on October 11-12.

    This course has gone on the road to other locations besides Cleveland, but this was the first time that I have done it outside Ohio,” said Knipe. "The University of Illinois is currently lacking someone to conduct HACCP training that is designed for meat processors.  Former OSU Animal Sciences Assistant Professor Dustin Boler invited me to bring the HACCP course that I do here to Illinois."

    HAACP training at the University of IllinoisTwenty one employees of meat-inspected operations completed this two-day course that was focused specifically on HACCP for meat and poultry processors.  Individuals from the Chicago District of USDA FSIS (meat inspection) and the Illinois Bureau of Meat and Poultry Inspection assisted to facilitate with regulatory questions. 

    "This regulatory team was very helpful with their answers to regulatory questions, but this was the first time that either organization had been involved with a meat industry HACCP training course in Illinois," Knipe said. 

    In addition to the Introductory HACCP course, Knipe also offers other courses, including a Meat and Poultry Labeling short course. This two-day course is offered annually and deals with the regulatory issues related to labeling meat products, under USDA FSIS Meat Inspection.  The first day covers basic labeling and the second day is devoted to nutrition labeling. It is the only course of its kind taught at a university in the USA. 

    Twenty six meat industry employees and regulators converged on the Nationwide & Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center on October 23 & 24 for the Ohio State Meat and Poultry Labeling short course.Participants at the labeling short course  Participants came from Ohio and 8 other states (Michigan, Kentucky, Iowa, Tennessee, Illinois, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Mississippi). 

    Knipe developed this course as a result of requests from Ohio meat processors, fourteen years ago, who were looking for a better option than traveling to the University of Guelph or Washington, DC.  The main presenters this year were Kim Karweik and Vickie Edwards, who have worked with labeling at various meat companies; both have worked for Lamar Hendricks (Ohio State Food Science alumnus), well known for his labeling and regulatory affairs skills at Hillshire Farm & Kahns and an early trainer for this course.

    Additional dates for Meat Science Extension courses can be found here.

  16. CHAIRE: Exploring The Animal/Human Bond

    Story by Yiannis Sarris | Photos by Taylor Luntz and Sherrie Whaley

    “We have a presence on the website and social media, but as far as a ‘physical location,’ our physical location is actually many locations. All the community partners and researchers involved all have physical locations.”

    The opioid epidemic continues to ravage our state and country. But, a new program out of The Ohio State University is using animals to help the indirect victims of the scourge—children. 

    The Center for Human-Animal Interactions Research and Education (CHAIRE) plans to use therapy dogs with children whose families have been affected by opioid use. The dogs will provide emotional support and help the youngsters cope with what they’ve endured.

    CHAIRE is a new initiative devoted to expanding our knowledge of the relationship between people, animals and the environments they co-exist within.

    Despite being called a “center,” CHAIRE is actually more of a program or even a virtual center, said Kelly George, assistant professor of animal sciences and co-director of CHAIRE.

    Outside of their main campus office in 102 Animal Sciences Building, CHAIRE is more of a series of collaborations among researchers, members of the community, students and professors.   

    It’s a mixture of research projects, classes and opportunities to interact with and learn about animals in four focus areas: welfare and behavior, conservation, companionship and zooeyia. 

    Jack Hanna and members of the Franklin County Sheriff's Office K-9 Therapy Unit.Welfare and behavior focuses on how animals interact with each other, humans and the environments around them—as well as the well-being of the animals themselves. Conservation concerns itself with the effects of human actions, and how it affects wildlife and ecosystems. Companionship refers to the social benefits humans achieve through interactions with animals, in addition to benefits to the animals themselves. Finally, zooeyia refers to how people can benefit physically and mentally from interacting with animals.

    Each focus area is distinct, yet “they are inherently interrelated” George said. “We see lots of crossing over from researchers, to thinking about the way we present education materials, to community partners.” 

    One example of this is a collaboration between CHAIRE and The Columbus Zoo.

    “The Columbus Zoo needs to be concerned about welfare while also considering conservation, companionship and health benefits,” George said. Currently, a number of research projects are underway with the zoo. 

    Collaboration can be seen not only between focus areas but between colleges as well. 

    The most prominent example of cross-college collaboration is CHAIRE’s groundbreaking Opioid Initiative, which saw collaboration between the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), the College of Veterinary Medicine, the College of Social Work and the College of Nursing. Athens County Children Services is also involved as a community partner.  

    “The idea is that we want to be proactive in recognizing indirect victims of this conflict. We want to figure out how to help them cope with new stressors in their life,” George said. 

    CHAIRE hopes that this initial study with therapy dogs will show positive effects, and that these effects can be extrapolated onto a larger scale. 

    “We want to quantify the effects of having animals involved in therapy sessions,” George said. If the study goes well, Ohioans can expect to see this innovative solution spread well beyond Athens County, possibly even into their own neighborhoods.

    Beyond the Opioid Initiative, CHAIRE is also working on many other research projects, particularly with the Columbus Zoo. One project involves putting in place a new set of rules on caring for animals in zoos, using cheetahs as a case study to see how these rules affect the animals.

    Brittany Fischer, a graduate student who is also program coordinator of CHAIRE, is conducting the research for her master’s program. 

    “I’m looking at each individual cheetah and measuring their welfare and also focusing on the bond between the zoo staff and animals,” explained Fischer.

    Such studies highlight one of the most unique features about CHAIRE—the wide range of animals that are of interest. While the Department of Animal Sciences has traditionally focused on livestock and farm animals, CHAIRE has an interest in a multitude of species: anything from rats to elephants to dolphins and everything in between. 

    “The exciting thing that CHAIRE brings is that we are focused on so many different species” Fischer said. “Our goal is to address research questions that cater to everyone’s different interests.”

    A Columbus Zoo cheetah greets guests at CHAIRE's first annual fundraiser. Fischer is pursuing a graduate degree in animal sciences with a specialization in human-animal interactions through CHAIRE. The center is also home to an undergraduate minor in human-animal interactions. Students involved in either program have opportunities to learn and interact with animals, conduct research and go on field trips (both locally and abroad) to experience human-animal interactions. 

    One example of student research is that of Nicole Lorig, who conducted a study on the effect classical music has on pigs. Lorig found that classical music, such as Mozart’s Divertimento No. 7, decreased instances of aggression between pigs.

    Such passion for learning and researching human-animal interactions is what pushed George to create CHAIRE.

    “I wanted to start reaching out to people with a similar interest. It happened organically, and eventually I went to my boss and just said, ‘I have this idea,’” George said.

    The chair of the Department of Animal Sciences at the time, Henry Zerby, was extremely supportive. 

    “I have yet to receive a negative response. That tells me that there are so many people interested in the relationship with animals. It tells me that we are onto something here,” said George.

    John Foltz, the current chair of the Department of Animal Sciences, believes CHAIRE is especially relevant at a time when human and animal interactions are at their highest and most complex.

    “Society’s interaction with animals is incredibly complicated. It’s a continuum from raising them for food all the way to being our best friend, such as a dog who has been part of the family for 20 years. The whole range of how we deal with them as a society is what CHAIRE is hoping to shed some light on,” Foltz said.

    “Animals make our lives richer. The companionship they give is tangible and we are doing a lot more research in that area,” he said. “CHAIRE puts us squarely in the center of being relevant to society and how we interact with animals.”

    Jack HannaThis positive interaction was showcased on Sept. 19 at CHAIRE’s first annual fundraiser.

    Held on campus, the event was keynoted by Jack Hanna, or “Jungle Jack” as many know him. Hanna, director emeritus of the Columbus Zoo and one of the most notable animal experts in the United States, stressed the importance of a center like CHAIRE and how with animals, there is always something new to discover. 

    In addition to food and speakers, potential donors had the opportunity to interact with a variety of Columbus Zoo animals including a sloth, an African penguin, a cheetah, a red-tailed hawk, a yellow Labrador cheetah companion, an echidna and more. Therapy dogs from the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office Therapy K-9 Unit also attended the fundraiser. 

    As George said: “Animals are such a significant part of everyone’s lives. I believe there is an innate belief we need to connect with other species, and recognition that we need to understand that connection better.”  

    To learn more about CHAIRE and what those involved with the center are doing to better understand the connection between humans and animals, visit

  17. Multi Scholar Program Promotes Meat Science and Helps Puerto Rico

    Dr. Lyda G. Garcia’s, assistant professor of Meat Science in the Department of Animal Sciences, efforts to promote higher education and the Ohio State Meat Science program has led to a unique opportunity for two Puerto Rican students to achieve a bachelor’s degree in Meat Science at The Ohio State University. The Multi Scholars Program allows two students from the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez (UPRM) to complete the final two years of their Bachelor of Science degree in the Departments of Animal Sciences (majoring in Meat Science) and Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership (ACEL) (minoring in Leadership Studies). At the end of the program, students would return to their island ready to contribute to the missing link in meat science, the rebuilding of the sector using modern livestock practices.

    “I had beKatiria "Kat" Perez Fernandez, Dr. Lyda G. Garcia, and Ivanelys "Iva" Martinez Santana en working with professors in the Animal Science area from UPRM for three years. My role was to assist in adding value to their beef cattle as meat in an effort to promote Puerto Rican beef within their island,” said Garcia. “The agricultural industry was devastated in Puerto Rico because of Hurricane Maria. It could have been the end of three years of work with my colleagues at UPRM. In protecting my time and tackling my own responsibilities at home, I felt the best way to continue my efforts was to share my knowledge with the younger generation, the students. When this USDA grant was made public, I immediately called my colleagues and began to brainstorm.”

    Garcia had been working on a grant proposal for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for the Multi Scholar Program. After Hurricane Maria hit in September 2017, she tailored the proposal to include opportunities for student participants to return to Puerto Rico and help in rebuilding efforts. Garcia recruited Dr. Stephen Boyles, professor in the Department of Animal Sciences, for his knowledge in beef nutrition and Extension, and Dr. Mary T. Rodriguez, assistant professor in ACEL, for her expertise in community leadership and development, to help with the grant development and program.

    “While Animal Sciences will equip students with the technical knowledge and skills needed to engage in more sustainable and profitable practices, ACEL will support their growth in 21st century transferable skills and the knowhow to affect behavior change,” Rodriguez said.Dr. Stephen Boyles, Professor in the Department of Animal Sciences

    Garcia submitted the grant application to the USDA in October 2017; in March 2018, she received notification that the proposed program received a $44,000 grant. In April, Garcia made a trip to meet with faculty and students to begin the recruiting process. Six students applied for the program; Garcia reviewed and evaluated all of the paperwork and then decided on the top two applicants, who happened to be female. Garcia sees this program as an opportunity to provide additional opportunities for LatinX students at Ohio State, with an added bonus of bringing more diversity to the male-dominated agricultural industry in Puerto Rico, because the top two applicants were female.

    Ivanelys “Iva” Martinez Santana and Katiria “Kat” Peréz Fernández first learned about the Multi Scholars Program via emails from UPRM Professor Aixa Rivera.

    “Professor Rivera sent out an email to our meat science class. The email mentioned the opportunity to extend my knowledge in meat science, which included an internship. At that time, I was very worried about the availability of an internship in Puerto Rico,” said Martinez Santana.

    “I got the weirdest email about doing a meat science program in a place I hadn’t ever heard of,” Peréz Fernández said. “I went to Professor Rivera and she said ‘You have to do it, you have to apply’.”

    BoDr. Lyda G. Garcia, Assistant Professor of Meat Scienceth Martinez Santana and Peréz Fernández have an interest in meat science; UPRM only offers one course in meat science. Martinez Santana would like to continue her work in the meat industry, possibly, with the USDA; Peréz Fernández is not sure what she wants to do, but she knows she wants to further her education in meat science.

    “I find meat science so interesting! Ohio State offers a lot more opportunities than other universities through a variety of undergraduate meat science courses and the opportunity to do an internship,” said Peréz Fernández. “You have to do the internship, that’s how many students find their first job.”

    During the spring 2019 semester, Martinez Santana and Peréz Fernández will begin an undergraduate research project with the guidance of Boyles and Garcia. Both students will complete an internship during the summer 2019 semester in the federally inspected Ohio State Meat Lab, under the direction of Meat Laboratory Manager Ron Cramer and Garcia. They will also attend the American Meat Science Association’s annual conference with Garcia in June. They will spend the 2019-2020 academic year participating on the Meat Judging Team, where they will compete nationwide against twenty other universities; Garcia serves as the faculty advisor. In addition, both students will attend 2019 summer and autumn carcass shows with Garcia, to evaluate livestock projects for counties, including a carcass competition. On average, Garcia will have seven shows per month between the months of July through October. Boyles will also include them in his extension programs with beef producers in Ohio. Additionally, Boyles and Garcia serve as Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) Coordinators for OhDr. Mary T. Rodriguez, Assistant Professor in ACELio, where they will include the students in activities. Rodriquez will include the students in leadership speaking opportunities throughout the year.

    Both Martinez Santana and Peréz Fernández will be busy, and it may be a little overwhelming at times, but they are receiving opportunities unique to the Multi Scholar Program. However, both students applied to the program based on the multitude of opportunities.

    “I really like Ohio State just as much or more than my university in Puerto Rico,” Martinez Santana said. “Ohio State is so pro-student. There are so many opportunities for my career that I couldn’t get at UPRM and the professors really seem to care about the students. They want to make sure you understand everything.”

    With all of the offerings for the Multi Scholar Program participants, the $44,000 USDA grant would not cover all of the experiential learning opportunities. Garcia explained that the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), the Department of Animal Sciences, and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion have offered to “fill in the monetary gaps.”

    “I really started this as a way to promote our unique Meat Science major and minor at Ohio State, we’re one of the few schools in the nation who have a meat science major and I am really proud of that. I strive to share all I can about the meat science world in an attempt to recruit,” Garcia said. “To me, meat science is the end of the road for livestock because at the end of the day, they will become a meat product and that is what makes meat science so important.”

    Perez Fernandez, Martinez Santana, and Garcia

    Right now, the Multi Scholar Program funding is for two years, but Garcia hopes it will become a long-term opportunity for Puerto Rican students to come to Ohio State and learn about meat science, eventually creating a long-standing program.

     “My colleagues and I have created a program that provides nothing but a ‘win-win’ opportunity for Puerto Rico, CFAES, and the Department of Animal Science. This is an “outside the box” approach, in an attempt to introduce a new agricultural sector to Puerto Rico by filing a void, and to connect the dots from livestock practices to meat products and meat quality. I hope that this allows continuous collaboration between the Meat Science section of the Department of Animal Sciences, CFAES and UPR-Mayaguez. This program will contribute to the meat science major while assisting in diversity within CFAES and the Department of Animal Sciences, and help us continue the legacy and prestigious reputation of CFAES.”


    Writer: Amber Robinson

    Source: Lyda G. Garcia

  18. Pairis-Garcia's New Animal Welfare Designation Shows Compassion, Expertise

    COLUMBUS, Ohio – A veterinarian and assistant professor of animal sciences in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University (CFAES) has been named a Diplomate of the American College of Animal Welfare, the only swine veterinarian in Ohio to earn such a designation.

    In fact, Monique Pairis-Garcia, who is also an animal welfare specialist with Ohio State University Extension, is the first veterinarian at Ohio State to earn board certification in this relatively new veterinary specialty. OSU Extension is the outreach arm of CFAES.

    The designation means that Pairis-Garcia can demonstrate detailed knowledge of and special competence in animal welfare across all species. This is significant, considering that the American Veterinary Medical Association identified animal welfare in June 2006 as “one of the top five critical issues affecting the veterinary profession both in the United States and globally.”

    “My entire career has been focused on animal welfare and behavior, so I’m very proud and excited to bring this honor to Ohio State, CFAES and the Department of Animal Sciences,“ Pairis-Garcia said. “I think this designation means a lot to the field of animal welfare science and the impact it will have on the farm.”

    Pairis-Garcia earned her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree and a PhD in animal physiology from Iowa State University. She earned a scholarship from the American Association of Swine Veterinarians to take the exam for the board certification in animal welfare.

    Her research at Ohio State focuses on animal welfare issues for livestock species including timely and humane euthanasia, on-farm welfare assessments and audits, and alternative management practices to improve animal welfare on-farm.

    Dr. Monique Pairis-GarciaShe also teaches CFAES undergraduate students and College of Veterinary Medicine veterinary students, focusing primarily on animal welfare and behavior in livestock industries.

    In addition to teaching and conducting research, Pairis-Garcia serves as a consultant, working with livestock producers to improve animal welfare on farms, including swine, dairy and poultry farms.

    For example, if an undercover video surfaces alleging suspected animal abuse or standards violations, Pairis-Garcia may be called to visit the farm to conduct an animal care audit. If violations are found, she works with producers to correct the animal care conditions.

    Her new board certification in animal welfare demonstrates her expertise in the area, which is a key focus for producers in maintaining their social license to produce food, she said.

    “I work to help producers provide an environment for their animals that optimizes their health and well-being,” Pairis-Garcia said. “When we recognize the role that animals have in our lives – whether it be the human-animal bond with pets or those relationships we have with livestock, it is our duty to take proper care of them when they are in our care.

    “It’s important for us to view animal welfare on many levels, such as ensuring the animal is healthy, has good nutrition and has the ability to express natural behavior.”

    Not only is it the right thing to do on a humane level, Pairis-Garcia said, but it’s also beneficial from a production standpoint — good animal welfare is key for quality food production.

    “Consumers care about where their food is coming from and want quality,” she said. “When an animal is stressed, it will result in a decrease in the quality of the meat.”

    To prevent that from happening, producers have to focus on proper animal handling, including remaining calm and quiet when they move animals, Pairis-Garcia said.

    Pairis-Garcia said she plans to use her new animal welfare board designation to “have a better seat at the table to open up the lines of communications between producers and consumers and help people have a better understanding of the livestock industry.”

     “As a veterinarian with this board certification,” she said, “I want to use this to improve the perception of the livestock industry and improve animal welfare on farm.”


    Tracy Turner


    Monique Pairis-Garcia