Top students selected for national NBAF-NLTP mentorship program
By: Norman Martin
Texas Tech's Davis College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources and the USDA are once again teaming up to provide mentorship opportunities and practical experience to students pursuing careers in animal disease research with the National Bio & Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) Laboratorian Training Program (NLTP).
Eight students have been selected from five universities to join the one-year hybrid program. The students participating in the second cohort of the program started this spring with virtual modules and will continue through the fall semester of 2023. As part of the program, the students will travel to Lubbock for eight weeks for the on-site portion of the program.
This year's class includes:
- Kimani Grey-Campbell (Berry College) Animal Science Major / Powder Springs, Georgia
- Bryanna Fayne (University of Tennessee) Animal Science Major / Millington, Tennessee
- Eric Flores (Texas Tech University) Animal Science Major / Shiner, Texas
- Bria Pope (University of Georgia) Animal Science Major / Hiram, Georgia
- Alexis Rooks (Berry College) Animal Science Major / Athens, Georgia
- Marisa Werner (Berry College) Animal Science Major / Marietta, Georgia
- Austin Wheelock (Texas Tech University) Cellular-Molecular Biology Major / Houston, Texas
- Lena Whitlow (Auburn University) Animal Science Major / Atlanta, Georgia
“These students are gaining an understanding of animal research and zoonotic diseases, building their career paths and gaining a valuable network of scientists and friends along the way,” said Christy Bratcher, Davis College's Associate Dean for Research and leader of the NLTP. “Last year we had a great group of students and I look forward to having this second cohort on campus this summer.”
The students will be working with faculty mentors in individual research projects and will work at USDA-ARS Livestock Issues Research Unit in a group project to gain direct experience in working with animals. Students will learn how to care for animals and practice simple procedures for sample collection and processing. This hands-on experience will give them an advantage as they seek employment following graduation.
The NLTP is funded by the USDA's Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service and strives to provide undergraduates with the knowledge and skill set to prepare them for a potential career in animal disease research within the NBAF.
"This program exposes students to experiences in research and industry related field trips they can't receive from their degree program alone,” said Kesley Kohl, a Davis College graduate student who is the program's co-coordinator. “It's special because the students not only get experience in research and the laboratory, but they also are being mentored by experts and getting to visit facilities to see firsthand varying aspects of animal health research.”
The three-phase program started with online modules focused on animal diseases, animal handling practices, and research sample collection and analysis that students completed weekly. Students then travel to Texas Tech to work directly with faculty members at Texas Tech and USDA Agriculture Research Service Livestock Issues Research Unit scientists. The program will conclude in the fall when they present their work.
CONTACT: Clint Krehbiel, Dean, Davis College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources, Texas Tech University at (806) 742-2808 or Clint.Krehbiel@ttu.edu
0612NM23 / PHOTO: (Top Row-L-R) Austin Wheelock, Bria Pope, Kimani Grey-Campbell and Marisa Werner: (Bottom Row-L-R) Alexis Rooks, Bryanna Fayne, Lena Whitlow and Eric Flores
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Editor: Norman Martin
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