Sydney Knobel - Animal and Food Science
As the daughter of a ranch manager, I grew up on ranches located primarily in southern California. As a newly accepted undergraduate at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo my primary intentions were to study beef production. However, through a twist of fate I became highly involved with the Cal Poly Meat Science program, managing the meat lab by my fourth year as an undergraduate. In 2008 I graduated cum laude with a B.S. in Animal Science and minors in Meat science and Agribusiness. I attended Oklahoma State University shortly thereafter under the advisement of Dr. Deb Vanoverbeke and graduated in December 2009 with a M.S. in Animal Science concentrating in Meat Science. My thesis entitled “The impact of post-harvest interventions on the color stability, and subsequently, the palatability, of beef from cattle fed wet distillers grains” started me down a path of research which focuses primarily on beef quality. I chose to attend Texas Tech University to earn my doctorate because of its renown for research in meat science and, more specifically, its involvement in the beef industry. Here I am able to participate in a diverse array of meat science research. Currently, my research involves looking at different supplements, additives, and implants that beef cattle receive in the feedlot and evaluating how they impact the tenderness of meat from those animals. Using a wide variety of equipment in our labs we are able to look at several factors which affect tenderness such as mRNA expression, protein degradation, muscle fiber size and area of specific muscle fiber types, sarcomere length, and amount or types of collagen present in the muscle. In addition, I am able to assist with a wide variety of research throughout our department such as consumer taste panels and collection of samples for microbial research. My other responsibilities here at Texas Tech also include working as a teaching assistant and substitute lecturer for any classes that require assistance. Currently I help with ANSC 3404, a meat science class for non-majors which works to educate students on the science involved in production of animal based foods. Our department is also highly involved in hosting a number of events such as beef short courses designed to educate people in industry and different youth events such as 4-H and FFA conventions. Thus, graduate students in our department all act as volunteers and help where needed to host these events. Both the University and the Animal and Food Science Department have always been extremely supportive financially throughout my graduate studies. I have received the Presidential Fellowship by the University for my first two years as a doctoral student and have been awarded a variety of scholarships by both the university and the department (TTU ARRA VPR Scholarship, TTU Glazier Meat Science Scholarship, TTU Graduate Research Scholarship, and TTU SALE Meat Science Graduate Scholarship). I was also fortunate enough to receive the Meat Science Outstanding Graduate Student Award this past year along with nominations for the Horn Graduate Achievement Award and AFS Outstanding Graduate Student. After graduating I hope to find a job in the meat, food, or beef industry which will allow me to use my meat science knowledge in a manner which benefits the agriculture industry as a whole. Helping supply nutritious, high quality, cost effective products can only be beneficial to a world in which population size is rapidly increasing and the need for such products is also growing rapidly. I hope to return to academics in the future in order to share my love of meat science and to continue educating others about our industry.