Amanda Gipe: College Life
As many college students know when you leave home to obtain that coveted 4 year degree, you often don’t get home for many farm/ranch activities. Sadly, I am no exception to this. A little over 5 years ago, I moved to Kansas to attend Kansas State University where I majored in Animal Science and Food Science. In three years of my undergrad career I judged on the Livestock and Meat Judging Teams and was active in Collegiate Cattlewomen and my sorority (Kappa Alpha Theta). Plus I spent 5 months in Australia touring many great Shorthorn operations. Luckily, I had many Shorthorn family friends close to K-State so I could get my weekend fixes of working on cattle and attending shows. It is true what many Shorthorns breeders say, the Shorthorn breed is a family. Still, I missed going home for the biannual round-ups and seeing the fall and spring calf crops hit the ground. But my family made sure I received phone calls and pictures of everything that was happening around the farm.
Having always grown-up eating home grown steers and remembering when the mobile butcher would come to the farm, I decided to pursue a Masters degree in Meat Science at Kansas State University. I thought only going home for the summer and Christmas was rough as an undergrad, but graduate school proved to put further constraints on my travels home. Only seeing the fall calf crops was disheartening to me, but I chose the path I was taking. However, during this time I helped coach and coached two Meat Judging Teams, served on the American Meat Science Student Board of Directors and National Shorthorn Lassie Board, and was an officer in the K-State Meat Science Association and Animal Science Graduate Student Association. After completing my Masters degree, I decided that I still needed to move further east.
So I decided to pursue a PhD in Meat Science at The Pennsylvania State University (if anything I would have good football games to watch). It was nerve racking being over 3,000 miles from home, but again the Shorthorn family came to my rescue. The Shorthorn breeders here have done a great job inviting me to Farm Show, KILE, and any other Shorthorn cattle events. Well, I have almost completed my first year at Penn State, but it seems the time has flown by. As part of my duties, besides research, I help coach the Livestock Judging and the Meat Science Quiz Bowl Teams. The Meat Science Quiz Bowl Team was Reserve National Champions at the 2009 RMC in Arkansas. The Livestock Judging Team has done well the past year, but the American Royal and NAILE are still left. It has been great running into cattle breeders from all over the country and being able to attend the National Western and NAILE. Besides my graduate student responsibilities, I am serving as the Eastern Director for the American Meat Science Association and as Queen Chair for the National Shorthorn Lassie Association. Yet, even with my busy schedule I still miss the trips home to see the cattle, especially when you get the phone call that we have the best calf we have ever had on the ground.
Enjoy your college life even if you are far from home and your cattle because the SHORTHORN breed is a FAMILY and we take care of each other. Breeders aren’t going to turn down help if you need to get your blowing, clipping, or brushing fix in. I hate to run, but I have to get upstairs for the Penn State Friday Meat Sales. The line is already around the corner of the building and there is still an hour before we open. I need to go put my meat wrapping skills to good use. BYE!