Hi everyone! My name is Miriam Snider and I was recently appointed as the graduate student representative to the Governing Council of ARPAS. I am excited for this opportunity and cannot wait to meet and work with people with a diverse body of interests and specialties.
I am originally from Malden, Missouri, which is a town in extreme southeast Missouri near the Missouri–Arkansas border. I did not grow up with livestock and was not involved in 4-H or FFA, but I always had an interest in science and animals. I completed dual bachelor’s degrees in animal science and cellular-molecular biology in 2015 from Southeast Missouri State University. From there I moved on and received my master’s in animal science from the University of Kentucky, where I focused on beef nutritional physiology and fescue toxicity. I had a special interest in how ergot alkaloids from tall fescue were transported in the small intestine and what serotonin receptors they utilized in bovine gut vasculature. I made the switch to dairy cattle research after spending time working with dairy calves at the University of Alberta. Currently, I am a PhD student at the University of Vermont. My project and research interests involve working with grass-fed, organic dairies in New England and helping producers develop nutrition and paddock management strategies that will best serve their needs. Part of this work comes from working directly with producers, and part of it comes from using continuous culture fermenters to determine nutrient profiles and rumen degradation kinetics of various forages. I always thought I would work in academia, and although that is not off the table, I have a desire to work in a government or extension setting first.
I first became interested in ARPAS when a former professor mentioned that he was a full member. That inspired me to do more research and get involved. The first chance I had, I took the exam focused on beef cattle and became a student member. From the perspective of a graduate student, ARPAS is unique in the way that it offers services and opportunities to students and young researchers once they make the transition to their post-graduate careers. Other professional groups do offer advancement to full membership but the opportunities for things such as board certification or field-specified certifications are especially unique to ARPAS. I also view ARPAS as unique based on networking opportunities. Whereas most other groups are for researchers, ARPAS is open to producers and product specialists, creating a diverse networking environment for researchers, those involved in industry and extension, and producers.
As the graduate student representative to the Governing Council, I hope to contribute a fresh voice and opinions, not just about issues relating to animal agriculture but also on issues relating to graduate students and issues that we face moving into post-graduate careers. ARPAS has opened doors for me as a graduate student that I feel will be beneficial to me throughout my entire career. I hope that I am able to convey the benefits of ARPAS to other graduate students and young professionals to help them move further in their careers, whether that be through certifications, publishing in Applied Animal Science, or networking events.
Once again, I look forward to working with everyone and am excited to see what the next two years bring! If anyone has any questions or ideas, please feel free to reach out to me at Miriam.Snider@uvm.edu.