Beyond the classroom.
There’s more to college than classrooms and homework. Finding balance between campus life and class responsibilities is easy in our department! As a student in poultry or food science, you’ll have the opportunity to take an active role in a variety of clubs and organizations, internship opportunities, undergraduate research opportunities and other activities.
Food Science Club
The Food Science Club invites guests speakers from the Food Industry to their meetings, are actively involved at campus events and participate in experimental cooking, competitions potluck dinners, and more!
Poultry Science Club
The Poultry Science Club is open to students from all majors. They participate in activities across campus and in the Auburn community, and provide professional development and industry experience to members.
Gerald Irvine has always had a desire to create new food and drink products. With his major, he can do exactly that! Irvine, from Montgomery is a junior majoring in Food Science and minoring in Spanish. His father is a Navy Veteran and his mother works for the State of Alabama.
“I decided on Auburn based on proximity to my family, value of education, and because my sister graduated from Auburn and the Harrison School of Pharmacy,” Irvine said.
With those aspects in mind and the fact that Irvine has always loved food and working with food, Auburn was the best choice.
In high school, Irvine decided to explore the food industry. He began cooking regularly and researching where foods came from.
While at Auburn, Irvine has been involved in several organizations. He is currently involved in the Food Science Club, the Latino Student Association, Omega Delta Phi Fraternity, International Buddy Program, Auburn PLUS Scholarship program, the Indian Student Association and the Saudi Student Club.
“I have noticed that by being active, I can impact the community in many ways, while also providing my mind with positive stimulation,” Irvine said.
In his “spare time”, Irvine studies for his classes. He is also a polyglot, which means he loves learning new languages. He currently speaks English, Spanish, Portuguese and is learning Arabic. He plans to continue learning other languages, including Hindi and French.
He will be completing an internship in the food industry during the summer of 2017. After graduation, he plans on going to graduate school to receive an additional perspective on food and agriculture. He eventually plans on working in product development or sensory evaluation.
His favorite course at Auburn, thus far, has been Anthropology. “In this class, we discussed culture and linguistics – both are things I absolutely love,” Irvine said.
His advice to underclassman would be, not to procrastinate.
“Procrastination can be difficult to avoid, but it is always great to give yourself time to learn and perfect your work,” Irvine said.
Kennedy Fincher, of Woodland, is a sophomore majoring in Poultry Production. Fincher has been extremely involved in the Poultry Science Club while at Auburn.
“It has helped me to get to know lots of people in the department, make good connections, and I’ve met some of my best friends through this club,” Fincher said.
Fincher plans to graduate in May of 2018 and find a job in live operations. She would prefer to live on a farm near her parents, but would be willing to go anywhere a job takes her.
This summer, Fincher completed an internship in Carrollton, Georgia, with Pilgrims. During this internship, she focused on the live side of the poultry industry. She spent most of her time in the hatchery and servicing broilers, breeders, and pullets. She also spent a day at the feed mill, helped with scheduling in live haul and spent a few days in the plant.
Her project over the summer was to find ways to reduce egg cracks by improving egg handling and implementing better management practices from the farm to the hatchery.
Fincher cannot put into words how much she learned through her internship. “Sitting in a classroom studying this industry is one thing, but actually being out in the field experiencing it is incomparable,” Fincher said.
This internship reassured her that she chose the right career path. She intends on completing another internship next summer.
She would highly recommend doing an internship to any person, in any major. “You will learn so much that will really help you with your classes when you come back,” Fincher said.
Her favorite course at Auburn has been Dr. Berry’s Introduction to Poultry. This class helped her decide on Poultry Production as her major, rather than Poultry Pre-Vet.
She has been working as an undergraduate research assistant for Dr. Ken Macklin for about a year now. She helps graduate students with trails, feeding and checking birds, and assistance in the lab.
“Agriculture is something I am very passionate about and I am so blessed to be able to spend my life doing something that I love,” Fincher said.
Cheyenne Brouillette started Auburn University as a Pre-Pharmacy major, but after taking Dr. Bell’s Intro to Food Science course, she happily changed her major to Food Science. Brouillette is originally from Hobart, Indiana, but her family relocated to Daphne, Alabama in August of 2010 when she was a junior in high school.
Brouillette fell in love with Auburn the first time she stepped on campus for a tour. “It immediately felt like a place I could call home for the next four to five years,” Brouillette said.
Her favorite course at Auburn has been Dr. Morey’s Poultry Processing and Further Processing and Products course. “Not only did this class have a product development component, but it truly opened my eyes to the world of poultry and all of the opportunity in this field,” Brouillette said.
She completed an internship during the summer of 2016 with Pilgrim’s in Douglas, Georgia. Brouillette worked in every facet of production, such as; broilers, breeders, hatchery, 1st and 2nd processing, HR, accounting, safety and logistics. Her project was on the bone issue they were having with their boneless breast.
“I determined that bone elimination would require updated equipment and better process control in live operations, 1st and 2nd processing and the quality assurance team,” Brouillette said.
Brouillette recently accepted a job offer from JBS in Athens, Georgia. She will be working as a Corporate Management Trainee. For the first 18 months, she will be working in multiple areas to gain a sense of how the whole business works together. For more information about the JBS Trainee Program, visit: http://jobs.jbssa.com/student-leadership-development/.
Taking Dr. Huang’s Product Development course has helped her prepare for the future. “This class showed me that I would be successful working in research and development for a company,” Brouillette said.
Her advice to underclassmen is to not be afraid to change your major. “College is the perfect time to explore different career paths and determine which on is right for you,” Brouillette said.
Jessica Haverkampf from Tuscaloosa, is a senior majoring in Poultry Science Production. Before coming to Auburn, the closest she had ever been to a poultry farm was the one she passed on the way to school every day.
Both of her parents are educators. “My mother teaches special education and my father teaches math,” Haverkampf said.
Her original plan was to attend vet school, but recently her passion has changed to the production side of poultry science. “I chose Auburn, because I wanted to get involved in agriculture,” Haverkampf said.
For the past two years, Haverkampf has worked with the Auburn Recreation and Wellness Center. She started out as a facility attendant, but worked her way up to the position she currently holds, facility supervisor.
Outside of classes and work, Haverkampf is involved in the Poultry Science Club and Sigma Alpha. “Sigma Alpha is Auburn’s professional agriculture sorority, and I currently hold the position of Second Vice President,” Haverkampf said.
During the summer of 2015, she completed an internship with Wayne Farms in Albertville, Alabama. She worked in the quality assurance department at the fresh processing plant. More specifically, she was assigned a project to develop a Foreign Material Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA) that could be used in the Albertville plant as well as be modifiable to fit any of the Wayne Farm plants.
The purpose of FMEA is to help reduce incidents of foreign material. At the end of her internship, she traveled to their corporate headquarters in Oakwood, Georgia to present her project. “After presenting my project, Wayne Farms has begun incorporating the failure modes and affects analysis into their plants,” Haverkampf said.
Upon graduating in December, Haverkampf hopes to further her education. There are no set in stone plans, but she would love to get involved with research and development. This passion of research came from her food science and meat science courses here at Auburn.
Kelly Goneke is originally from Evergreen, located in Conecuh County. She started her journey at Auburn University with a major in Poultry Science Production. After completing an internship with Koch Foods, she decided to change her major to Biosystems Engineering, but keep a minor in Poultry Science.
“I realized I was more interested in the way the equipment worked and how far technology has progressed,” Goneke said. Since then, she has become more interested in poultry equipment design and manufacturing.
She spent this past summer working for the National Poultry Technology Center (NPTC) under Dr. Jeremiah Davis. She worked on many projects including construction activities for the new NPTC research building, constructing hands-on teaching platforms for the new NPTC poultry housing course, developing a small-scale poultry house to demonstrate air flow and performing various data collection activities associated with research projects.
Currently, she is assisting American Proteins in monitoring temperatures of the headspace in poultry mortality freezers at the Auburn University poultry farm.
Along with being involved in the NPTC, Goneke stays involved around campus as well. She is treasurer of the Auburn University student branch of ASABE, chair of fundraising for the ASABE Quarter Scale Tractor Team and a member of Auburn University Young Farmers.
Dr. Davis’s Livestock Housing course has been her favorite at Auburn, thus far. “It has really helped me decide where I want to focus my concentration once I start working,” Goneke said.
Attending career fairs put on by the College of Agriculture have helped Goneke broaden her knowledge of the jobs available in the field of engineering.
She is set to graduate in May 2018 and plans to then work on a Master of Science in Biosystems Engineering. “I would like to work in the agricultural field with poultry or other agriculture industries to help improve technology,” Goneke said.
Hailing from Luverne, Auburn University senior in agricultural communications, Sarah Jackson, has served the Department of Poultry Science as the student communications intern for the past two years. As a poultry science minor, accompanied with her family’s rich history as growers in the poultry industry, Jackson’s contributions to the department are numerous.
“I started working with the department in May of 2014,” she says, “and throughout my last two years here, I have become a better writer and stronger communicator.”
Jackson’s responsibilities as a student intern include assisting in planning departmental events, writing features and spotlights highlighting students, research and extension efforts, and contributing to social media plans and contests. Her social media campaign, “Where’s Rocko Wednesdays” delighted alumni and friends on the departmental Facebook page, as she tailed the poultry science mascot, Rocko the Rooster, across campus throughout the 2015-2016 academic year.
“Starting out at the department, I was kind of nervous about writing responsibilities, but practice makes perfect,” she reflects. “I am still not perfect, but I can see the progress, and I can tell that my writing skills have evolved, and writing has been easier throughout the years.”
Jackson marks her time at Auburn as transformative. She sees that building friendships and getting involved in student clubs has been a key part of settling into Auburn for her.
“Coming to college after graduating from a class of 26 people was nerve wracking.” She says, “My freshman year, I was in a learning community of about 20 students who were all in the College of Agriculture and those faces became so familiar to me, I’m still friends with over half of those students to this day.”
Along with friendships, involvement in groups like the Ag Ambassadors and Collegiate FFA have helped Jackson network with industry leaders and grow professionally. “When I have more on my plate, I tend to manage my time better,” she says, “getting involved has really helped me grow here.”
Upon graduation in December of 2016, Jackson hopes to join the agricultural industry as a marketing & communications specialist. She notes, “Preferably, I would like to work for a poultry company, but really, I’m just excited to join the ag industry.”
Jackson’s advice for underclassmen is pretty simple, “Get involved and make friends in these great agricultural organizations. The friends you make here may very well be the people you are working with in the industry one day.”
Austin Lock, is a junior studying poultry science production and will be a fourth generation graduate of Auburn in May of 2017.
Lock grew up on a small 20 acre farm in Huntsville, Alabama. His family farms mostly as a hobby where they have a few horses, chickens and a garden.
While at Auburn, he has been involved in the poultry science club. Last year, he was the philanthropy chair for the club where he got to lead the club in community outreach and volunteer opportunities.
In the department, Lock works for Dr. Jessica Starkey in her muscle development lab. He assists in research activities at the poultry science research farm as well as in the lab.
Last summer, he interned with Tyson Foods in Albertville, Alabama. Lock worked in the processing plant and received hands on experience in the industry. This summer, Lock will be interning with Tyson Foods in Snead, Alabama in their live side production site. He will be working in the hatchery and traveling to farms with service techs.
These internships teach our students how to work effectively with others and allow them to receive a better understanding of how the industry works. “I think the experience is very valuable and helps you know what you want to do once you graduate,” Lock said.
Upon graduating from Auburn, Lock hopes to join the poultry industry. He is currently interest in getting involved with the live side production as a service tech. He hopes this opportunity will open many doors for him.