Grad Student- MSc. by Thesis
In May 2016 I began a MSc by thesis program in Animal Breeding and Genetics, co-advised by Drs. Flavio Schenkel and Angela Canovas, within the Centre for Genetic Improvement of Livestock (CGIL). My research is part of the NSERC-CRD funded "Genetic Improvement of Canadian Lamb Carcass Yield, Quality and Growth Traits" project. This project aims to improve lamb production efficiency and producer profit by developing genetic evaluations for novel carcass traits, including: weight, fat depth and conformation score. I am very interested in agricultural extension and industry driven research, consequently, I was drawn to this project because I could see the practical benefit it would have for Canadian sheep producers.
I started my MSc program after graduating from the University of Guelph with an Honours Bachelors of Arts and Sciences degree specializing in Molecular Biology and Genetics and Ethics in Life Sciences in June 2016. I am originally from a relatively rural area in Southwestern, Ontario (Chatham-Kent) where my family has a hobby farm with an assortment of animals including: llamas, cattle, laying hens, ducks, barn cats and a horse. In addition, my family bred English Springer Spaniels and owned Standardbred racehorses when I was younger, which drove my interest in animal breeding and genetics from an early age. I enjoy spending much of my free time volunteering and am currently involved with the College Royal Society as the 2017 Dog Show Director, Chief Financial Officer for the University of Guelph Canine Association and a volunteer educator with Let's Talk Science.
Before starting this project, I did not have much experience working with small ruminants or knowledge of commercial sheep production. I am very thankful for all of the opportunities I have been given during my time at CGIL, such as assisting the "Sheep Team" with farm and abattoir data collection and attending producer field days. In October 2016, I had the opportunity to attend the Ontario Sheep Convention to present a poster titled "Factors Affecting Carcass Traits of Canadian Heavy Lambs", for which I tied for first place in the research poster competition.