NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – After working at a local animal hospital in Nashville years ago, Alexis McDade’s passion for the animal industry was fueled. Additionally, McDade’s recent involvement with TSU’s food and animal science program has led her to a unique career path in the poultry sector.
Currently, she is a first-year graduate student at TSU, majoring in food and animal science within the College of Agriculture. She has just received a scholarship from the Tennessee Poultry Association (TPA) based on her exceptional performance in the poultry research area.
McDade expressed her gratitude for becoming a TPA award recipient. “(When) I saw the news, I was ecstatic and even got a little emotional because I know how competitive scholarships can be,” McDade said. “This was my first scholarship award in this setting, so it felt both humbling and rewarding. I’m very proud of myself.”
McDade, who has been in the animal field for eight years now, also noted that she appreciates the university’s helpful insights related to her career path. “TSU offers plenty of opportunities for students like me to gain valuable real-world experience,” she said, “which is why I’m eager to explore ways to optimize the poultry industry.”
McDade found herself captivated by the balance between science, agriculture, and animal health within the poultry industry. She was particularly intrigued by the role that nutrition played in shaping the health and productivity of poultry. “I had the pleasure of participating in Ag Day on the Hill at the Tennessee Capitol, where I met inspiring individuals from the poultry industry who motivated me to continue my hard work on my research,” she said.
Samuel Nahashon, the Department Head of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, said the TPA has been awarding TSU students this scholarship for the last two years. “The scholarship that Alexis McDade received is based on her being in the poultry science research area and aspiring to be in the poultry career,” Nahashon said. He noted that McDade’s advisor within the department, Dr. P. Maharjan, did not hesitate to write a reference letter on her behalf based on how she has excelled in the field. McDade is one of 23 scholarship recipients across the state. The scholarship amount will be disclosed at an upcoming award ceremony at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center.
The Nashville native aims to thrive in the poultry industry and pursue a Ph.D. in poultry nutrition. She also looks forward to conducting further research on gut health within the poultry industry.
The Tennessee Poultry Association’s mission is to be a collective voice for the integrated broiler/breeder industry in Tennessee, supporting the promotion of education, policy, and public relations for the industry’s sustenance. TPA collaborates with growers, producers, companies, educators, researchers, universities, state agencies, and agri-businesses to promote and protect the commercial poultry industry in the state.