Nearly 600 students interested in a career in the poultry industry attended the USPOULTRY Foundation’s College Student Career Program, held in conjunction with the 2017 International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE). The program attracted students from 36 universities throughout the United States, while the International Student Program brought in 12 students from six universities in Latin America. The students interviewed for jobs and internships with human resource representatives from 37 industry and allied firms. They were also able to visit the exhibit floor to see the most current technology used in today's industry.

“We are pleased that the College Student Career Program continues to expand. This year’s program not only brought together the brightest students, it connected those students with several industry companies that made on-site job offers and internships. This program is a great way for companies to fill their talent pipeline to help ensure the future of our industry,” remarked Paul Hill, chairman of West Liberty Foods, Ellsworth, Iowa, and USPOULTRY Foundation chairman.

Keynote speaker Ruth Kimmelshue, corporate senior vice president, business operations and supply chain for Cargill, challenged the students to focus on their career aspirations as they transition from academics to the work environment. “Your career is a team sport. You want to find people along the way that want to help and play the game with you. Finding mentors in your career will prove helpful,” said Kimmelshue.


Students also participated in the Student of the Year, Club of the Year and Scrapbook of the Year competitions. During the opening session, Lesleigh Beer, University of Arkansas, was named the Frank Perdue Scholarship Student of the Year. The scholarship is named in Frank Perdue’s honor, for his dedication to aspiring young people studying for careers in the poultry industry, and who, for many years as a long-time supporter of the program, attended and interviewed students. Matthew Hackenberg, Pennsylvania State University, took second place, and Taylor Joyner, North Carolina State University, received third place honors.

Pennsylvania State University was named Club of the Year, which is based on activities and engagement by the club throughout the year. Texas A&M University took home second place, and North Carolina State University placed third. Pennsylvania State University also won the club Scrapbook of the Year contest.

The USPOULTRY Foundation College Student Career Program, along with the International Student Program, gives companies an opportunity to interview top students for industry-related jobs and internships in one location, during a three-day period. The program involves students from national and international universities and has been an important part of the hiring process for many companies for more than 40 years.