Michigan Allied Poultry Industry (MAPI) awarded two scholarships this month in its first-ever scholarship program. The inaugural awards went to students pursuing careers in the poultry industry. Valeria Johnson and Ethan Neiman, both students at Michigan State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, are MAPI’s first two award recipients.

The MAPI scholarship aims to help encourage college students to pursue careers in the poultry industry and support their education, and is available to undergraduate or graduate students who are actively pursuing a career in a poultry-focused agricultural field or business, with the intent to provide financial assistance to future leaders in the Michigan poultry industry.  Applicants must have completed a related summer internship in the year that they are applying for scholarship funds.

Valeria Johnson, second year student in the MSU Veterinary Medicine program, is on track to graduate in 2022. She is a member of the Avian Science Club where she served as the Turkey Chair, as well as a member of the Animal Welfare judging Team, Food Animal Club, Pathology Club and USDA Multicultural Scholars Program, among others. Her poultry experience began at Maple Island Turkey Farm (Sietsema Farms) where she worked in high school. Johnson also interned for Michigan Turkey Producers during college, taught Poultry Management at MSU and was a Midwest Poultry Consortium-Center Of Excellence Program participant in 2016 and 2017, as well as a MAPI summer intern in 2016 and an MSU Toxicology Research Intern.


Ethan Neiman is a first-year vet student at MSU, who interned at Konos during summer 2019, where he learned firsthand about all aspects of egg production and running an egg farm. Ethan also served as a TA in an MSU animal science nutrition class, aiding students in creating balanced rations for broilers to achieve a production goal (i.e. rapid growth, low cost, lean carcass, most profitable), and interned for Dr. Zac Williams on a composting project at Kellogg Biological Station last winter, studying the most efficient way to compost in a mass mortality scenario.

“Poultry is a growing industry with tons of potential, and all types of jobs opportunities, from working on the farm to tech and engineering jobs, as well as business careers with partners and suppliers,” said Allison Brink, MAPI executive director. “Based on a recent study of entry-level salary data for recent grads in agriculture and related disciplines, grads pursuing career opportunities in the poultry industry have the highest average salary of any industry in the animal sciences field.”

Johnson and Neiman will be officially recognized at MAPI’s annual Winter Poultry Seminar in February.