Each year Novus International presents a top researcher educator with high honors during the Poultry Science Association (PSA) annual meeting. This year’s Novus Teaching award recipient is Kelley Wamsley.
Wamsley is an associate professor in the Department of Poultry Science at Mississippi State University. There she teaches courses on feed manufacturing, broiler production and poultry judging. Her research evaluates the practical application of feed additives and alternative feed ingredients, examines the impact of feed manufacturing on nutrition and assesses the effectiveness of exogenous feed enzymes.
“I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to educate the future leaders of our poultry industry and conduct relevant research that helps the poultry industry feed the world’s growing population,” she says. “I am lucky to have always had passionate educators/mentors throughout my life.”
Wamsley’s mentors include Dr. Joe Moritz, who showed her the role she could play in feeding the world; Dr. Chris McDaniel, who guided her as a young faculty member; and Dr. Mary Beck, who hired her in her first faculty position and served as a strong female role model.
“They helped shape me into the person I am today by pushing me to do better than ‘my best.’ I believe the best gift I can give these special people is to pay it forward,” she says.
Wamsley says her teaching style focuses on expecting the unexpected.
“We live in a diverse, information-rich, technology-driven society that presents new challenges to our generation of educators. Specifically, our students need to be prepared to solve real-world problems using technology and information that may not yet exist,” she says. “This means that our teaching methods must be dynamic and diverse. For this reason, I utilize methods learned from my formal training in pedagogy--I took classes during my Ph.D. to earn a certificate in University Teaching-- in an attempt to be a successful educator.”
Those methods include a student-centered classroom, creating lectures based on goals, requesting feedback from colleagues on what has been successful for them, and, of course, embracing the technology that students today are using.
Wamsley also serves as her department’s Graduate Coordinator and teaches Undergraduate Seminar, Graduate Seminar, Advanced Graduate Seminar, Feed Manufacture and Poultry Evaluation, as well as assists in a study abroad trip to New Zealand and co-advises the Mississippi State poultry science club and poultry judging team. She said the next project she is most excited about is a new feed mill that the university is currently fundraising to build.
“This project will allow our department to give so much more to our industry in terms of student training and teaching, the research we’re able to do on-site and the service/outreach we can offer,” she says.
Outside the classroom, Wamsley has presented nationally and internationally; and her work, including refereed journal articles, abstracts and conference proceedings, is featured in over 140 publications. She is currently mentoring one Ph.D. student, three master’s degree students and 10 undergraduate students.
To those considering being her students one day, she says this industry is like no other.
“This is an exciting and rewarding career path. I enjoy going to work because the people in animal agriculture are passionate in their mission to feed the world.”
Selected by a PSA committee, the Novus Teaching award is presented to a PSA member who has demonstrated outstanding success in the classroom and a dedication to professional improvement. This year’s award was presented during the annual meeting, July 11-14, in San Antonio, Texas.
On presenting the award, Bob Buresh, poultry executive technical services manager at Novus, says recognizing educators who are helping develop tomorrow’s poultry professionals is an honor.
“There are educators all over the world who go above and beyond to encourage, engage, support, and inspire young people. Their efforts can go unnoticed, so it’s a true pleasure to recognize them for all they do,” Buresh says.
PSA is a professional organization consisting of educators, scientists, extension specialists, industry researchers, administrators, producers and college students committed to advancing the poultry industry. Founded in 1908, PSA’s member scientists have contributed through their research to developing safer and more nutritious food products. To learn more about the organization or view the complete list of award winners, visit poultryscience.org.