“We emphasize professional development and prepare our students to be strong candidates for the poultry industry or graduate or professional school,” said Audrey McElroy, Ph.D., interim head of the Texas A&M Department of Poultry Science.
To better prepare its students, the nationally top-ranked Department of Poultry Science is looking to expand its department through facility expansions, more research opportunities and increased undergraduate and secondary school programing.
“I believe by creating these collaborations, we will not only expand our programs, but strengthen their effectiveness,” said McElroy.
The new intestinal health facility at the Poultry Science Research, Teaching and Extension Center is near completion and will open the door for more research focused on poultry health and animal welfare.
“Other poultry science departments have campaigned for facility improvements, and we’re a little behind, to be honest,” McElroy said. “We need more state-of-the-art facilities or we won’t be able to attract the type of faculty and provide training for students that we need.”
“Our immediate goal is to hire new faculty members to expand our research programs,” McElroy said, specifically regarding nutrition, intestinal health, reproduction and genomics. “Several faculty members are funded by federal grants and many conduct research with the poultry industry, directly benefiting our stakeholders with applied research.”
With funding from alumni Bill Huffman ’53, an endowment has also been established that will be used to hire a faculty member focused on poultry research and teaching.
The department plans to expand upon its summer programs for secondary students like the Texas Poultry Youth Ambassador program for high school students, which teaches students about poultry science and industry, or the Poultry Judging Camp for all ages, which shows kids how to evaluate poultry products.
The department is also looking for funding to allow more undergraduates to take part in the Poultry Science Study Abroad program, which sends students to study broiler production in Mexico.