Animal Sciences Development Fund to help students prepare for careers

Students come to Washington State University to acquire skills that benefit them in their future careers. Time spent learning on equipment used in industries gives students a leg up when searching for jobs and internships.

Nine people wearing white lab coats and hard helmets stand in a room looking at 4 large cuts of meat resting on a table.
WSU meat judging students evaluate large cuts of meat as they practice for one of their contests.

Through forward-looking projects, the Animal Sciences Development Fund is helping WSU create an adaptable workforce and provide a learning environment that helps students be successful in their chosen industries.

“A key mission of a land-grant institution and a STEM program is to educate students on where the industry is going,” said Gordon Murdoch, chair of WSU’s Department of Animal Sciences. “We want to educate the future of the industry as best we can, and that means improving our facilities.”

Murdoch hopes the fund will enhance the WSU Meats Lab. That means new equipment, including packaging and analytical equipment that will help develop new products to sell and improve research and teaching capability. The animal sciences department hired meat scientist Blake Foraker in 2022 to educate students interested in the meat industry. Foraker had an immediate impact, re-building the WSU meat judging team in 2023.

WSU’s team earned Reserve National Champion honors in the fall of 2023. Three team members were named to the All-American team for their academic and contest performance: Mackenzie Shattuck, Joseph Koenig, and Bailey Sherley. Kadi Compton was also awarded the Rachel Hamilton Team Spirit Award.

“We’ve lacked the resources to be what an outstanding animal science program should be,” Murdoch said. “If we educate students in the best way possible, they’ll stay local and be the backbone of our industry in the very near future. We want to show that WSU trains leaders that benefit the state’s industries and economy as a whole.”

To help improve the Animal Sciences department and meet its goals, AgWest Farm Credit has committed to a matching opportunity during CougsGive.

To support this fund, visit the CougsGive WSU Animal Sciences site and become a CougsGive Ambassador. You can provide a gift on April 17 and help share the word to support deserving WSU students and life-changing Cougar experiences.