M.SC. by thesis student
(519) 824-4120 ext. 58354
I joined the University of Guelph community in 2012 when I began my undergraduate degree of B.Sc. in Animal Biology. I grew up on a family-operated dairy farm which sparked an interest in animal research, so during the second summer of my undergrad I began working in the Lactation Systems Biology Lab. This lead me to working for Trouw Nutrition as a ruminant research assistant in subsequent summers. After graduation I decided to continue my career in dairy research and in September of 2016 I began my MSc with my undergraduate mentor, Dr. John Cant.
My master’s project is based on modelling extended lactation curves in dairy cattle. A lactation curve is a graphical representation of daily milk yields against time, describing a cycle of calving, a rapid ascending phase to peak milk production, followed by a gradual decline in production until the cow is dried off. Historically, this cycle is completed within 365 days. However, since modern cows have such high milk production, cows are now being managed for extended lactations. For my masters, I am working on a mathematical model that will use information from the beginning of the lactation to help predict milk production in late lactation. To create this model, I will be fitting a mechanistic model to extended lactations in Holstein cattle to optimize the model's predictive capacity. This information will help the producer decide when is most economically beneficial to breed invidual cows, as well as supporting other management decisions such as feeding strategies. This helps both the producer and the animal by maximising milk yields, minimizing cow stress and reducing incidences of metabolic disorders.
Aside from working on my thesis, I am involved with various extracurricular activities. Since beginning my Masters I have belonged to the OAC Graduate Student Council, as well as helping planning an annual colloquium event for the OAC graduate students. I also help in the community as a group leader for an after-school program called ‘Indigo Girls’, a program focused on empowering young girls in the community. In this program, we use diverse mediums with the goal of to educating and creating discussion surrounding current societal themes for girls. In my free time I can be often found outdoors with my dog.