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Virginia Tech students deliver Capstone presentations

By JANE W. GRAHAM
AFP Correspondent

BLACKSBURG, Va. (Dec. 1, 2015) — A steady stream of visitors passed through four classrooms of Litton-Reeves Hall on the Virginia Tech campus to view posters made by seniors for their Animal and Poultry Sciences Capstone Symposium last month.
Visitors to the symposium had the opportunity to vote for their favorite poster.
The winners were chosen from 171 ballots that were cast during the afternoon, Cindy Wood, faculty advisor, said.
Winners and their poster titles were:
• First Place: Ashley Geiger, “Animal Care Internship at Carolina Tiger Rescue;”
• Second Place: Ally VanCampen, “Separating and Stimulating Equine Peripheral B Lymphocytes;” and
• Third Place: Stacy Graf, “The Importance of Neonatal Foal Care”
“A capstone project is when students take classroom learning to work in real-world internships and research projects through an education initiative known as the capstone experience,” Zeke Barlow, department spokesman said. “Students from the Animal and Poultry Science Department are encouraged to take part in the program so they can apply what they have learned in the classrooms in situations they will face after graduation.”
The presenters were eager to tell friends and strangers about this event, part of the university’s capstone requirement, about their experiences.
“What stands out to me about the event — and the capstone requirement itself — is the breadth of experiences our students choose, and the variety of ways they use a standard poster format to present the information they want to convey,” Wood said after the event.
“We encourage students to choose an experience that matters to them, and they respond,” she said. “We have internships, undergraduate research, study abroad programs and independent studies represented in the 52 posters presented last Friday. Some stayed close to home but others went out of state and out of the country. And they are a good bunch of students: Very enjoyable to work with.”
The students’ individual projects ranged from work on the Virginia Tech campus, across the state, to farms and zoos to Ecuador.
Subjects included scientific explorations, a 4-H riding school, internships, birds and bats.
Projects dealing with horses seemed popular with many of the students.
Graff took the scientific approach showing drawings of a foal in the birth canal and a photo of still born foal suffocated by the placenta wrapping around its body.
Kimberly Jakubowski worked on a 40-horse breeding farm in Carroll County, Va.
A long time horsewoman, she said she focused on the training of young horses. She worked with both a yearling in hand and riding a three-year-old.
“I hope this experience and the connections I have made will provide me with the opportunity to work for a professional rider when I graduate and hopefully one day break into the industry, she said.
Haley Ward’s project, “The Inside Look on Being a Trail Guide,” took her to the Easy Does It Ranch in Chesapeake, Va., where she helped a rescue horse overcome its fear to walk into water.
She and her mount were then able to join other horses and riders on a ride in the Back Bay.
Megan McLean said her project, Animal Agriculture: 1799 to 2015, was kind of like going home.
It was centered at Mt. Vernon, George Washington’s plantation home.
She had worked there prior to doing her project which included working with livestock breeds Washington might have used and farming methods of the day as well as the history of the farm.