Toree Bova, Ph.D., doesn’t fit the mold of someone with a career in agricultural science focusing on animal and dairy science. Born on a farm? Nope. Always wanted to work with farm animals? No. Heart set on being a veterinarian? Not really. Bova prefers the critical thinking/problem solving side of animal science to treating animals up close and personal.
“I started out majoring in biology/pre-dental at Missouri State University,” Bova recalled. “I took one class in animal science, then another, and wound up with a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science, and a minor in equine studies and general agriculture.” She went on to earn a Master of Natural and Applied Science at Missouri and a Ph.D. in Agricultural Science with a specialization in animal and dairy science from Mississippi State University.
Bova admitted that she’s probably the only faculty member in UF’s Animal Science office that was never interested in veterinary medicine as a career. She likes solving problems, teaching and research. Of the three, teaching is highest on her list.
“I teach students to think differently,” she added. “There are a lot of careers in animal science. You can work in industry or for a government agency. Recently, there have been a lot of jobs open in the chicken industry.”
Speaking of chickens, the backyard variety provided a research topic for two of Bova’s students. They studied the effect that different levels of protein in chicken feed had on soil, both in the chicken’s immediate environment and neighboring yards when runoff occurred … maybe not a glamour job, but pretty interesting.
Other undergraduate research projects supervised by Bova this year include one involving coccidiosis in goats, and another on the relationship between fiber digestibility and improved behavior in horses. It’s through research projects like these that Bova hopes her students will perfect their critical thinking skills, something that 21st century jobs demand.
Another group of animal science students developed and taught a class on meats at a northeastern Ohio middle school. Bova believes that if students design lesson plans and teach the subject, they’ll learn it much better themselves. This group has submitted an article to the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA). The students researching chickens will present at the Poultry Science Association’s annual conference.
The University of Findlay has made a commitment to develop undergraduate research opportunities in many of its programs. On Friday, April 7 the 11th Annual Symposium for Scholarship and Creativity will provide a forum for undergraduate and graduate students to showcase their research projects through poster presentations and presentations before an audience. This summer, six UF students will participate in the first Summer Scholars Program where they will work with a faculty member and receive a stipend for their research contributions.
Bova believes in teaching through research and stated, “I think my students are discovering that there are really a lot of options for animal science majors. Developing those problem solving and critical thinking skills will really help them in their careers.