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Northeast Student Affiliate Teams compete in Connecticut


Posted on July 7, 2016 by By Brooke Kitting ’18, a Delaware Valley University animal science major.

Courtesy: Brooke Kitting '18 First row from left: Brooke Kitting ’18, Leanna Confer ’16, Morgan Sowers ’18, Lauren Rizzitano ’16, Brandon DeFranco ’19, Tarrah Freund ’19. Second row from left to right: DelVal Advisor Natalie Crooke, Ashlyn Parise ’18, Valerie LaTourette ’17, Amanda Rees ’19, Debra Bieser ’18, Sidney Schoch ’18, Victoria Nelson ’16, DelVal Advisor Dr. Bruce Richards, Michael Long ’19, Kevin Mulholland ’17, Colleen Bailey ’16, Lindsay Smith ’19, Casandra Blickley ’19, Ashley Mohn ’16, Bridget McConn ’17, and Heather Oeltjen-Burns ’19.

Delaware Valley University students took part in the Northeast Student Affiliate (NESA) of the American Society of Animal Science and American Dairy Science Association competition at the University of Connecticut during the spring 2016 semester. The DelVal group joined students from five different institutions in a competition that tests students’ knowledge of agriculture. After months of preparing, the team placed third overall as an institution against the five other teams. DelVal Team A also took first in the Quiz Bowl.

NESA hosts a competition each spring. DelVal, Penn State, the University of Rhode Island, Rutgers University, the University of Massachusetts and the University of New Hampshire participated in the competition. Teams accumulate points for livestock judging, Animal Science Quiz Bowl and team member presentations.

Natalie Crooke and Dr. Bruce Richards, DelVal’s advisors, took students to the competition this year. DelVal won a big white ribbon, placing third as an institution overall against five other teams.

To prepare for the event, teams started practicing in September, meeting as many as three times a week to study for the competition. Team leaders also organized judging practices at an assortment of livestock and breeding barns. Barn managers were courteous enough to put together classes so the groups could practice.

Students who compete enhance their knowledge and comprehension of the industry outside the classroom by studying and practicing the materials that are a part of the competition.

The animal science quiz bowl competition involves questions regarding anything from poultry science, to hormones in sheep. DelVal Team A, which included: Lauren Rizzitano ’16, Bridget McConn ’17, Colleen Bailey ’16, and Heather Oeltjen-Burns ’19, placed first overall in Quiz Bowl, earning a 12-5 victory over Penn State.

McConn also placed eighth in the livestock judging competition. This, and the first place as a team in quiz bowl, helped the DelVal Team A place ninth as a team among the 40 other teams that competed.

DelVal seniors Rizzitano and Bailey have competed in the competition for the past four years.

“It was a bittersweet feeling,” says Rizzitano, one of the group leaders who organized practices and farm visits for DelVal students. “After years of studying and practicing, all the work has paid off, and it feels good.”

Also in the top 10 for Animal Science Quiz Bowl was DelVal Team E, which included: Ashley Mohn ’16, Linsday Smith ’19, Morgan Sowers ’18 and Leanna Confer ’16. 

Along with quiz bowl and livestock judging, the competition consisted of one person from each team giving a presentation to a group of judges on an important, current topic in the animal science industry.

The DelVal group had five presenters including: Sowers, who spoke on the benefits of drones in production agriculture; McConn, who spoke on A2A2 milk and it’s benefits; Brooke Kitting ’18 who spoke on beef demand; Michael Long ’19 who spoke on the need for a pork grading system in the United States; and Casandra Blickley ’19 who spoke on the body condition scorecard in dairy animals.

Kitting’s presentation regarding the demand of the beef industry and other factors surrounding consumers’ preferences as well as wants and needs made the top six out of 40 presenters. Kitting gave her presentation in front of all the teams in attendance where she was judged with the other five finalists for first place.

This placement in the presentation sector helped her team, DelVal Team D, of Valeri LaTourette ’17, Amanda Rees ’19, and Ashlyn Parise ’18 place fifth overall among 40 other teams; the highest single team DelVal would place at the competition.

The team is hoping to carry this success and momentum over to next year. They will begin practice again next fall for the NESA Competition planned for February 2017, which will be held at University of Rhode Island.

“We could not have done it without our advisors and the barn managers who helped us with judging practices,” said Rizzitano. “They went above and beyond the protocol with helping us prepare for the event. It also helps to have a group of students who are as enthusiastic as the students we had this year. Great job everyone.”