Sheep Flipping 101

Now that week three is winding down, the students have become immersed in their first electives and their major courses. Today, food science majors were exposed to a wide range of future careers within the food industry. On the other hand, animal science majors took a field trip to the V Livestock Judging Pavilion where they learned how to properly handle cattle, sheep, and swine. Some skills students learned included: sheep “flipping” and herding cattle. Further, agricultural economics majors were put into a simulated pollution-reduction exercise. During this simulation, students were divided into firms, each with an accountant and a negotiator, setting up a marketplace where they traded nitrogen allowances and kept track of their financials in an effort to meet their goals. This was intended to replicate the real world applications of economics in the agricultural sector. Next, agricultural engineering learned about the utilities of satellites, particularly the application of Lidar software in the field. That is, Lidar can be used to determine aspects of forest and environmental health. Lastly, plant science majors continued their learning of the proper techniques to care for different varieties of turfgrass and the application of turfgrass in a commercial sense.



Adib Choudhury, Arthur Shune, Nicole Bain, Nidhi Patel, Mary Wooddell

Waiting for the weekend…

The third week has been primarily focused on our research projects; we’ve had a lot of deadlines. Groups are working hard on finishing up research, designing brochures and laying out posters. We also started our major classes and our first week of electives. Some classes have been visiting farms, going on tours, and even making hamburgers!        Everyone seems to be looking forward to the weekend because of the tubing and IHOP trip! IHOP is Friday night at 11, so we’ll be out past bed checks woo! Tubing is Saturday afternoon; hopefully it won’t be cancelled for bad weather. There will also surely be lots of sand volleyball like always, cards, and catching up on sleep. Everyone seems to be getting closer to one another and having fun every day.



Sustainable Energy: Alex Lord, Tess Kendrick, Lydia Smith, Grace Wheaton, Jimmy Zhao

Major Learning

The day started off with another class of Strengths and Leadership, where we discussed strengths as related to teamwork.  Then we split off into elective classes, some of which participated in exciting opportunities such as touring the veterinary school (VMRCVM) in the Medication Across the Species elective, or dissecting a pig uterus in the Animal Reproduction class.  After lunch, we again divided into our major classes. Ag Engineering learned about satellite imaging, Plant Science discussed different types of soil, and Ag Economics learned about world population, malnutrition, and their professor’s travels to Ecuador. At Food Science and Technology labs, the Food Science majors worked on cooking hamburgers and experimenting with different fat contents and cooking temperatures.  Finally, the Animal Science majors took a field trip to the VT cattle barns, where they were able to view the use of an ultrasound on a steer to determine the marketability of its meat.  All in all, we managed to come full circle in the day as we aimed to exercise our strengths in our respective classes, and we’re looking forward to an excellent rest of the week!


Jackie Ko, William Gent, Madeleine Miles, Maeve Curtin, Koby Arndt

“Imaging” the Future

Today, the students continued working in their major classes and electives! The agricultural engineering major learned how to use Multispec which uses internet satellite imagery to track changing landscapes over time.  The Multispec program takes satellite images and allows the user to crop the portion of the land desired and change the bands (colors).  The three bands included red, green and blue which combined to form what is called false coloring.  This false coloring can be changed accordingly to highlight different changes over time. In the food science class, the students went to the meat center and made hamburgers. They practiced food safety methods using thermometers to make sure they were cooked correctly. Unfortunately, they didn’t get to eat their hamburgers! During the plant science class, students learned about different soils and turf grass. Students in the agricultural economics class talked about food security and impoverished countries. They learned about how a large population of people are living hungry and/or earning less than one dollar a day. Next, the animal science majors got to visit the beef cattle center and watch an ultrasound performed on two different cows. They learned about what marbling and backfat looked like in cows of different ages. It was a very interesting day and these students can’t believe that week 3 is already halfway over!  They will definitely enjoy the rest of their time here!




K. R. Eckler, E. E. Kim, L. F. O’Hara,  A. S. Ronkainen, P. Shankar

Week Three is MAJOR Fun

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After a weekend of fun activities, the students returned to the classroom for morning classes. The day began with a strengths and leadership class, and for the first time this month, the students split into different electives. They performed dissections in a Animal Reproduction class, learned about proper care for domesticated animals, and discussed critical thinking skills. The last classes of the day were designated for specific majors. The plant science major learned about the wondrous world of turf grass or “plastic grass.”  At the equestrian center, the animal science major observed the process of artificial insemination, viewed sperm through a light microscope, and visited the foaling barns. During food science, the students played a bingo game exposing them to the thirty technologies for a hamburger. Exploring the campus with GPS’s, the Agricultural engineering students mapped and tracked their routes using Google Maps. In their afternoon class, the agricultural economics students discussed varying marketing tactics including direct marketing and target marketing. Overall, it was a great start to the first week of individualized classes!

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David Adams, WonSouk Choi, Megan Thomas, Truc Bui, Carlene Uzel

Week Two is Already Over!

Week two is already over, and it’s been a great time! Week two flew by, and we learned so much. Our classes this past week involved learning about horticulture, and animal sciences. We took a field trip to the Virginia Tech Horticulture Gardens, and took a tour around the gardens. Our tour guides showed us the ponds with different sized fish, and they were very beautiful. We got in touch with our nature side. The next day, we got to experience and visit all the different livestock farms on Virginia Tech, like sheep, cows, horses, and pigs. We even got to see a pig give birth! It was very convenient or inconvenient timing. We all learned about the different types of animals and their different use in agriculture. Both of these field trips were able to get in touch with the many aspects of agriculture and interested many of the different students.

Our week hasn’t just been all work, and we ended it with a bunch of fun. Saturday night, we went to Christiansburg for midnight bowling. We all dressed up in white or neon colors, and they looked really cool with the black lights. Sunday we went to the movies. Some of us saw Despicable Me 2, and a few saw The Lone Ranger. It hasn’t been all work and no play. A handful of kids also decided to do the “Vermonster” at Ben and Jerry’s. It is 20 scoops of ice-cream, and a grand total of 14,000 calories. All of that was consumed after eating at Red Robin. We’ve had fun, and we’re all excited to see what week three holds for us.

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Reyna Smith, Christopher Suh, Jessica Metter, Kelly Henry, Ki Wan Kim

Animal Farm

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After learning about animals through text and in class, we were finally able to go see the actual animals! Fortunately, on Friday morning rain wasn’t falling. First, we went straight to the horses. A friendly brown mare named Brownie greeted us when we first arrived, and we learned about how horses foaled. We continued our animal adventure, and were greeted by an unpleasant odor as we opened the van doors; the next animals on the agenda were pigs. We split up into two groups as we visited the pens of the sows, barrows, and the nurseries where piglets were kept. The first group was very lucky to see the birth of some piglets! We learned that baby pigs are born with very little fat, so they have to be kept warm by a heat lamp.


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Next, we drove to go see some cattle. We saw different breeds of cattle including Angus, Charolais, and Simmental. They often breed Simmental and Angus cows to give Simmental cows the black hide that consumers prefer over white or smoky brown. Our last trip was to the sheep center, and the demonstration of herding sheep was very interesting as sheep are very timid animals and are easily frightened. The animal adventures were entertaining as well as informative, and we learned so much more than sitting in a classroom and learning about animals on Powerpoint slides!


Hilary Oh, Rachel Hand, Bobby Goriparthi, Nazeb Kabir, Harsha Dindigal