Miner graduate students recognized for research

Miner Institute

2019 Flanagan Scholarship recipients recognized in student contests

Katie Smith

 Miner Institute graduate students are being recognized for the quality of the research they are conducting. Most recently, Katie Smith earned a second-place prize in the 1st Annual North East Graduate Student Research Contest through the Northeast chapter of The American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists (ARPAS). Last November, graduate student Leanna Thalmann earned a first-place ranking for a research poster she presented at the American Society of Agronomy, the Crop Science Society of America, and the Soil Science Society of America conference in San Antonio, TX.

Smith is pursuing a master’s degree in dairy nutrition through the University of Vermont. Her research looks at the interaction of fermentable starch and indigestible fiber in the cow’s rumen and how it affects lactation performance and carbohydrate digestibility. She hopes to return to Missouri to work as a nutritionist after completing her degree in early 2021. Smith placed second out of 13 students from around the Northeast in the student research contest.

Thalmann is pursuing a master’s degree in plant and soil science at the University of Vermont. Her research compares nutrient runoff from fields with and without tile drainage. Thalmann’s poster focused on comparing export of phosphorus and nitrogen from corn fields with and without tile drainage. This research is important to the Lake Champlain watershed and dairy producers who want to retain these valuable nutrients on their fields and keep them out of the lake. She hopes to work in environmental water quality when she completes her degree later this year.

Both Smith and Thalmann were recipients of the Flanagan Scholarship in 2019. Stephen Flanagan made a $1.3 million donation after his death in 2015 to establish a scholarship fund at Miner Institute. The scholarship, named after Mr. Flanagan and his parents, Stephen S. Flanagan and Frances B. Flanagan, was envisioned to financially support the next generation of agricultural leaders.

“Katie’s work shows us how sensitive cows are to dietary starch and how easy it is to reduce milk fat production which is a critical contributor to dairy farm profitability.” said Rick Grant, president of Miner Institute. “Leanna’s work will help farmers in the Champlain Valley optimize nutrient management so that they can enhance farm profitability and be good stewards of the land,” Grant added.

Both Smith and Thalmann are earning their master’s degrees at the University of Vermont through a graduate assistantship at Miner Institute where they do the research component of their program at Miner Institute, while Miner Institute pays their tuition and a work stipend through the support of the Flanagan Scholarships.

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