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Master’s Program Provides Unique Learning Experience

August 5, 2010

[Source: CSU’s College of Agricultural Sciences, Written by Jordan Sedlacek, a graduate student in the IRM program]

While classroom lectures are essential for learning about theory, experiences outside of the classroom are equally important for applied sciences such as agriculture.  At the Western Center for Integrated Resource Management, the value of experiential learning is taken to heart.  The WCIRM’s Master’s of Agriculture program in Integrated Resource Management provides many opportunities for students to get their hands dirty.

The on-campus program is organized into intensive, modular classes that allow professors to organize full-day field trips and even overnight excursions.  Outings in the past year include multiple trips to the Colorado State University’s Maxwell Research Ranch, approximately 40 minutes north of campus in Livermore, Colo.; CSU’s Agricultural Research Development and Education Center north of Fort Collins, Colo.; the Colorado Farm Show in Greeley, Colo.; a sheep dairy in Nebraska; and even an overnight stay at the Trinchera Ranch in southern Colorado.

In addition to class-based trips, students are required to complete one or two internships in their area of interest.  The goal of these internships is to give the students practical experience that will aid them in their future careers.

The WCIRM website now features firsthand accounts of student internship experiences.  These can be found under the “Prospective Students” tab.

Hear it from the students

Cordell Hatch is a member of the 2010 IRM class.  The Idaho native did his internship at Royal Vista Equine.  Here is what Cordell has to say about his internship experience:

“Royal Vista Equine is an equine reproduction facility located in Fort Collins, Colorado with a sister facility in Oklahoma. Royal Vista specializes in all aspects of equine reproduction including breeding, embryo transfer, semen freezing, embryo vitrification, and foaling services. Having been in operation for 20 years, Royal Vista is well established in the industry, is a leader in the field of embryo transfer, and is one of the few facilities that maintains its own herd of recipient mares. Royal Vista’s clients are primarily involved in the Quarter Horse racing industry, however, horses of all breeds and disciplines are often brought to Royal Vista for breeding, foaling, and embryo transfer.

At Royal Vista Equine I have been able to observe and participate in all aspects of the business from stallion collection, foal care, embryo transfer, and breeding. While there are certain aspects that I have not been able to perform personally, I have been able to observe and assist in all these activities and learn from the onsite veterinarians and farm manager. I have also been able to learn more about the racing industry and the marketing aspects of the business, and the industry in general. In the course of my internship, I have learned how to read an ultrasound, detect ovulation and early pregnancy, handle and care for new foals, collect and evaluate semen, and I have become very adept at administering vaccines and treatments to mares. The experience at Royal Vista has been very educational and has been a great opportunity for me to gain experience and to work in the horse industry.”

Esther Cherrick, from Springfield, Illinois, is also a member of the class of 2010.  Whereas Cordell is hoping to apply his IRM degree to a future of cattle ranching, Esther is eager to become a large animal veterinarian.  Her internship helped her gain hands on experience to build her resume for applying to veterinary schools this year.

“I chose to do my internship at Chatham Veterinary Clinic (CVC) in Chatham, Illinois over winter break. CVC is a mixed animal practice that sees everything from rabbits to cows. While there, I worked in the small animal clinic (dogs and cats mostly) as a tech. My duties included restraining animals, drawing blood, putting in IV catheters, administering meds, running blood work in-house, assisting in surgery and filling prescriptions. I was even able to watch my own dog’s bladder stone removal surgery! It was a great hands-on experience with wonderful veterinarians who really helped me develop and fine-tune my tech skills. I worked mostly with Dr. Constantino and he allowed me to go out and assist him on cow calls. He taught me how to give vaccinations and draw blood. He also told me about some of the nutritional issues affecting cattle in the Midwest. I gained a great deal of experience from my brief time at CVC and will be returning there to work after graduation.”

If you are interested in the IRM Masters of Agriculture program please call 970-491-1610.

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