Animal Science Academic Quadrathlon Team Competes in Tennessee

The U of A Academic Quadrathlon team from left to right: Canyon Dewey, Brittany Stettmeier, Zena Hicks, and Tyler Martin. The students chose pink as their team color.
Janeal Yancey

The U of A Academic Quadrathlon team from left to right: Canyon Dewey, Brittany Stettmeier, Zena Hicks, and Tyler Martin. The students chose pink as their team color.

Animal Science undergraduate students Canyon Dewey, Zena Hicks, Tyler Martin, and Brittany Stettmeier and their adviser, Janeal Yancey, traveled to Franklin, Tennessee, early this February to represent the University of Arkansas Department of Animal Science at the Southern Section Academic Quadrathlon Competition at the Southern Section Animal Science meeting.

This team of talented undergrads qualified to represent the U of A after earning first place at the local Academic Quadrathlon in late 2016. Teams of four from the U of A competed against one another to earn the title of Arkansas's best and travel to Tennessee to represent our state. Our winning Academic Quadrathlon team worked for two extra months to learn the skills and knowledge necessary to do well at Southern Section.

Teams of four from surrounding states competed in a lab practicum, written exam, oral presentation, and quiz bowl. The competition is held in conjunction with the yearly American Society of Animal Science Southern Section meeting.

"They had no idea what the trials would be," said Yancey. "There are usually some highlights to hit when you're preparing — things that are usually there — but otherwise you have no idea. It really is to judge their all-around knowledge."

According to Yancey, the competition usually contains beef, small ruminant, nutrition, reproductive physiology, and meat sections. However, this can vary from year to year.

"Some years they include dogs and cats," said Yancey. "Some years there's poultry, there's usually an equine section, and there's usually a swine section, but there wasn't one this year. Sometimes there's even a breed identification section."

The lab practicum was the team's first challenge to tackle. The lab practicum is a handson application of animal science. It tests how well students can handle animals and their needs in real world situations. This year, the students were required to successfully back up a trailer, assist in the simulated birth of a calf, pregnancy check a cow using an ultrasound, trim sheep hooves, and administer medication to a sheep.

Next came the written test. "The written test…tests all-encompassing animal science knowledge," said Yancey. "Everything from beef and dairy to nutrition, but it's all written. That's where they ask more complicated concepts. You have to have good knowledge of the science in the written exam."

The next day was the oral presentation, for which the students were allowed to bring in a limited amount of non-digital research materials. After being presented a list of six current issues in animal science, the students had a limited amount of time to create a presentation about one of the issues on the list. The U of A team chose to create a skit about the Trans Pacific Partnership's effect on the animal agriculture industry. The team earned third place in the oral presentation category for their skit about the Washington County Farmer's Association.

"That was their weakest point in the local competition, so they really improved immensely," said Yancey. "That was the best we've ever had a team do at Southern Section Academic Quadrathlon in the oral presentation section."

Last came quiz bowl, which was a timed competition testing the students' animal sci- ence trivia knowledge. The U of A team lasted until the fourth round. Congratulations to the U of A Animal Science Academic Quadrathlon team for representing Arkansas well!


Lauren Husband,
Animal Science

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