Ag Journeys

“I always saw myself taking care of dogs or cats—you know, the classic veterinarian. Until now.”

Luke Trimble

Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA

Major: Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences (VBSC)

Minors: Poultry and Avian Sciences, Biology

Good at: Teaching, having high school soccer hair, conducting egg quality tests, making guacamole, using chopsticks, staying focused  

“When the ocean of kids showed up in the fall, I already knew the ropes and hit the ground running.”

“I did LEAP (Learning Edge Academic Program) the summer leading into freshman year. It was a great way to jumpstart my college career. I really recommend it for everybody. For a couple reasons. First, let’s be honest, Penn State is huge. This shrunk it down to a size that I could comprehend. It was just 24 of us bioscience kids in my group. I knocked out six credits and got my Penn State experience off on the right foot.”

“It’s all about chickens.”

The vastness of Penn State Ag Sciences allows you to discover paths you never even would have known existed.

“I’m not a farm kid, but I’ve always wanted to be a vet. Probably got it from my mom. She’s an animal lover. I volunteered at an animal shelter, helped on a bulldog C-section. So, I always saw myself taking care of dogs or cats—you know, the classic veterinarian.”

Until now.

“I spent time doing poultry nutrition research with Dr. Patterson and disease control research with Dr. Lu and my whole veterinary path got turned on its head. Now, I see myself working as a veterinarian in a commercial production agriculture setting. For me, it’s all about chickens.”

“Pittsburgh to the bone.”

“Pens. Pirates. Steelers. French fries on salad. I love the black and yellow. Anything and everything Pittsburgh—except Pitt!”

Study Abroad: China was “mind blowing.”

“I don’t know what was more impressive: how different things were or how much they’re the same. In the end, science is science. The scientific method cuts across cultures and languages. Of course, there was so much new and different to take in. But lab procedures and techniques made me feel right at home.”

“Our relationship with animals, no matter their purpose, is so important.”

“Maybe I screwed up coming here.”

“Sophomore year, I started to feel like I’d made the wrong choice. On Saturday, all the non-science kids are out partying and I’m in the library studying.”

“Then it hit me—you do the work, you’ll be rewarded. It will come. I know how to study. I’m leading in my clubs. I’m TA-ing classes. I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and I’m writing a future I want. Nope, not a mistake. Smartest choice I ever made.”

“It stinks.”

Turning a loss into a revenue source for poultry farmers.

“Diseases like avian influenza are a constant threat to the poultry industry. In the past, farmers not only took a loss when faced with sick birds, but they had the cost of disposal. We’re researching the feasibility of fermenting the carcasses and transforming them into disease-free, high-quality ag products like fertilizer. I can tell you this: it stinks. But, it could be huge for the industry.”

“They know me. They push me. They treat me like family.”

“I first met Dr. Nüket Acar when I came to Penn State for a pre-vet camp during high school. The next year when I showed up as a Penn State student, she greeted me like a long-lost friend. That set the tone for my whole Penn State experience.  She took me under her wing as a student and as a person. She pushed me to get involved with research to broaden my experience and make me a better vet school candidate. I’ll walk into her office and we might talk about some challenges in the lab, or the classroom or, well, whatever really. On paper, she’s my academic advisor. For all of us, she’s the leader of our pre-vet family.”

“It’s all paying off.”

“Going to Atlanta as a rep of Penn State let me know that my hard work had been worth it. I was one of only a handful of undergrads to present at the International Production and Processing Expo. Just talking to other poultry professionals and scientists, it became clear real fast that Penn State has an earned reputation for excellence.”