Jillian Hendricks’ Story
Jillian became involved in the AWP in her first year of university when she was looking to gain experience before applying to veterinary school. She did a year of volunteer work where she helped with a literature review on tiestalls on dairy farms and a study on the effect of dairy heifer training on their response to subcutaneous injections. From there, she began a Directed Study (APBI 497) on using infrared thermography to assess eye temperature in dairy heifers, and from there took APBI 398 where she looked at the influence of the social relationship between dairy calves on a social buffering effect in disbudding.
In her fourth year, she wrote an Undergraduate Thesis (APBI 499) on Canadian veterinarians’ perceptions on the care of surplus dairy calves, which has been published in the Journal of Dairy Science. Jillian also mentored in APBI 398 and presented at the Multidisciplinary Undergraduate Research Conference (MURC) using her thesis project. During her third and fourth years, she worked for the AWP as an undergraduate research assistant, where she connected with some fantastic colleagues on a variety of projects, including public attitudes toward cow-calf management systems and public attitudes towards heat stress mitigation strategies on Australian dairy farms.
Jillian graduated with her BSc in Applied Animal Biology (Honours) in June 2022. This fall, she is starting a PhD in Veterinary Sciences at the University of Bristol, where she will be investigating the effect of hunger due to feed restriction on the emotional wellbeing of dairy calves. Jillian’s work with the AWP has been valuable in helping her achieve her career goals. The beginning of her journey began with volunteer work but evolved into paid positions, mentorship opportunities, and publications, all of which gave her a significant advantage in her graduate school applications and helped her get a full scholarship at the University of Bristol for her PhD. Jillian also made many research connections outside of the AWP, including from Australia, Ontario, and PEI.
Jillian’s advice to students looking to get involved in research is to start knocking on doors! “My involvement with the AWP started through an informal interview with Dr. Nina von Keyserlingk for a first-year class assignment, and three years later Nina has been a mentor and supervisor for my research work.” She explains that gaining experience in undergrad can be daunting, but often the best way to get started is to find a researcher whose work aligns with your interests and send them an email or visit their office. Jillian would also tell students to venture out of their comfort zone. “I had no interest in research when I started my degree, but I jumped on the opportunity to do some volunteer research work, and as it turned out, I decided to pursue a PhD instead of vet school and am in love with research.” Jillian states that you never know where your life may take you, so she suggests getting involved to see what piques your interest and you may be surprised by it!
Please note that APBI 398 Research Methods in Applied Biology is a required course for APBI Honours students and is also open to other APBI students. It is open to non-APBI students with the permission of the instructor. Courses like APBI 497 and APBI 499 are open to non-APBI students. Consult the wiki page to learn more about the application process. You will see more about how to reach out to potential supervisors!