Perspectives Online

CALS students take top awards at International Poultry Expo

CALS poultry science student Jenna Bunton (right) receives the 2009 Student of the Year Scholarship award from Jim Perdue.

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences poultry science students are making a habit of claiming the top student awards given each year at the International Poultry Expo.

As was the case in 2008, in 2009 a CALS student won the Frank Perdue Student of the Year Scholarship. At the same time, the CALS Poultry Science Club, which placed second in club of the year competition a year ago, broke through and was named the top poultry science club in the nation.

The Poultry Expo, sponsored by U.S. Poultry and Egg Association and held each year in January in Atlanta, is the poultry industry’s major annual meeting.

Jenna Bunton, a senior from Hiddenite with a double major in poultry and animal science, was named student of the year and won the $1,000 scholarship that goes with the award. Bunton is a CALS Food Animal Scholar and plans to attend the N.C. State University College of Veterinary Medicine this fall.

The Food Animal Scholars Program, which is open to students at N.C. State and N.C. A&T State University majoring in animal or poultry science, is designed to encourage students to consider careers in food animal veterinary medicine. Students accepted into the program as undergraduates are guaranteed admission to the N.C. State School of Veterinary Medicine, providing they meet academic requirements.

The N.C. State Poultry Science Club displays its Club of the Year award at the International Poultry Expo.
“I’m really interested in working with, perhaps, the North Carolina Department of Agriculture, working on the government regulations side, or somewhere within the industry, perhaps the poultry industry,” said Bunton.

If Bunton does pursue a career in the poultry industry, she would be following in her mother’s footsteps. Kathy Bunton is a North Carolina Cooperative Extension area poultry agent stationed in Iredell County.

The CALS Poultry Science Club broke the seeming lock a group from Penn State University had on the club of the year award.

Sarah Tilley, a senior from Burlington and president of the CALS club, said Penn State had won the award at least three years in a row, since she has been a member of the club. The CALS club finished second to Penn State those three previous years.

Club of the year selection is based on an application and scrapbook from each club describing club activities. Tilley said the CALS club was involved in activities such as the chick booth at state fair, Ag Awareness Week on the N.C. State campus and Farm Animal Days. The club also provided Easter baskets and Christmas gifts for needy children and conducted a campaign that raised more than $2,000 to buy poultry flocks for people in need in developing countries. She added that the club has seen a membership increase recently, with more than 40 active members compared to 20 to 25 in recent years.

“Penn State tends to win a bunch of things from us, but this year we got a great application in documenting all of our accomplishments,” Tilley said. “We’ve gotten tremendous support from our club members this year.”

– Dave Caldwell