Many students within the Davis College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources have opportunities to assist professors with research while pursuing their undergraduate degrees.
One in particular is Ty Mitchell, is a senior majoring in animal science, with a minor in chemistry, from Albuquerque, New Mexico.
“In FFA…every time we wanted to go learn and get the best experience, we would go across state lines and go to Texas Tech University,” Mitchell said. “It seemed like the best mentors, the best role models, the most success and the best experience was coming out of Texas Tech University.”
Mitchell said his older brother graduated from Texas Tech with a degree in animal science. He knew Texas Tech was a perfect opportunity for him to further his education, while still being close to home.
“I liked chemistry, and I liked science,” Mitchell said. “I changed my concentration to science, and I gained the confidence to add a minor in chemistry. I knew that a laboratory setting was primarily where I wanted to gain experience.”
Mitchell said he received an email from his advisor saying that Amy Petry, Ph.D., was looking for undergraduate researchers to work in the lab.
“I immediately emailed Dr. Petry, and she reached out asking if I could do an interview that day,” Mitchell said.
The Center for Transformative Undergraduate Experiences offers many opportunities for students. TrUE has a mission to ensure every undergraduate student has an opportunity to be a part of high-impact educational practices, while earning a degree, at Texas Tech.
Mitchell said his work with Petry led to his involvement with TrUE. Mitchell’s research involved investigating a means to bolster the immune system of weaned pigs. He was able to collaborate with scientists at the United States Department of Agriculture, and their research model to show immune challenges in the early stages of life in beef cattle. This research proved that beef cattle have the capabilities of bolstering the immune system later in life. They have largely investigated this in beef but never in swine, so Mitchell saw an opportunity.
Mitchell said he started working with Petry in March of 2022, and later started his study in July. From August to February is when Mitchell was in the lab, getting hands-on, real-world experience with Petry. The final portion of his research project is the writing portion. Mitchell said he hopes to get this study published.
“One of the most impactful things I have learned from Dr. Petry is, when we do things, we do them with purpose, and we do it with intention and we do it with focus,” Mitchell said. “If we want to contribute to society, or a job force, that we are truly thinking about the big world problems.”
Mitchell said he is hoping to pursue graduate school either at Michigan State University or the University of Illinois.
“Davis College has a family atmosphere, that is the camaraderie that we see,” Mitchell said. “The people here are willing to support you, to see it through the finish line. Whether that is graduate school or finding a job.”