Animal science students place first in National Quadrathlon

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Animal science students from Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences took first place in the American Society of Animal Science (ASAS) Academic Quadrathlon, held online in July as part of the ASAS virtual annual meeting and trade show.

The Penn State students included Shoshana Brody, of Baltimore, Maryland; Kelly Forbes, of Pittsburgh; Samantha Gollmer, of Albion; and Madi Heilveil, of Lansdale. The students tied with the University of Missouri for first place but won the tie-breaker quiz bowl in a dominant performance. Other universities that competed by virtue of winning their regional contests included Texas Tech University and California Polytechnic State University.

To qualify, the Penn State students had won the North East Student Affiliate competition hosted by the University of New Hampshire in February.

The national event was a first-ever virtual competition that presented the students with differences from past contests, according to the team's advisor, Ben Williamson, instructor in animal science.

“Our students were resilient not only in preparing for the contest, but embracing the alternative platform,” Williamson said. “It is a great accomplishment, reflecting first on our students but secondly on our program.” It is the second championship for Penn State in the contest in four years.

Terry Etherton, head of the Department of Animal Science, said, “It is a great pleasure to congratulate our students for their outstanding performance in this new format. The quadrathlon is a rigorous academic challenge, and the team’s national success is a wonderful tribute to all those who helped prepare them so successfully for this competition.”

The ASAS Academic Quadrathlon is comprised of four components: Lab Practicum, Written Test, Group Presentation and Quiz Bowl. Information and skill sets encompass the entire scope of animal science, including application, management and basic science in food animals, dairy, meats, equine and companion animals. The contest is a two-day event, and four team members must work together balancing their strengths to complete assigned tasks.

Williamson noted that students had to be creative in how they planned to work together and prepare for the contest. Working from different computers in various geographic locations required a greater intensity of focus to compete successfully in the virtual quadrathlon.

A significant aspect of the contest is the importance the ASAS board and quadrathlon committee places on allowing all competing students to interact with each other and the board of directors. While the current situation limited those experiences, Williamson expressed his gratitude for the commitment to hold the event and to those who made it possible through extra coordination and creativity.


Last Updated August 21, 2020