About Me #1

Hello everyone! My name is Hypatia and I prefer not to advertise a pronoun preference. This does not mean I oppose other people doing that, but for me personally, it does not work. I fear, even today, that when a job candidate is identified as a woman, this identification may put the candidate at a stark disadvantage. Also, I think drawing attention to one’s own gender can lead to poorer performance on cognitive tests, and it creates unnecessary distraction from the issue at hand. I am a third year PhD student in Planning, Governance and Globalization in Urban Affairs and Planning with a thematic in Transportation. My area of interest is how to use disruptive technologies in transportation to create social equity in society; and more diverse and inclusive communities. I graduated from the University of Virginia with a Master in Planning.

I have extensive experience in business and real estate; I plan to continue working in the same areas in the future but with a slightly different focus – effects of transportation on affordable housing. I am currently a full-time student and my goal is to graduate as soon as possible and to return to working full time. In addition to my academic activities, I am actively involved with the Hispanic community in Northern Virginia. On of the activities I do is to speak to high school girls about going to college and pursuing degrees in STEM.

I am a dog lover, although I am waiting to get one until I finish school. In my free time I do yoga, travel, go to the movies, and try to enjoy life.

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Introduction – Siobhan

Hi everyone! My name is Siobhan Boothe (she/her/hers), at home, I am a wife and a mother to two little girls, 2 and 4, help my husband farm his family beef farm, own a small business and am an avid crocheter. My husband and I are both alumni of the Animal & Poultry Science department at Tech and worked in the poultry industry before moving back to the New River Valley to be closer to his family. I spent time in sales, which I really enjoyed, of both chicken and light fixtures. A few years after our return, my previous professor, Dr. Paul Siegel, asked me to come back to Virginia Tech and manage the Poultry Research Farms, Chicken Hill, where I worked for him and his research as an undergrad.

It has been almost three years since starting back as a member of the staff here. Along with my passion for chickens and research, I’ve found I also have a passion for teaching. Teaching students, whether it be one on one at the farm or lecturing in classes, has quickly turned into my favorite part of my job. Getting my master’s degree will help me become a contributing member of our department to develop and teach classes helping students graduate and go out into the Agricultural Community.

At home, we have a family farm where we help run a cow-calf operation with my husband’s family. We grow a big garden each year and I have taken up natural yarn dyeing with some of the flowers and plants that I grow. Since teaching myself how to crochet about 8 years ago, I dye the yarn to sell at local shops and crochet custom projects for these shops.

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A little about me…

HEY, HEY! Welcome to my page!


Hey! I’m Bailey, but you can call me “she”, “her”, “hey you”, “that girl”.  I’ll answer to any of them.

I’m currently a second year PhD student at Virgina Polytechnic and State University in the department of Animal Science studying Developmental Biology and Genomics. Specifically, my work focuses on the health and development of the oocyte- aka- the mammalian female egg. Super exciting stuff! 

I’m a Kansas girl, born and raised, but a gypsy at heart. Since moving away from home I have heard every Wizard of Oz  “Dorothy’s not in Kansas anymore” joke in the book. While a part of my heart will always remain on the Kansas plains, a huge part of who I am has been shaped by the different places I’ve traveled to and been able to call “home”. 

As a kid I was enchanted by all types of animals- the way they move, communicate, their feelings and personalities, and more. I had no idea, however, that this love and fascination would evolve into a passion and devotion for scientific discovery. 


I began my academic journey in my hometown of Wichita at Wichita State University where I earned a BGS in Chemistry. After graduating I moved to Alabama and earned a second bachelors at Auburn University in Animal Science. Immediately following, I began a Masters program at Auburn. Within a few months, though, I was given the opportunity to transfer to Virginia Tech to pursue a PhD. So here I am! 

These days I spend the majority of my time looking at the intricacies of mammalian life through the lens of a microscope. Through my work, I’m trying to gain a better understanding of what makes the oocyte (female egg) capable or incapable of developing into a living, breathing being. By being in Animal Sciences my work has the potential to aid in the health and longevity of multiple species of mammals. The potential this work has to be extrapolated across multiple areas of biology and be conserved across species keeps me driven even on my hardest weeks when I’m tired and just want to watch Netflix. I hope all of this hard work prepares me well for a successful career in an industry R&D position contributing towards advancements in genomics-based research.

Usually when I’m not in the lab I can be found hanging out with my cat, Kevin Butters.  In addition to keeping me constantly entertained with her paw-some fascination with long strings and catnip-filled toys, she loves giving me purrfect cuddles and begging for meowthfuls of food. 

I also have the most wonderful boyfriend and sweetest dog in the world who I had to leave in Alabama when I made the decision to pursue my PhD. Kevin and I are anxiously awaiting the day when they get to make the move to Virginia and we can be a complete family once again. 


When they come to visit we love hiking portions of the Appalachian trail together. Maybe it’s just the Taurus in me, but being “one with nature” is when I’m happiest. And the company isn’t so bad either. 

I’ve recently started training for my first half-marathon, not only to check one of my life-long goals off of my bucket list; but also to get my health back in check… One important life lesson I’ve learned in the last two years:  The “freshman fifteen” is a joke, but the “dissertation twenty” is an epidemic that must be cured. So stay tuned…

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Introductory Blog

Hi everyone! My name is Hannah Haines and my pronouns are she/her/hers. I am a second semester masters student in the Animal and Poultry Sciences Department studying reproductive physiology. My research focuses on comparative genome editing in cattle and swine using CRISPR/Cas9. Also, one of my lab-mates, Kayla, is also in this class! I graduated from Virginia Tech in May 2019 with a B.S. in Animal and Poultry Sciences and wound up deciding to pursue a M.S. with the same department; however, I am working under a different professor than I did during my undergraduate research days.

I am not quite sure what I want to do yet as a career and I am hoping the rest of my graduate school experience will help me to finally decide. I am interested in pursuing a career involved with animal research on the industry side, but I have not yet decided if I want to pursue a PhD yet after I finish up my masters. My passion for animals started at a young age and it has definitely shaped my career path and I sincerely hope I get to work with animals throughout the rest of my career.

Something interesting about me is that I love to travel and bike. Depending on how much time I have throughout the week and on the weekends, I enjoy going on bike rides of varying lengths. The longest ride I have done up to this point is 40 miles (which is kind of short but I still like to think of it as a long way). However, biking is often a frustrating form of transportation because drivers often fail to realize how seriously they can maim bikers. I was once hit (albeit not badly) by a car on campus and the driver barely spent the time to stop and make sure I was alright before driving away. The picture below is from a trip my sister, mom, and I took to Romania last summer where we biked between different landmarks and cities in the Transylvania region. It was an amazing trip, but also very exhausting. Also, we got lucky because we have some Romanian family friends that were able to show us around for the first few days of our trip, enabling us to explore the country more deeply than if we had been alone. I have already gotten to travel a decent amount and hope to continue doing it for the rest of my life.


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Welcome to Georgia!

Issa Me
Berk, Aries, & Zebu
Berk & Aries
Berk & Zebu

Hello, my name is Candice Blue and I am a Ph.D. student in the APSC department! My focus/interest is Poultry Immunology/Health and Nutrition. I am a double HBCU (historically black college/university) Graduate. I got my Bachelor’s from Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, AL in Animal, Poultry, and Veterinary Sciences and my Master’s from North Carolina A&T State University, Greensboro, NC in Integrated Animal Health Systems. The reason why I am pursuing this field is “you are what you eat”! I want to continue to provide for the meat-eaters of the world! I want the meat we eat to be healthy so that humans can continue to be healthy. Why chickens you may ask?🐔 Well, I used to be a goat girl but there is no market in the USA for goats. SO, when I was doing my Master’s the only person that did immunology work was a poultry person. Plus chicken is the only animal that has no religion biased! Cuz everyone LOVES chicken! (If you’re vegetarian you still eat eggs, if you are vegan,🤷‍♀️ sorry I can’t help you!) When I grow up, I want to work in either the industry or maybe the government for 10years then take all of what I have learned and teach students. I feel there is a gap in what the students understand about the industry/government and I would like to assist in bridging it!!

The End

ANYWAY!! Here is the more entertaining portion about me!!

  • I am a military brat originally from a small town in GA and was adopted by my grandparents (I traveled a lot growing up)
  • I own 2.5 dogs that are all named after livestock. Berkshire (8)- Breed of pig, Zebu (1)- Breed of Cattle, Aries (3)- Species name of sheep (she is in Indiana with her mom)
  • I played volleyball from middle school until college when I decided to mainly focus on my studies
  • I’m goofy/big kid and try not to take life seriously and I am very nonchalant/laid back.
  • I can recite just about any Disney/DreamWorks/Pixar movie from start to finish (if I liked the movie)
  • I am into astrology (#aquarius)
  • Food is LIFE! (figuratively and literally)
  • My favorite color is my last name!
  • I want a truck REALLY REALLY BAD. But my grandma says I won’t be able to see over the dashboard (it’s a joke cuz I am the shortest one in my family)
  • When I become successful I’m moving to Texas, buying land and putting a lot of animals on it

Pronouns- She/Her/Hers


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Hello Everyone! My name is Tosin Ogunmayowa and my pronouns are he/him/his. I received my bachelor’s degree in Soil Science from the University of Benin and my master’s degree in Agriculture from Tennessee State University. Presently, I am pursuing my graduate education in Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences at Virginia Tech and my research focuses on understanding the multi-scale drivers of water quality variability in streams and rivers across the United States. Also, I work as a graduate assistant for the Graduate School Office of Recruitment, Diversity, and Inclusion where I assist with graduate student recruitment, and promote diversity and inclusion initiatives that enhance graduate student life.

Before coming to Virginia Tech, I worked as a lecturer in the University of Benin where I taught introductory soil science undergraduate classes. At Virginia Tech, I have also taught and coordinated undergraduate soils laboratory. During summer semesters, I serve as student leader for the Black College Institute at Virginia Tech where I mentor minority high school students and provide them with guidance and support about college application process. It is always delightful to know that many of these students are now enrolled in Virginia Tech.

After my graduate studies, my immediate goal is to work as a researcher in the industry and afterwards pursue a career in academia. This will better equip me to prepare students and aspiring researchers for career in the industry and academia, and to mentor, support and provide them with conducive environment needed to thrive in their education.

I enjoy playing soccer when the weather is warm and also love travelling. I have traveled to four continents of the world and I speak four languages. I am interested in visiting all the continents and learning Spanish or French.




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#1 Mission Statements Blog

To be honest, I personally have never heard of the concept of the mission statement of the universities before taking this course, all the criteria I use to judge a university’s value and the target is from its motto, which, of course, is less informative than the mission statement.

As the mission statement of one university can be very useful, I choose to list the two mission statement from the two universities I am/was in to make a comparison and give some comments based on my own experience. The first one is Xi’an Jiaotong University located in Xi’an China where I had my undergrad research:

“Xi’an Jiaotong University is committed to cultivating outstanding students who advocate pursuing science, make practical innovations, work hard and steadily, and have noble-minded virtues and a strong sense of social responsibility, and to preserving, generating, and disseminating knowledge so as to contribute to science and technology advances, social development, and human civilization in China and the world.”

The first sentence of the statement (occupied more than half of the length) has stressed on the character of the student, which clearly states the requirement for being a qualified student. The second half of the statement stresses on responsibilities of the university to the country and the world. As one of the top engineering universities in China, with strong support from the government, the university has very good resources and can recruit very good students across the country. After that, the university tends to build a very competitive environment that encourages students to compete for the resources, of course, the students can build their character through this process. However, sometimes it makes the students feel very stressful and much pressured, for the teachers as well. The second part of the statement shows that the university really cares about its social responsibilities and it is also doing very good work on that by sending out more than 4000 engineers with a solid foundation to the society every year.

Now we can take a look at the mission statement of Virginia Tech:

“Inspired by our land-grant identity and guided by our motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech is an inclusive community of knowledge, discovery, and creativity dedicated to improving the quality of life and the human condition within the Commonwealth of Virginia and throughout the world.”

As a land-grant university. Virginia Tech definitely has a more inclusive and open spirit and it can be felt that the environment is less competitive and more encouraging, being a faculty probably would be more flexible and more creative. It also stresses on the social responsibilities of the university by quoting the university motto and by mentioning improve the quality of life and the human condition in the statement. In addition, as a public university funded by the state of Virginia, the university put the Commonwealth of Virginia ahead of the world, which is also reasonable.

The mission statement of one university can be very informative and here I listed the two I have experienced to share with you.

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About The Anakok Family

Hello all! I am enjoying this semester so far and our class is very friendly  and interactive that I like the most about it. As we would like to introduce ourselves for this blog post, let’s start…

I was born in Ordu, Turkey.  Growing up by the beach was blessing. I would like to live close to beach after I finish my PhD at Virginia Tech.

My parents are retired from government jobs.  My father was a geography teacher and my mother  have only one sister. She is a mother of my lovely nephew, Atlas. She just finished her residency in Turkey and working as a Public Health specialist doctor for Turkish government. She has been my role model since we were growing up. I always tell that if she was not a smart girl I would not be able to succeed in school. She was the best example for me to pursue my higher education. I have a nephew  who is just 5 and my savings usually go to his toys and fun 🙂

I studied Mehatronics Engineering at Kocaeli University in Turkey. After I graduated, I worked in as an R&D engineer and small companies in Turkey was not my thing. I decided to study further. I applied to scholarship program sponsored by Turkish government. I earned to be sponsored for my Master’s and doctorate degrees. I finished my Ms in Mechanical Engineering at Virginia Tech and I decided to continue my PhD with my adviser Dr.Pablo Tarazaga. I am interested in Vibrations and Fluid Structure Interactions.

I love to invite my friends over and cook for them. If you like eating or learning different recipes, join me during weekends!




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Introduction Blog for GRAD 5214

Hello everyone,

My name is Xiaofan Li and my preferred pronouns are he/him/his, this is the introduction blog for the course I take this semester, Diversity and Inclusion for a Global Society. I received my bachelor’s degree from Xi’an Jiaotong University in mechanical engineering and I am currently a Ph.D. candidate at the Department of Mechanical Engineering and this is my fifth year at Virginia Tech. I work at the Center for Energy Harvesting Materials and Systems (CHEMS) and my research topic focuses on ocean wave energy harvesting and here I attach a very short video to give a direct illustration of the works that I do.

The reason for me to choose this topic is that the ocean contains a very impressive amount of energy that can be absorbed to benefit human beings, yet the technology nowadays is not mature enough for us to use it. After 5 years’ work on this project, I achieved some good results but I realized that the capability of myself is very limited. So I hope to become a faculty in the future and start a group to continue work on this in the future.

In my spare time, I usually play video games with my friends on the internet. Besides that, I used to do hiking a lot before the doctor told me my health condition is not suitable for exercise more harsh than walking.

I grow up in the city of Shijiazhuang, which is very close to Beijing, and as I stayed in Xi’an for four years in college, that makes me very familiar with the two most ancient cities in China. So if you plan to travel to these cities in the future (Not now of course due to the virus) to experience the culture. I am the perfect person and you can feel free to ask for information and suggestions. Thanks for reading my introduction blog and I hope we can have a wonderful course experience together!

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Introduction Post

Hi all! My name is Savannah Speckhart, pronouns are she/her/hers. I am a second semester, graduate research assistant in the department of Animal & Poultry Sciences pursuing a PhD with mentorship from Dr. Alan Ealy. I study and research cattle reproductive physiology which incorporates molecular biology, genomics, and microbiology to a certain extent. If you ever want to know more specifics about my research projects, I would be glad to talk to you more in depth!

Often, I am asked why did you pick this specific field? I grew up in rural, central Illinois on a small cow/calf farm. I was active in making breeding decisions and we employed reproductive technologies such as artificial insemination in our herd. This influenced my decision to stay in agriculture and major in Animal Science to gain a bachelor’s degree at Kansas State University (Go Cats!). As soon as I took my first reproduction course, I knew I was meant to be in the field of reproductive physiology. Furthermore, I find working in the field of reproduction to be quite important on a global scale. As I’m sure you have all heard, the world population is expected to exceed 10 million by the year 2050. Whatsmore, if we stay at current food production rates, we will not have enough to feed the world. So this comes back to my research topic, reproduction. One main goal in cattle reproduction is to make it more efficient, and therefore, increase it. That way we can help do our part in feeding the growing world!

After Kansas State, I earned a Master’s degree in Animal Science from the University of Tennessee. My plans after concluding a PhD degree would either be to accept a PostDoc position or immediately start applying to assistant professor positions. I have found out that I am extremely fond of teaching, research, and engaging the next future of animal scientists so a career in academia is most fitting. This extends into my student affairs aspirations; I want to provide an environment and space for students to truly feel welcomed. I will ensure an open-door policy and will be vocal with students on the front end that I want them to have the best time in my classroom while learning and gaining an incredible education.

When I’m not in the lab or teaching, you can find me either at the gym or hanging with my friends and/or cat, Felix! I’m lucky that I share an office with 11 other students who I genuinely enjoy talking to and spending time with everyday; so lucky in fact, that we often do things together. I even have a desk next to my new best friend that I met here, Bailey (she is also in our class haha). Bailey, I, and two more of my office mates have embarked on training for the Hokie half marathon that will be at the end of September. We have came a long way since the first week of training. Bailey and I were barely able to jog a lap without stopping, but just last week we were able to do our longest distance yet without taking one break! Work and determination will get you far in several aspects of life….

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