STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Klint McCafferty
BY Casey Whitaker, Senior/AGRICULTURAL COMMUNICATIONS
Klint McCafferty didn’t have poultry science research on his mind when he came to Auburn University’s College of Agriculture as a freshman, but as he prepares for graduation, he knows poultry research is his future career.
Klint came to the Loveliest Village from Lexington, Alabama, a decision he says was a no-brainer.
“I was raised on a farm, so agriculture has always been close to my heart,” Klint says.
He started out as a poultry science/pre-vet student with plans to attend veterinary medicine school, but last January, Klint began an undergraduate research fellowship with Dr. Bill Dozier, sparking his interest in poultry research.
“I was planning on going to vet school, then I started working for Dr. Dozier in his nutrition lab and started getting interested in that side of poultry,” Klint says.
During his research fellowship, Klint tested the growth, performance and gut health of broilers, chickens grown for their meat, with wheat-filled diets in a 42-day production period.
In the southeastern poultry industry, companies often substitute wheat for corn in the summer months in broiler diets because wheat is a less expensive and more abundant grain. However, suddenly switching cereal grains can negatively impact nutrient digestion and disrupt production efficiency.
Research in abruptly switching cereal grains has been limited; Klint’s is some of the first of its kind and could have an effect throughout the industry.
Undergraduate research gives students the opportunity to explore and develop a deeper understanding of a field of study and potential career path, which Klint is grateful for as he makes plans to attend graduate school.
“[The undergraduate research fellowship] has been a great experience because it has really set me up for graduate school. I got a very good representation of what I would be doing,” Klint says. “It’s been a really great honor and great experience.”
Klint credits his opportunity to do undergraduate research with forming relationships with and getting to know his poultry science professors.
“Even though the College of Agriculture has more than a thousand students, the poultry science department is a whole lot smaller, so you get opportunities to work with your professors and get one-on-one experience. This opportunity with Dr. Dozier might have not have been possible if he hadn’t known me as well as he did,” Klint says.