NMC Scholars program supports global education

Joseph Hogan, Ohio State University emeritus professor, spearheaded the launch of NMC’s Scholars program. This program provides at least four (with at least two students studying outside of Canada and the United States) travel scholarships for graduate students to attend the NMC Annual Meeting. These students’ research focus on controlling mastitis, promoting udder health and/or improving milk quality. The program’s goal is to support the development of future udder health, milking management and
milk quality specialists.

To be considered for the NMC Scholars program, graduate students submit an application form, interest statement, recommendation letter and additional information, such as schools attended and list of awards, honors and scholarships. Applicants’ interest statements discuss their interest in controlling mastitis and improving milk quality, career goals, why attending the NMC Annual Meeting is important to them, and research projects.

Each year, NMC starts accepting applications June 1, with the submission deadline being July 31. Judges evaluate applications in August and NMC announces the next class of Scholars by August 31. Successful applicants are required to submit a poster for NMC’s Technology Transfer Session, which is held in conjunction with the NMC Annual Meeting.

2021 Scholars study in Canada, Italy and Belgium

Let’s meet the 2021 NMC Scholars – Ellen de Jong, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada; Hannah Woodhouse, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada; Valentina Monistero, University of Milan, Milan, Italy; and Bruno Silva, Ghent University, Merelbeke, Belgium.

De Jong earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Wageningen University (the Netherlands). Her excellent thesis work on dairy cattle hoof lesions led her to an oral presentation at the Western Canadian Dairy Seminar, where she won second place. These results helped her launch her doctorate degree program at the University of Calgary where she received a $20,000 milk quality scholarship. De Jong’s current research is looking at mastitis control and mastitis treatments, with an aim to quantify consequences of selective mastitis treatment protocols on various farm parameters, as well as identify barriers to prudent use of mastitis treatments. Currently, she serves as president of the university’s Veterinary Medicine Graduate Student Association.

An elite endurance runner, Woodhouse grew up on a familyoperated Ontario dairy farm and takes pride in producing quality milk. Two years ago, she embarked on a research project and investigated the on-farm factors associated with elevated free fatty acids (FFAs) in milk. Through a careful review of published literature, Woodhouse assembled an extensive list of factors that could be associated with elevated FFAs and developed an on-farm data collection protocol to collect data from local dairy farms. Last summer, she expanded the data collection for a pilot project. Currently, she is pursuing a master’s degree from the Ontario Veterinary College’s Population Medicine Department.

Monistero received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Milan, and started pursuing a doctorate degree in 2018 at the University of Milan in veterinary and animal sciences. Her research focuses on expression of antibiotic resistance genes in Staphylococcus aureus. Monistero collaborated with researchers worldwide to investigate the strong association of bovine staphylococcal genotypes with their antimicrobial and virulence patterns. She used molecular analysis to assess the impact of diverse Staphylococcus aureus genotypic clusters on milk quality and cow health. Furthermore, Monistero was the primary contributor to a study that looked at the dynamics of herd-level Streptococcus uberis infections.

A native of Brazil, Silva earned his bachelor’s degree in veterinary medicine from the University of North Paraná, Brazil, along with being named the Outstanding Graduating Student. As part of his undergraduate studies, he researched in vitro antimicrobial
activity of Punica granatum L. extracts over Staphylococcus aureus isolated from bovine milk. He received a master’s degree in clinical veterinary science from the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil. His current research at the M-teamUGent of Ghent University,
Belgium focuses on the interaction between bovine-related non-aureus staphylococci and Staphylococcus aureus and the in vitro effects on bacterial growth, biofilm production and immune response of bovine mammary epithelial cells.

As a global organization for mastitis control and milk quality, NMC strives to build its reach throughout the world. The NMC Scholars program helps support that objective. Over the program’s 14-year history, Scholars have represented 32 different universities – 17 in the United States and Canada, and 15 outside the United States and Canada. To learn more about the NMC Scholars program, go to: https://www.nmconline.org/nmc-scholars-program.

Text and illustrations: JoDee Sattler