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Senior Biology Major Madison Barshick works in the lab conducting microbiology research.
March 13, 2020

Animal science major aims to make strides in veterinary research

Coming into Berry, Madison Barshick was certain of her goals: to major in animal science and become an equine veterinarian. But after she was matched with Assistant Professor of Biology DeLacy Rhodes through the Berry College Science Scholars program, she shifted her career direction to veterinary research.

Dr. Rhodes introduced me into her laboratory and has not stopped encouraging me since,” says Madison, who is double majoring in animal science and biochemistry.

Madison applied for the Synovus Research Grant to further her research projects as a sophomore. She began developing a biological pesticide to control house fly populations in and around livestock areas and received the Richards Research Grant that has funded research throughout her junior and senior years. She went on to present her findings to peers at the Southeastern Society of Parasitologists annual meeting in 2019.

“It was a huge learning experience, not only in learning about my personal abilities, but in getting to experience what other people my age are currently researching,” Madison says.

In addition to her research projects, Madison honed her time-management and leadership skills by serving as a biology lab assistant and as the microbiology student lead under Biology Lab Supervisor Laura Taylor.

With the guidance of mentors on her side, partnered with years of personal and professional development as a student, Madison has plans for the next steps in her journey. After graduation, she will apply to graduate programs and dual-degree (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine/Ph.D.) programs emphasizing the molecular/microbiology aspects of animal science.

“I know that I really want to make an impact in the veterinary research community; therefore, my main research areas of focus would be on disease mechanisms during tendon and ligament injuries or overall well-being research focused on the balance of the microbiota in animal systems,” Madison says.

Whether through academia or industry research, Madison plans to leave her mark, and she is grateful for the experience and life-ready skills gained as a student at Berry.

“Should I be able to find an academic position, I would like to be able to give back to other students like my mentors and teachers at Berry have given to me,” she says. “Berry has given me so many opportunities to be amazing, and I would love to be able to do the same in a career.”

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