March 28, 2006

Student takes top prize in research competition

by K.C. Jaehnig

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Leah D. Holmes of Flat Rock, a first-year master's student in the Department of Animal Science, Food and Nutrition at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, took first place for research conducted while she was an undergraduate in a competition sponsored by the Midwestern sections of two animal science professional groups.

She received her $300 prize during the joint annual meeting of the American Dairy Science Association and the American Society of Animal Science March 20-22 in Des Moines, Iowa.

Holmes' research, conducted with SIUC Assistant Professor Amer AbuGhazaleh last spring, focused on the effects of supplementing the diets of grazing dairy cows with fish oil and sunflower oil in an attempt to boost the production of healthful fatty acids in their milk. She found the supplements worked, with no negative side effects.

In all, 18 students from Iowa State University, Kansas State University, Michigan State University, New Mexico State University, North Carolina State University, North Dakota State University, The Ohio State University and the universities of Nebraska and Minnesota presented summaries of undergraduate research projects.

Holmes earned her bachelor's degree in 2005. She is the daughter of Flat Rock residents Ronald D. and Dona L. Holmes (1907 N. 1175th St).

Promoting excellence in undergraduate academics is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint the University is following as it approaches its 150th anniversary in 2019.