2018 Nelson Scholarship Recipients Announced

The Nelson Scholarship is named in honor of Pete Nelson, who served the University of Minnesota as the Supervisor of Andrew Boss Laboratory of Meat Science from 2007 to 2013. In honor of Pete Nelson, the Minnesota Association of Meat Processors offers two scholarships to students currently enrolled as either an undergraduate or graduate student at the University of Minnesota in the Department of Animal Science or the Department of Food Science and Nutrition. Recipients of the scholarship were announced at the 2018 MAMP Annual Convention in St. Cloud. A summary of these talented students’ activities and accomplishments can be found below.

Mariah Huberty will graduate from the University of Minnesota this spring with a B.S. in Animal Science with a poultry production emphasis and minors in Agriculture Food and Business Management and Sustainability in Agriculture and is applying to the graduate program. Starting out as a 4‐H youth hatching chicks for county fair exhibition, she managed 750 birds at once, consisting of breeding, laying and broiler chickens, turkeys and also hogs. She was one of four national finalists with her FFA Poultry Proficiency SAE in 2016. Her five research studies, leadership and community service allowed her to be a State STAR in Agriscience finalist and earn her FFA State degree in 2016 and many grand champion honors in 4‐H. Achieving sustainability within her National Poultry Improvement Plan (NPIP) certified hatchery, Lofty Dreams Poultry was important to Mariah. Her facility utilized recycled and surplus building materials and she breeds for increased meat and egg yield. This lead to speaking at numerous state and local community events and news media outlets on poultry topics, serving in leadership roles as an ambassador and treasurer and creating the educational materials found on her website, Lofty Dreams Poultry.com. As a member of the Gopher Poultry Science Club, she has enjoyed assisting with club activities and the FFA COE poultry judging contest annually. She also continues to serve in 4‐H as an adult volunteer and mentor, giving back to the organization which have provided her with many state and national learning and leadership opportunities over 14 years in the program. As a person with Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of Autism, Mariah has dependably worked four semesters at the University of Minnesota’s Poultry Research Barn and Lab Facility where her role includes sample collection, bird care, processing, recordkeeping and data computation for turkey nutritional feed analysis study and production studies. Recognized as the “Ducks in a Row” award recipient in the 2017 Midwest Poultry Consortium’s (MPC) Summer of Excellence program. She is applying to the University of Minnesota’s Animal Science Graduate Program with a production emphasis focus for the fall of 2018.

Grant Hedblom’s four years as an undergraduate at the University of Minnesota and two years at 3M helped him recognize that his passion lies in understanding microbes and how they affect the global food supply. This fall, he entered his graduate career at the University of Minnesota ready toutilize his insights, passion, and knowledge to make a difference in the study and education of food microbiology. In 2013 Grant completed a summer research internship at the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP), working under world-wide expert in epidemiology, Dr. Michael Osterholm, where he assisted in the publication of articles and updates regarding emerging public health threats and infectious diseases. His first hands-on research experience was in the research laboratories at 3M. Grant was hired as a technical aide in a laboratory dedicated to the development of a chemical formulation for the generation of an anaerobic growth environment for the easy cultivation of anaerobic bacteria. This project received 3M’s Circle of Technical Excellence & Innovation award – signifying it as one of the top 5 research projects across the entire company in 2014. After graduating from the University of Minnesota, Grant was fortunate to continue his work at 3M on the anaerobic atmosphere project, which had been moved to the Food Safety Division of 3M for scale-up and development as a 3M TM PetriFilmTM Lactic Acid Bacteria Count Plates for use in lactic acid bacteria enumeration and detection. In the fall of 2016, he began his PhD studies at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities in the laboratory of Dr. David Baumler where he has been utilizing genome-scale metabolic models to understand the nutrient utilization of Listeria monocytogenes to better understand how this major threat to food safety proliferates and develops in foods. These computational simulations will predict gene and metabolite usage for growth in foods that are notorious for L. monocytogenes contamination, such as soft cheeses, dairy products, and ready-to-eat deli meats. This type of modeling has been performed for other foodborne pathogens such as Salmonella, and Escherichia coli O157:H7, and will be the first of their kind for L. monocytogenes. After obtaining his doctorate, Grant plans to work in the food industry to develop new detection methods for bacteria and other microorganisms in foods.