2022 Student Scholarship Winner: Cole Liggett

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Published on: December 6, 2022

As I reflect back on my experience at my first AETA convention, I can’t help but be thankful to be a part of an organization that invests so much in the students who are the future of the AETA, and how valued our participation is to this program. I would like to start by saying “thank you” to AETA leadership and members for allowing this opportunity for so many students. Without a doubt, I enjoyed my experience and will encourage others to attend this conference, as I will continue to be in attendance.

As I continue to move through my academic years in preparation to embark on a career in the embryo transfer industry, I knew this meeting would give me the opportunity to expand my knowledge and equip me with the network of professionals needed to excel in this industry. There were two objectives that quickly came to mind prior to attending the conference, and as I started to debrief my experience, it was evident these objectives were met through the learning, networking, and mentorship I received throughout the convention.

While having developed a foundation of knowledge through school, different externships, and being involved in my family’s beef cattle operation, this convention gave me the opportunity to hear from industry leaders on the applications of embryo transfer, new and emerging technology, and the current procedures and techniques used. Listening to speakers talk about the practical application of beef embryos in commercial dairy facilities brought light to how we, as professionals, are continually working to produce a high-quality protein source in an effective and sustainable way. In addition, attending the student session on tips and tricks for successful bovine embryo collection and transfer enhanced my knowledge of the protocols and techniques that are used to be the most successful from collection to the lab and eventually to transfer.

Just as importantly, the opportunity to network with individuals with the same aligning passion for embryo transfer allowed for valuable connections to be made. Whether talking with industry professionals about how they perform different techniques and setting times to visit them for externships to conversations with industry leaders at the breakfast table about how they progressed through their careers and the ups and downs they faced, the insight was greatly appreciated. During the student–mentor lunch, the advice given and stories told about the steps they took upon graduation have allowed me to solidify my plans as I move forward as a professional in this industry. Most notably, the connections I made with the other students, whom I now consider friends and soon-to-be colleagues, as we move through our careers in this industry together were unmatched.

My time at the AETA convention has given me motivation as I make the push through my academic career. Based on my interactions with all involved in the association and the values placed on students and their participation, I only see myself continuing to get more involved as I start my professional career. Thank you again to AETA leadership and membership for making this opportunity possible. My positive experience at this event only solidified my passion for embryo transfer. I look forward to future events and attending AETA meetings as an active future member.

Cole Liggett

The Ohio State University

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