Kathryn Proudfoot

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Dairy cattle welfare
Marina von Keyserlingk
San Diego, California
United States
 

Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?

The two greatest loves of my life are research and teaching. As corny as that sounds, I mean it. I knew I wanted to be a scientist from a very young age, and over recent years have grown to enjoy doing the things most graduate students abhor: data collection, statistics, writing...the entire process excites me. And the more I experiment with teaching styles, the more I am inspired to follow in the steps of my mother and father to become an educator.

Why did you decide to study at UBC?

I feel very fortunate, and even a bit spoiled, to be a part of the Animal Welfare Program at UBC. This program is the only one of its kind in North America, and within it lies a world-class Dairy Education and Research Centre. The latter attracts visiting scholars from all corners of the globe.

What do you hope to accomplish with your research?

One of the mandates of the Animal Welfare Program is to ensure that all of the research we do is applicable in real life. Thus, I hope that my research will be used to educate dairy producers, as well as the public, about the impact of stress on disease in cattle, and about practical ways in which we can limit stressors to reduce those diseases. I see animal welfare science as the bridge between such opposing sides as animal rights activists and producers; ultimately I hope the information I gain during my PhD can contribute to a foundation of understanding between these two vastly opposed sides.

What are your future career goals?

Ultimately, I hope to be a teacher of higher education in the field of animal welfare science. As the field is just burgeoning, and public interest in animal welfare is growing, I see many opportunities for me to teach at a University in the US (California, here I come!). Alongside teaching and research, I hope also to contribute to community outreach and education regarding animal welfare.

What has been your most memorable Vancouver experience so far?

The festival of lights! My apartment overlooks English Bay, so every summer I invite close friends to cram onto my balcony to share in the magic :)

What advice do you have for new graduate students?

Don't believe all of the stereotypes. People don't live in igloos, they don't all say 'ay', but so far they have lived up to their reputation of being kind and hospitable! Live near the water, and enjoy the delicious (and local!) seafood, produce and wines from all parts of BC.

Personal Interests / Hobbies

I am a jack of all sports, master of none. Although my favorite is beach volleyball, I have recently taken up cross-country skiing since I have traded California beaches for BC mountains.