ABE Professor, Angela Green, shares her #ACESstory!
Work hard. Pursue your passions. Achieve great things. Follow the lead of Dr. Temple Grandin with respect to animal welfare and autism. The 2017 Inaugural Career Achievement Award from the College of ACES Alumni Association was presented to Dr. Grandin on September 9 at the ACES Connection Event.
I felt humbled to sit at table #1, which included Dr. Grandin, ACES Dean Kim Kidwell, Animal Science Interim Department Head Doug Parrett, and former University President Bob Easter. As the academic toddler at the table, I absolutely relished the opportunity to be amongst such greatness. With Dr. Grandin on one side and Dr. Easter on the other, I couldn’t help but pinch myself.
I was at the grown-up table! But I wondered if I had anything of significance to say, or if I should just smile and nod. Often.
Before the formal program began, I greeted Dr. Grandin and congratulated her on her achievements. After a very brief exchange of pleasantries and a look at my nametag title “Co-Director of Animal Welfare and Environmental Systems Laboratory,” she asked about my work. In the way that only Dr. Grandin can, she immediately dove into the depths of aerial ammonia impacts on poultry. The conversation flowed from there.
Chatting is not a word that adequately describes conversation with Dr. Grandin. Every topic was covered with intensity and focus, absent of any fluff or pleasantries. We talked about the current state of animal welfare science, commiserated over the challenges of funding much needed research, and lamented conflicts of interest becoming more pervasive in research. We connected about my daughter’s autism, and I received insightful perspective. I asked if she still teaches classes, and she said absolutely. She also still supports five graduate students. I asked her to reflect on the climate and challenges in animal welfare over the course of her career.
We talked about the recent eclipse, and Dr. Grandin said she was walking on campus after teaching her class and noticed lots of little crescents on the sidewalk beneath the trees as the leaves acted like a collection of pinhole cameras. She pulled out her phone and shared some photos that she took. She marveled that didn’t know that would happen, but more so that there were so few students experiencing the same level of observation and fascination. They were just walking right over it without even seeing it. She was shocked and perplexed.
That is reflective of her approach and influence in animal housing and handling, motivating animal managers to try to see their surroundings and observe the little details that an animal would notice. Dr. Grandin has pushed the conversation of animal welfare and opened the door for others, like myself, to realize opportunities for our own work. According to Dr. Grandin, she worked hard and that was the most important key to her success. So noted.
In her award acceptance, she reflected briefly on her time here at the university and how the influence of her advisor, Dr. Stan Curtis, extended into her professional career. In her final statement, she reflected on the students not paying attention to their surroundings during the eclipse. Her final statement concluded that, for a strong future, we need to solve the grand challenge of getting younger generations to put their phones down and get them back on the land and paying attention to their surroundings.
Well spoken, Dr. Grandin. And well done on a career with meaning and relevance and no signs of slowing down!