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Developing the next generation of leaders for the dairy industry is an important objective for the American Dairy Science Association® (ADSA). ADSA sponsors programs for challenging and developing youth for leadership responsibilities. To accomplish this objective, ADSA leans on its student divisions including the Graduate Student Division (GSD) and Student Affiliate Division (SAD). Both focus on career development, professional growth and leadership development for their members.

In addition to organizational meetings and research presentations, several student activities were included in the recent ADSA Virtual Annual Meeting that encouraged networking and professional development for students.

Bethany Dado-Senn, 2019-2020 President of the GSD, and Jack Myers, 2019-2020 President of the SAD, provided some thoughts on these leadership development activities and networking opportunities that were available through ADSA.

Bethany Dado-Senn shared:

“The Graduate Student Division advisory council was very pleased with student participation in all aspects of the meeting, particularly in research dissemination through virtual abstracts as well as engagement in our career development opportunities. Over 140 students interacted with professional members through two Mix and Mingle sessions and a Career Insights Panel, where we gained valuable insights on areas such as career preparedness, professional and personal commitments, time and team management, and job seeking during a pandemic. Our attendees enjoyed interacting and learning from these professional members, while student-to-student conversations were also facilitated via the chat feature.

The GSD would like to acknowledge the continuous support of ADSA professional members in graduate student endeavors. It was apparent in both the planning and execution of this virtual meeting that student research and professional development were key priorities for ADSA leadership. We also thank professional members who contributed to our GSD events for their time and advice. We hope we can continue to foster these virtual relationships and eventually continue our in-person networking when possible.”

Jack Myers shared:

“SAD Mentoring Sessions: The move to virtual for the SAD mentoring sessions, still provided the same experience and networking opportunities as if we were on site. Professional ADSA members were still able to meet with SAD members and provide valuable advice ranging from graduate school, analyzing posters, and providing specific science based knowledge.

SAD Career Roundtable: While taking a different form this year, the SAD career roundtable featured four panelists consisting of a nutritionist, dairy consultant, extension agent, and a graduate student. Members were able to ask questions in the zoom chat feature and discussion was moderated by SAD officers. SAD members were provided with valuable advice regarding careers in the dairy industry and how the dairy industry is coping with the covid pandemic.

SAD members were also able to enjoy a social night where three small groups of students interacted with virtual game hosts to play a wide variety of games, all while networking with other students.

Overall, SAD members were still able to enjoy nearly all of their typical programming, with only a few minor virtual hiccups. ADSA was yet again able to provide key programming for SAD members, giving them opportunities to network with fellow members and the science presented at the annual meeting. All aiding SAD members as they pursue graduate school or careers in the industry.”

ADSA looks forward to the next generation of scientists and industry leaders present in the GSD and SAD membership and to supporting students in their careers as Professional Members of ADSA in the future.