Maddy Teno ‘22 Finds Her Fit in Agricultural Science

When Maddy Teno first stepped foot on campus as a first-year student, she wasn’t sure what major would be the right fit for her. Through the Exploratory Studies program, she had the opportunity to take classes in a variety of disciplines, and soon found herself most interested in courses in CALS – especially in the Agricultural Science degree program. Teno didn’t have a background in agriculture before college, but was excited about how the Agricultural Science major would allow her to focus her studies through self-selected specializations. “I was immediately drawn to the major, and how I could take so many classes that truly interested me”, she notes. 

Now, Teno is a senior majoring in Agricultural Science with minors in Animal Science and Horticultural Science, looking ahead toward graduation in May. She says the decision to join the CALS family has made all the difference for her, and opened up opportunities she never would have imagined. During her time as an undergraduate student, she’s been involved with a variety of clubs, served as an ambassador for her major, and most recently, interned with poultry science research and development company TARGAN

“I am beyond grateful for the pathways that NC State has given me”, says Teno. She found her internship with TARGAN through the Animal Science Club, and thought it would be the perfect way to get her feet wet with research. “I wanted to learn more not only about what it is like to work in research”, says Teno, “but also what working in the poultry industry looks like. I have not been very involved in research prior to this internship, so I am very grateful for the opportunity and being able to learn something new everyday.” In her role, Teno assists the company’s biology and engineering teams with sample and buffer preparations, test preparations, test conduct, and overall support, and is also involved in the experimental design process, in vitro and in vivo experiments, and results evaluation. “We use state of the art technology to come up with new and exciting innovations daily”, notes Teno. In all her work, Teno contributes to the company’s efforts to improve vaccination protocol in poultry hatcheries. 

Jackie Bruce and Katherine McKee stand out for Teno as faculty members who have supported her growth and development as a student and budding agriculture professional. They’ve been her professors, but they’ve also been mentors, answering questions and helping Teno explore classes, jobs, internships, and future careers. “Dr. Bruce has always been available to me when I have questions, and has supported me in my endeavors”, says Teno. “Dr. McKee is my academic advisor and has been since my sophomore year, and she is constantly there for me whether it be in my academics or just my life in general.”

Teno isn’t sure what life after graduation will hold for her, but she’s focused on building a meaningful career that will make her happy. She’s interested in leadership roles, like team leader, or department head. And one more thing: “I hope to have a job that keeps me on my toes, and doesn’t keep me behind a desk all day”. No matter where she ends up, Teno knows she’ll have the love and support of her family behind her. “My family is who inspires me the most in life. My Mom and Dad have shown me true strength and perseverance in tough times, and have always put me and my siblings’ happiness first. I think that my parents have taught me what it really means to be an adult, and what it takes to be true to myself, and I cannot thank them enough for everything they have given me.”