Written by Hannah Lunsford
When Ben Alig graduates from the Prestage Department of Poultry Science, the CALS Outstanding Senior Award winner won’t have to travel far to take his next step – he plans to attend graduate school in the department to study nutritional data modeling with Professor Peter Ferket.
How has CALS shaped you as a person?
CALS has been a very important part of my undergraduate career. When I wasn’t accepted to State my freshman year, CALS invited me to join the STEAM transfer program. Through the college, I secured a job working in a lab in Scott Hall. CALS also supported my studies by awarding me with several scholarships and allowing me to study agriculture systems in Europe.
My CALS degree means that I now have the knowledge to affect agriculture in a positive way.
What are some of the experiences that you’ve had at NC State outside of the classroom?
I was a brother in Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity. Within the fraternity, I was on the livestock show and barbecue sale committees, and I was the vice president in charge of finances. I was also involved in the Poultry Science Club, where I was first the website editor and then the vice president.
Outside of campus, I attended a study abroad trip to Ireland last summer. I was able to learn about agriculture practices outside of the United States and how a European country farms.
How has the Prestage Department of Poultry Science opened doors for you?
The department has always been open to aiding me in my pursuits. All of the professors have been open to discussing anything with me and have always seemed like they want to help me with whatever I need. This department has given me opportunities to learn about so much more than what the classroom teaches me. As a lab assistant, I am always learning more and more about the science and tests behind poultry science. Through the department, I was also able to secure an internship last year. I have always felt that the department has been supportive of my endeavors throughout my college career.
Why do you think you won the CALS Outstanding Senior Award?
I don’t know why I was chosen – however, I believe my academics and my industry experience gave me a competitive edge. I have had strong academic marks throughout my college career. I also had the opportunity last summer to apply what I have learned in my internship, helping a poultry company move away from antibiotic usage in their hatchery. Also, I was able to combine my interest in computers and data analysis to create a real-time model for their breeder farms. My plans for graduate school are to combine the disciplines of poultry science, computer science and data analysis in order to create a better way to build models of the chicken. I suppose that all of that helped my chances of being chosen.
What’s the most helpful piece of advice that you received while you were at NC State?
Take risks and do things outside of what you’re used to. If I had ignored this piece of advice, I would not have joined a fraternity, I would not have studied abroad and I would not have taken the internship I took.
Ben is the recipient of the Donald W. Mabe Scholarship, the W.F. and Mozelle Parker Scholarship, the H. Connor Kennett, Jr. and Aldith B. Kennett Scholarship and the Fred Tarver Poultry Products Scholarship.