Our very own Jesse Shepherd rocked the district science fair this year. He was asked to give a synopsis of his project and what he is working on in science. He shared the following:
Jesse’s project studied the quantity of antibodies in egg yolks compared to the antibody count of sera for Infectious Bronchitis Virus, Newcastle Disease Virus, Avian Encephalomyelitis, and Mycoplasma gallicepticum, all of which are viruses of concern in the commercial poultry industry. Jesse collected over 1,500 data points and was able to create a procedure to accurately test egg yolks for antibodies for the aforementioned viruses, a procedure that could potentially revolutionize antibody testing in poultry throughout the world, making it easier for farmers, veterinarians, and laboratories; it would also prove to be a satisfactory procedure for animal rights and anti-vivisection groups.
To date, Jesse has received over $7,000 in funding from the Western Poultry Scholarship and Research Foundation of the California Poultry Federation and Pacific Egg and Poultry Association, Farm Credit and National FFA and various private donors. Jesse recently received the opportunity to publish a paper for the project through the Western Poultry Disease Conference. He was also able to present his research at the conference, which was made available to poultry veterinarians throughout the United States, Mexico, and Canada. Jesse was the youngest person to ever attend or present at the conference in its 70 years of running. Jesse presented among leading poultry veterinarians from throughout the world. Awards attributed to his project include the Utah FFA Agriscience-Animal Systems 1st place winner. The project will advance to National FFA in October. He also recently placed 1st at the Nebo School District Science Fair. In addition to the 1st place award, Jesse received the Nebo Distinguished Award of Excellence for devoting 100+ hours to STEM research, using an mentor in the field of study (Dr. Mark C. Bland, DVM, MS, Diplomate, American College of Poultry Veterinarians and Dr. David D. Frame, DVM, MS, Diplomate, American College of Poultry Veterinarians) and for qualifying for the International Science and Engineering Fair twice. Jesse is currently awaiting results from the Utah FFA Agriscience Fair (to be announced March 10) and the BYU CUSEF (to be announced March 25). Jesse will be continuing his research this summer and will publish in Poultry Science the leading journal in the poultry and agriculture industries. He hopes to spend the next year in conversation with poultry associations and laboratories throughout North America to implement this procedure into laboratories and approve the procedure for Egg Quality Assurance Plan testing.