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GPSAW Spotlight: Brooke Clemmons

Brooke Clemmons knows that it is the little things that can show you what you are made of. She is in the sixth semester of a PhD program in the Department of Animal Science, focused on the relationships among nutrition, the rumen microbiome, and host genetics in beef cattle. This is not the first graduate degree she has received at UT, having already received an MS in animal science and an MS in agricultural leadership, education and communication. One can easily see that Brooke not only has ambitious goals, but the drive and skill to achieve those goals.

By the end of 2019, Clemmons had eight peer-reviewed publications, and she is first-author on five of those publications. In addition, she has two first-author publications under review. By the time she completes her PhD, she expects to have over 20 peer-reviewed publications in several fields, including animal science, microbiology, reproduction and education. She has presented different research projects at conferences, from local to national to international, across many of these disciplines. And yet, she has maintained a 4.0 GPA, an achievement in and of itself.

This shows how passionate Brooke is about her field, and she believes in sharing that enthusiasm with others. She has contributed seven articles to the Ruminant Microbe of the Month, a UTIA and Department of Animal Science website that highlights these microbes for a layperson audience. She has participated in Facebook Live talks about beef production, as well as Skype-a-Scientist, which matches a variety of people, from Girl and Boy Scouts to grade school students to prisoners, with a scientist in a specific field of interest. She serves as a Science Mentor for the Journal Frontiers for Young Minds, which turns peer-reviewed scientific articles into short articles for readers ages 8 to 13.

Leadership is important to Brooke, believing that “developing leadership skills is one of the greatest ways to impact future generations.” She has held multiple leadership positions, including president, in the Animal Science Graduate Student Association. And she helped lead and train other leaders in the Animal Science Peer Advisor Leadership (PAL) program, which helps freshmen transition to the major and explore career options. It is this belief in the power of leadership that resulted in her choice to pursue her MS in agricultural leadership, education and communication.

Clemmons’ impressive research output and her work in communicating to and helping others shows that she is not one to leave a spare moment unused. While on bed rest during the last weeks of pregnancy, she “contributed to the publication of four scientific, peer-reviewed manuscripts, as well as Extension publications, continued my teaching assistant duties, and served as president of the Animal Science Graduate Student Association.” One might say that Brooke Clemmons is destined for great things, but it might be more accurate to say that she is destined for more great things.