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Kelly Vierck and Morgan Denzer Named Student Teacher Cleaver Award Winners

Jul 02, 2020

The American Meat Science Association (AMSA) announces Dr. Kelly Vierck as the Ph.D. Division recipient and Morgan Denzer as the Master’s Division recipient of the 2020 AMSA Student Teacher “Cleaver” Award. A meat cleaver is resilient and designed to break through soft bones and cartilage. Graduate teaching assistants are encouraged to be “cleavers”, by being resilient in teaching abilities, breaking through to students and enhancing their knowledge. The tough metal and thick blade of a cleaver is unique and more durable compared to other knives. Graduate students are expected to be durable through their own obligations, and above all to create a unique learning experience for students. The Student Teacher “Cleaver” Award is sponsored by the AMSA Student Membership. Dr. Kelly Vierck and Morgan Denzer will be honored during the Virtual 66th International Congress of Meat Science and Technology (ICoMST) and the AMSA 73rd Reciprocal Meat Conference (RMC) awards presentation.

VierckHeadshot_2015Kelly Vierck recently completed her Ph.D. in Animal Science at Texas Tech University. Originally from Juneau, Wis., Vierck received her bachelor's degree in Food Science from Oklahoma State University in 2015. While at Oklahoma State, Vierck was an active member of the 2013 Meat Judging team, 2014 Reserve National Champion Livestock Judging team, the 2014 National Champion Meat Animal Evaluation team and the 2015 National Champion Academic Quadrathalon team. Additionally, she was selected as a livestock judging All-American team member. Vierck was also involved in the Meat Science Association, Collegiate Cattlewomen, and other organizations across campus. She worked as an undergraduate research assistant in the meat science lab, which helped foster her passion for meat science research.

Vierck completed her master's degree in Animal Science from Kansas State University in 2017, where she served as a teaching assistant for the Animal Sciences & Industry Department. She was responsible for instructing the Introduction to Livestock and Meat Evaluation laboratory, as well as serving as a teaching assistant for other classes. Her research focused on investigating marbling texture’s impact on beef palatability.

During her time at Texas Tech, Vierck served as the assistant advisor to the Academic Quadrathalon team and as a teaching assistant for four classes in animal and food sciences. Vierck was recognized as the 2019 San Antonio Livestock Exposition Outstanding Meat Science Graduate Student. Currently, her research is focused on postmortem factors influencing beef flavor development and tenderness. Vierck has accepted a position with the University of Arkansas as an Assistant Professor of Meat Science and Muscle Biology.

Morgan Denzer is currently a master’s student at Oklahoma State University. She isMorgan Denzer originally from Pulaski, Wis., and she previously graduated with her bachelor’s degree from Iowa State University in Food Science. She was President of the Food Science Club, a teaching assistant for Introduction to Food Science, and a member of the Meat Science Quiz Bowl Team while there.

During her time at Oklahoma State University, Denzer has served as the Student Representative for the Muscle Foods Division of the Institute of Food Technologists and the coach of the Meat Science Quiz Bowl Team. Her research focused in the effects of acidification and nitrite-embedded packaging on the characteristics of dark-cutting beef. She also mentored several undergraduate students in their research projects with two of those students being selected as Wentz Research Scholars. Additionally, she served as the teaching assistant for three classes, helping with grading and conducting laboratories. Morgan was recently recognized for her achievement in the department with being selected as the Outstanding M.S. Student of the Animal and Food Science Department. She plans to continue her education by pursuing her Ph.D. at Oklahoma State University with Dr. Ranjith Ramanathan in the fall of 2020.

The 66th ICoMST and AMSA 73rd RMC will be held August 3-6, 2020 online in the virtual format. For more information please visit: www.icomst2020.com or contact Deidrea Mabry 1-800-517-AMSA ext. 12.

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