Joseph Sonderman

Midwest Joseph Sonderman 2020

University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Advisor: Dr. Chris Calkins

Click here to view Joe's resume

Why do you want to be on the AMSA Student Membership Board of Directors and what qualifications make you the best candidate for the position?

My freshman year, I joined the Meats Quiz Bowl Team and that summer I competed at the Reciprocal Meats Conference held at Angelo State University. I was on the “B” team, but I had so much fun and learned so much, that I stayed on the quiz bowl team for the next three years. After all of the quiz bowl practices my first year, I found that my meat science courses for the next two semesters were mostly review. During my junior year, I joined the meats judging team. Again, I learned a lot, enjoyed each competition, and formed relationships with other judgers from other colleges. This year, I was given the opportunity to coach the meats judging team. Initially I was hesitant to accept the position, but I knew that I could not keep the undergraduates at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln from being part of such a great program. The position, since I accepted it, has been a lot of work, but it is increasingly rewarding. AMSA has provided me with countless opportunities to learn, have fun, and make friends. Some of my best memories from my undergraduate years have been at conferences, competitions, and workshops hosted or supported by AMSA. I have received much but have had few opportunities to give back. By becoming a member of the AMSA Student Membership Board of Directors, I will finally be able to give back to an amazing organization that has given me so much and encourage other students to utilize all of the opportunities that AMSA provides.

It makes sense that many of the qualities that I believe make me the best candidate for the position are qualities that I have developed through the opportunities I have been given as a member of AMSA. I believe that each member of the Student Membership Board of Directors should have leadership skills, be able to work in a team, have organizational skills, and be able communicate effectively. I have had many opportunities to lead, both in and outside of AMSA. In AMSA, I have been given the opportunity to be the captain of a Quiz Bowl team and coach the UNL Meats Judging Team. Outside of AMSA, I have held positions in the UNL Animal Science Graduate Student Association, the UNL Meat Science Club, and in my fraternity at UNL. In each situation, I gladly accepted the responsibility of the position, and worked hard to make sure that most, if not all, of my goals were met. Before taking on the extra leadership responsibilities of each of these clubs, teams, and organizations, I was first a member. I work well with others and strive to resolve conflicts before they become an issue. I work well in groups, and I am willing to follow the lead of others. As a member, I support the leaders of the group, but I also challenge them to continuously improve. As an instructor of the meats judging course at UNL, I organize lecture material and generate assignments and practice exercises. As the coach of the Meats Judging Team, I put together practices and plan the team trips to plants and competitions. Lastly, as the Social Chairman of my fraternity, I organized social events and formals with other fraternities and sororities. Through all of my involvement, whether as a member or a leader, nothing would have been effectively or efficiently completed without consistent communication. I understand the importance of communication and would strive to communicate effectively with my fellow directors.

What does your AMSA membership mean to you?

My AMSA membership means a lot to me. Becoming a member of AMSA has opened many doors for me and provided me with countless opportunities to become a better student, researcher, and teacher. Through the Meats Quiz Bowl competitions at RMC and the AMSA sponsored Meats Judging competitions, I have gained a plethora of knowledge about the harvesting, fabricating, and processing of meat and meat animals as well as the industrial and historical significance of the meat industry. Meats Judging has prepared me for a career in the industry by teaching me industry specifications, carcass and cut evaluation, and by teaching me how to give the reasons behind my decisions. Both RMC and Meats Judging have connected me with colleagues from across the nation; helping me form relationships with potential future coworkers, fellow researchers, employees, and bosses. Finally, the industry short courses supported by AMSA, including the Beyond Fresh Meats short course, have taught me industry practices, research procedures in the industrial world, and how to practically apply what I have learned in college classes. For example, at the last Beyond Fresh Meats short course I learned about the relatively new coextrusion process and was able to watch a coextrusion machine produce fresh bratwursts in a collagen casing. They have also connected me with potential employers and provided even more opportunities for me to broaden my network. My AMSA membership means building friendships, learning about meat and the meat industry, and applying what I have learned to make me a better student, researcher, and employee. In other words, my AMSA membership means a lot.


Social Media