Student wins national poultry scholarship for second year

The National Poultry Food and Distributors Association recently announced that Hannah Atkins, a senior Penn State animal science major from Lewistown, has once again been selected to receive one of its four national scholarships.

"I really didn't expect to receive the scholarship this year, and I originally wasn't even planning on applying," said Atkins, who is also earning a minor in poultry and avian science, "but I'm very excited about representing the Poultry Science Department again."

Scoring perfect 10s in every category (an uncommon feat for recipients), Atkins has earned the association's Albin S. Johnson Memorial Scholarship. With plans to become an avian veterinarian, she has raised and shown poultry through 4-H and worked in Mifflin County as a volunteer poultry technician. Atkins has worked in the Penn State Animal Diagnostic Laboratory as a poultry research assistant collecting and extracting DNA from layer fecal samples to test for a bacteria that causes stained eggs. She also worked in the avian serology lab, where she helped to perform surveillance tests for important poultry diseases, such as avian influenza and pullorum.

After serving as treasurer and Web master for the Penn State Poultry Science Club from 2007 to 2008, Atkins was elected president of the club for 2008-09. She served as the Keystone State's 2007 Poultry Ambassador, acting as an official spokesperson for Pennsylvania's poultry industry.

Atkins was inducted into Penn State's Coaly Society in 2007. A marathon runner and talented painter, she is a licensed judge for the National Pygmy Goat Association and raises exhibition poultry and pygmy goats. Currently, Atkins is completing a summer internship at Texas A&M University with Sanjay Reddy, associate professor of virology and disease, during which she is developing a new Marek's disease vaccine as well as updating the university's poultry diseases course.

Since its inception in 1979, the National Poultry Food and Distributors Association has awarded more than $150,000 in scholarships to full-time students pursuing an agriculture, poultry or food-science-related degree. Aspiring to foster "people resources" and to assist students in becoming effective leaders for the poultry and food industry, the association awards each student from $1,500 to $2,000 per scholarship.

All land-grant colleges and universities and other qualified schools are alerted about the scholarships each winter for the following academic year. Eligible students submit an application, an essay discussing their goals and aspirations, and letters of recommendation.

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Last Updated July 20, 2009