Passion for poultry leads to excellent outcomes for animal science senior

Samantha Shirk
February 23, 2021

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Participation in 4-H and a part-time job in the poultry industry hatched a promising future for Lindsey Bright, leading her to Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences and the Penn State Poultry Education and Research Center.

After graduating from Penn State in May, Bright, of Quakertown, Pennsylvania, will begin her career as a service technician with Dutchland Farms, a wholesale egg-marketing, pullet-growing and flock-service operation in Elizabethtown.

“I am very excited for this next step in my career, and I am thankful for the preparation and experiences that Penn State and the college's poultry center have offered me,” she said.

Before coming to Penn State, Bright got her first taste of the poultry industry through a high school job at Quakertown’s Moyer Chicks, where she learned about hatchery processes, including moving eggs into incubators, sexing and vaccinating chicks, and counting chicks before shipping them across the United States.

Lindsey Bright

Lindsey Bright is looking forward to starting her career in the poultry industry upon graduation in May. 

IMAGE: Lindsey Bright

“This was a cool start to my career, even before college,” she said. “I didn’t grow up on a farm, so this helped my understanding of animal agriculture before taking classes.”

As a senior animal science major with a minor in poultry and avian science, Bright’s classes focus on animal physiology, genetics, nutrition and related topics. Her labs involve hands-on experiences such as dissecting birds, evaluating housing systems and examining disease symptoms to understand treatment.

“I knew Penn State had an exceptional poultry science program, so that was my deciding factor to come here,” said Bright. “The facilities and hands-on opportunities are unmatched, and I love it.”

Bright also lives and works at the Poultry Education and Research Center, or PERC, which is one of several animal facilities operated by the college. Up to four students can live at PERC during the school year, with free housing and financial incentives in exchange for helping with the farm’s responsibilities.

As a live-in, Bright’s daily duties include feeding, egg collection, adding bedding, manure removal and general farm upkeep. She obtained the position in her sophomore year after touring the facility as a member of the Poultry Science Club and meeting with the center’s manager, Scott Kephart.

“Lindsey is energetic and willing to jump in anywhere help is needed and get the job done right the first time,” said Kephart. “She always is willing to cover weekends and to help out with the larger chores on the farm, such as manure removal and cleaning.”

Kephart said the highly regarded research center conducts projects with various professors and veterinarians to improve poultry production, efficiency, nutrition and health for the industry. It also serves as an active farm; consumers can purchase its eggs at the Penn State Meats Lab and Berkey Creamery.

“I knew Penn State had an exceptional poultry science program, so that was my deciding factor to come here. The facilities and hands-on opportunities are unmatched, and I love it.”

— Lindsey Bright, animal science senior, Penn State

Bright’s favorite part of living and working at PERC is learning from the farm workers.

“The farm staff have been here for many years and are so knowledgeable,” said Bright. “They have seen anything and everything, so it’s great to learn from them.”

The PERC experience and an internship with Hy-Line North America, a poultry hatchery based in Elizabethtown, helped prepare her for a career as a service technician in the poultry industry. For two summers, she worked as a flock supervisor and assisted the hatchery manager. The company is known for its prestigious genetic breeds of egg-laying hens.

“Even though PERC is a small-scale operation compared to the typical commercial layer houses in the industry, it still has the same principles,” said Bright. “I love egg layers and the genetic aspect of the industry, and Hy-Line gave me the tools to succeed as a hatchery manager or flock service technician.”

As current vice president of the Poultry Science Club, Bright guides students to discover more opportunities by encouraging them — especially those interested in poultry science — to talk with professors and become more involved in hands-on experiences.

“When networking with industry members, I have found it is an awesome conversation starter when people ask what PERC is,” said Bright. “I can showcase my communication skills and experiences while advancing my network because companies know I am prepared.”

Through her collegiate connections, Bright also contributed to a research study examining the use of pulsed ultraviolet light to decontaminate fertile eggs to improve egg safety. It was led by Josh Cassar, doctoral candidate in animal science, and Paul Patterson, professor of poultry science. Bright received an Undergraduate Research Award from the college and presented at the Poultry Science Association Annual Symposium in 2020.

“I never expected to be involved with research, but this opportunity helped me to get out of my comfort zone, and I enjoyed it,” she said.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated February 23, 2021