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You are here: Home / News / ANSI Honor Students Journey to Jason Abraham's Mendota Ranch

ANSI Honor Students Journey to Jason Abraham's Mendota Ranch

Dr. Dan Stein provides students with an opportunity to meet animal science industry professionals during a trip to the Texas panhandle.

When students are in grade school, middle school and even high school, field trips are a fairly frequent occurrence. The chance for students to escape the classroom and venture out into the “real world” is relished by both pupils and teachers. Often, the goal of this fun day is to educate students in some form or fashion. Unfortunately, field trips become less frequent during college but are still as anticipated and exciting as most of those from days past.

Dr. Dan Stein’s annual trip to the Texas panhandle is no exception to the highly anticipated rule. For the last five years, Dr. Stein has taken a group of honor students to visit reproductive specialists who are leaders in their field.

“It’s a laid back atmosphere out there,” said Stein. “The kids are pretty relaxed, and they’ll visit and ask questions in that type of setting.”

Dr. Veneklasen, a practicing DVM in Canyon, Tex., is a world-renowned equine reproductive and cloning specialist. Jason Abraham holds the patent on the deer cloning process and has his practice at his home near Canadian, Tex. The two are business partners who own one of only three cloning labs in the U.S. and have collaborated on multiple projects, including cloning deer and horses.

Students who journey to Texas have the opportunity to meet some of the best in the business and learn about other opportunities within the animal science industry. During these visits, students get to interact with both Dr. Veneklasen and Mr. Abraham.

“Dr. Veneklasen took three and a half hours out of his day during spring, his busiest time of year, to speak with our students. You don’t get that often for students,” said Stein. “They are adamant about taking time to talk with students about the science, and to not be afraid of it.”

Dr. Stein takes ANSI Honor Students to Jason Abraham's Mendota Ranch. Mr. Abraham walks students through his facilities and explains the process of cloning and his day-to-day activities. Students also get to see cloned animals and learn why their owners chose to clone them. Additionally, Dr. Veneklasen and Mr. Abraham hope the students learn a thing or two about business. Mr. Abraham encourages the students to be smart about the monetary decisions they make and be willing to invest should the right opportunity come along.

Dr. Stein hopes the students gain an understanding of the vast possibilities and importance of connections within the industry.

“Jason encourages the students to find what they are good at and do it,” Stein said.

During the trip, students get to ask questions and see the things they’ve learned in class implemented in a real-world scenario. More than one student has changed their career focus after attending this learning excursion.

“This year, Dr. Veneklasen showed clones, jumping horses, going to Belgium that were probably a week old,” said Stein. “He had rodeo stock who had three fouls on the ground born within two days of each other for rodeo stock up in Iowa. Most of the mares in the finals of the NFR were out there getting ready to go through and be bred or do embryo transfer. The students were in awe of the caliber of clientele he works with.”

Ty Davis, a December 2016 graduate, said, “Going on this trip solidified my decision to pursue a career in reproduction because of the opportunities that technology continues to give us in the field.”

“The knowledge and experience Mr. Abraham possesses regarding reproduction is both fascinating and intriguing. His ability to clone and raise world class horses and deer gave me the value of curiosity as to what else can be done in the future.”

Ty, along with four others who will graduate this May, have been accepted into Colorado State University’s Master of Science in biomedical sciences with a specialization in assisted reproductive technologies. Of the six students from the Department of Animal Science who have went on to this program, almost all attended the field trip to Texas. Dr. Stein credits the students’ continued interest to the neat lessons they learn both in the classroom and while visiting with Dr. Veneklasen and Mr. Abraham.

“This time of year, Jason’s ultra sounding mares every morning to see what stage of the cycle they are in,” said Stein. “He went through his daily procedure with the mares with the students.

“Every year there is something different. Last year dogs weren’t on the table; this year they had 455. It’s pretty amazing.”

While the nearly eight hours of driving to the Texas panhandle and back does make for a long trip, you would be hard pressed to find someone who did not think it was worth it. It is not every day you get to rub elbows with true innovators and pick their brains about the future of our industry.

 

REPORTER: Carrie Jansen

MEDIA CONTACT:
Rebekah Alford
Communications Specialist
Animal Science Communications
204A Animal Science
Oklahoma State University
Stillwater, OK 74078
Email: cowpokenews@okstate.edu

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