The 2018 Dave Dickson Memorial Golf Classic


Mark your calendar now!

Need a distraction from bone-chilling temperatures? Start dreaming about warm spring days, lush green grass and the UW-Dairy Science 2018 golf outing, scheduled for Wednesday, May 16 at the award-winning University Ridge Golf Course just west of Madison. University Ridge is the home course of the UW Badgers and host to the PGA Tour’s American Family Insurance Championship in June.

The Dave Dickson Memorial Golf Classic is the department’s primary fundraising event.  All proceeds support the dairy science department’s undergraduate student scholarship program and high-impact learning activities such as student travel, hands-on learning laboratories and undergraduate research.  Last year’s outing raised nearly $30,000 for those programs.

The department is also seeking alumni or stakeholders to serve on the event’s planning committee. Committee members collaborate with department staff to plan and promote the Golf Classic and help raise funds.  If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Cathy Rook at or 608-263-3308.

The Golf Classic uses a scramble format, where each team member plays the ball closest to the hole after each shot.  The event is open to the public. More details on player fees and sponsorship opportunities will follow in February.


For More Information:

Ted Halbach (608) 263-3305 or (608) 219-5289


From the Department Chair’s Desk: 2017 in Review

Kent Weigel, Department Chair and Professor in Breeding and Genetics

A lot has been happening in Dairy Science over the past several months!

As many of you know, Kalyanna (Yanna) Williams stepped into our Dairy Youth Specialist role this summer.  Starting the position just before June Dairy Month was pretty exciting for Yanna, especially when a record-breaking 140 kids arrived for Badger Dairy Camp in her second week on the job.  Yanna is almost a veteran now, having been through all of the key youth events once, except 4-H Dairy Quiz Bowl.

A month or so later, in early July, Dr. Sebastian Arriola Apelo joined our dairy nutrition group as Assistant Professor of Metabolism.  Sebastian is originally from Uruguay, and he did his graduate work with Dr. Mark Hannigan at Virginia Tech.  His main area of interest is protein nutrition, particularly ways to enhance the cow’s ability to use specific amino acids and other nutrients to put more high quality milk into the bulk tank and excrete less nitrogen into the environment.  We are delighted to have Sebastian on board, although we recognize that he’ll have to work pretty hard to match the colorful personality of his predecessor – the famous Dr. Armentano!  Any geneticists reading this note will be happy to learn that Sebastian’s wife, Dr. Gabi Márquez Betz, is a genetics researcher at ABS Global.

Our newest faculty member, Dr. Jennifer Van Os, will arrive in March to begin her role as Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist in Animal Welfare.  Jennifer is a native of Champaign-Urbana, and her winding path to the Dairy Science Department included some study time at Harvard and some work experience in L.A., before she earned a Ph.D. in Animal Behavior at UC Davis and gained post-doctoral experience at the University of British Columbia.  As mentioned earlier, Jennifer and her husband, Neil, will be moving to Madison later this winter.

Drs. Arriola Apelo and Van Os will be joining a growing team of young “hot shots” in dairy research, as evidenced by the fact that Drs. Laura Hernandez and Heather White swept the outstanding early career scientist awards at this summer’s American Dairy Science Association Annual Meeting, winning the Foundation Scholar and Cargill Animal Nutrition Awards, respectively.

On a less happy note, Dr. Pamela Ruegg will be departing in early January to become Chair of Animal Sciences at her alma mater, Michigan State University.  Pam’s research and extension work has had a tremendous impact on milk quality and dairy cow health and welfare, not only in Wisconsin, but around the world.  Please wish Pam the best of luck with her new adventure!

As for our undergraduate program, Ted Halbach has delivered another stellar recruiting class, with 25 new freshmen and transfer students entering the Dairy Science major this fall.  On average, these students ranked in the 87th percentile of their respective high school graduating classes, so they are a very talented bunch.  It will be fun to watch them develop over the next four years.

Lastly, we have been working with our dairy industry stakeholders to develop a new mechanism for recruiting exceptionally talented graduate students and carrying out high-impact research for the benefit of dairy farmers in Wisconsin and beyond.  Over the next few months, we’ll be rolling out the Wisconsin Dairy Farming Research Partners program, in which dairy farmers and dairy-related agribusinesses can provide an annual contribution to the UW Foundation to ensure a steady supply of talented young research scientists and technical consultants, while delivering highly impactful and innovative discoveries.  To learn more about how to become a Wisconsin Dairy Farming Research Partner, contact me ( or Paul Fricke ( for details.

Happy Holidays to you and your friends and families!


Undergraduate Student Profile: Megan Lauber


Name: Megan Lauber

Hometown: Union Grove, WI

Farm: Lauber Farm/Hillpine Holsteins

Major: Dairy Science with Certificate in Agricultural Business Management

Why did you decide to attend UW-Madison?

I chose to come to UW-Madison because of the beautiful campus and atmosphere as well as the great agriculture programs, clubs, and research opportunities.

What has been your most memorable college experience?

One of my most memorable college experiences was studying abroad in Mexico for two weeks.  It was interesting to see and learn about the biodiversity of Mexico, their dairy production systems, other agriculture commodities, trade, and how it affects our food system.

What has been your favorite course?

My favorite courses have been lactation physiology, animal physiology, and animal ag and sustainable development.

What are your future career goals?

My career goal is to work as a dairy nutritionist focusing on calf and young heifer programs while continuing to be active on my family’s dairy farm.

Staff Spotlight: Cathy Rook


How long have you been with the department? Tell us a little bit about your daily routine.

I’ve been here for 10 years, and with my various responsibilities dealing with students, faculty and visitors, my day is full of interruptions! I’m the Student Services Coordinator for undergraduate and graduate students, which means students can come if they need assistance with credits or enrollment. Over the years I’ve continue to take on additional responsibilities. The longer I’m here the more I know, and the more people rely on me to provide them with information of all kinds.

You are a co-chair of the annual Dairy Science Dave Dickson Memorial Golf Classic, what’s that like?

It’s great; I think it’s really important as it’s the only fundraiser the department does to raise scholarship money for undergraduate students and various hands on learning experiences for them such as research and travel opportunities. In the past, my duties have included handling registration and keeping track of the teams, but somehow we all end up juggling a lot more when the event comes around!

Tell us about the University staff recognition award you recently received.

I was nominated by Nancy Helminowksi with input from department chair Kent Weigel and some other faculty members. It’s awarded annually to one faculty member across all CALS departments; it was a great honor to be recognized and receive it last May.

Anything else you want people to know?

Well everyone knows most about me, but I’d say just how much I like working for this department.  I like the people, they’re real and down to earth. I always say, “If someone is walking around with manure on their shoes, they can’t be all bad.”

Where can we find you when you’re not here?

At home reading or doing yard work (when it’s warm!).

Thanks for all of your hard work, Cathy! The Department of Dairy Science is lucky to have you.

Undergraduate Student Profile: Connor Willems


Name: Connor Willems

Hometown: Reedsville, Wisconsin

High School: Reedsville High School

Class Size: 50


Major: Dairy Science


Why did you decide to attend UW-Madison?

I decided to attend UW-Madison because of its status as a world-renowned leader in education and research. Additionally, the Dairy Science department at UW has a strong relationship with the dairy industry in Wisconsin, and I knew that this would ensure enriching experiences for me such as playing an integral role at World Dairy Expo or traveling to California and the Northeast to experience dairying in those areas.


What has been your most memorable college experience?

My most memorable college experience would be taking a trip out to the central valley of California with the Badger Dairy Club; it was great to to be able to see a number of different dairy farms and how they manage their operations. I got the chance to network with producers from the California dairy industry and explore dairying outside of Wisconsin.


What has been your favorite course/courses?

My favorite courses thus far have been Dairy Science 233 and 234, Dairy Herd Management. The class has both lecture and lab sections, so I was able to get hands on farm experience while also hearing from many prominent figures from the dairy industry share their experiences and knowledge. I believe the varied aspects provided me with a great foundation to achieve success in the future.


What are your future career goals?

I would like to pursue a career in dairy consulting and nutrition after I graduate in May.  I have completed two internships with Cargill Animal Nutrition and have really enjoyed my experience with them!