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!

Undergraduate Student Profile: Elizabeth Sarbacker

Name: Elizabeth Sarbacker

Hometown: Verona, WI

High School: Verona Area High School

Class Size: Around 400

Farm: Fischerdale Holsteins

Major: Dairy Science with Agriculture Business Management Certificate

Why did you decide to attend UW-Madison?  I chose the University of Wisconsin-Madison because of my passion for the dairy cow. I fell in love with the dairy industry by following around my four older brothers and father on the farm. Once they grew up, they all attended UW-Madison majoring in Dairy Science. I heard first-hand about the university and the world renowned Dairy Science program. When it came time for me to go to college, I knew there was only one place and one major for me. I am so thankful to have grown up on a dairy farm so that I could find my passion. I’m grateful for the choice I made because I am absolutely loving every part of UW-Madison and the Dairy Science major.

What has been your most memorable college experience? My most memorable college experience is outside of the classroom. The most memorable experiences are the people I meet in the clubs that I have joined. When I started college, I became a member of the Association of Women in Agriculture, Badger Dairy Club, Collegiate Farm Bureau, Collegiate Judging Team, and National Agri-Marketing Association. These clubs allowed me to meet and grow strong relationships with peers that led to memories and experiences that will last a lifetime.

What has been your favorite course? I don’t have a favorite class, but I enjoy the classes that are very hands-on and applicable to real life situations. For example, I like to learn in the classroom then have a lab where I can apply what I just learned.

What are your future career goals? After graduation, I would like to pursue a marketing career in the dairy industry. More specifically, I would like to have a job where I can benefit farmers. I would like to stay in Wisconsin, hopefully close to my home farm, in Verona. At night, I would love to help on my family’s dairy farm, Fischerdale Holsteins, where my passion started. This way I can motivate myself to work hard for the producers and come home to see it pay off on a family-owned dairy farm.

Undergraduate Student Profile: Logan Voigts

Name: Logan Voigts

Hometown: Belmont, WI

High School: Belmont High School

Class Size: 26

Farm: Voigtscrest Holsteins

Major: Dairy Science

Why did you decide to attend UW-Madison?

Coming to Badger football games throughout high school is really what drove me to come to this university.  The atmosphere in this town on a gameday is second to none and that really inspired me to come here.  This paired with one of the best dairy science departments in the nation made it an easy choice.

What has been your most memorable college experience?

Being a student on this campus opens the door for a tremendous amount of opportunities, but my favorite one must be working at world dairy expo.  My first year working it was crazy to me seeing just how much work went into making expo function, and getting to be a part of that was a great experience.  It’s a great opportunity to get away from school and classes for a while, while working with friends and networking with industry professionals.

What has been your favorite course?

DySci 233 and 234, Dairy Herd Management I & II, has easily been my favorite course.  In this class we would go through different units that covered different fields of the dairy industry, taught by professionals of those respective fields.  This class is entirely applicable to my career and the second semester we visited farms every other week to make this knowledge hands on.

What are your future career goals?

My goal for the future is to become a genetic consultant or other closely related profession in the genetic field where I can help farmers improve the genetic potential of their herd.


Undergraduate Student Profile: Bradley Warmka

Bradley Warmka
Hometown: Fox Lake, WI
High School: Waupun Area Jr./Sr. High School
Class Size: 177
Farm: Warmka Holsteins (500 cows)
Major: Dairy Science with a certificate in Ag Business Management

Why did you decide to attend UW-Madison?

I chose to attend UW-Madison because it is one of the top dairy science programs in the country. In addition, the staff at UW-Madison is full of well-known industry professionals which allow me to make connections. UW-Madison gave me the best opportunity to learn and develop into the best that I can be.

What has been your most memorable college experience?

My most memorable experiences in college are when I get to venture outside of the classroom to participate in hands on learning and meet other industry professionals. Getting the chance to network with others is very beneficial because it allows me to make new connections in the industry.

What has been your favorite course?
It is hard to nail down just one class as my favorite throughout my education, but there are two classes that I am just beginning this spring and I believe they will have a high impact on my education while here at UW-Madison. DY SCI 375: Training for Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge and DY SCI 535 Dairy Farm Management Practicum are the two classes that I am excited to get further into. These classes will combine all the skills that I have learned in my first three and a half years of college and I can directly apply them when consulting with local farms, which is a skill I value highly.

What are your future career goals?

As of now my future goals are to someday be back on the home farm, but as my college career is winding down I cannot wait to see some of the opportunities that may be presented to me.


Graduate Student Profile: Kristina Weld, Purina PhD Fellow

Learn about Kristina’s Research in Dr. Heather White’s Dairy Nutrition Lab: 


Kristina Weld working in her lab to determine which fatty acids are more beneficial to the health of the cow during the stressful post-calving period.

      “My research looks at how the fatty acid profile post-calving affects liver metabolism and gene expression in dairy cows. We will be evaluating the difference between C16 and C18 fatty acids in order to determine which fatty acids are more beneficial to the health of the cow during the stressful post-calving period.


       I chose to attend UW because I knew that the dairy science nutrition group was large and doing a lot of different types of research. Lucky for me, I was offered a position doing some cool research on how the fatty acids in different varieties of soybeans affect milk fat content.


       What has proven invaluable to me at UW are the people. The faculty, staff and graduate students here are wonderful, intellectual people who are passionate about dairy. Without their guidance, intellectually stimulating conversation and support graduate school would not be nearly as invigorating. Even the janitors will ask about your research when you run into them while doing lab work at 5am.


       Post-graduation I plan to be a dairy nutritionist.”


Undergraduate Student Profile: Sara Harn

Sara Harn

Hometown: Brooklyn, WI

High School: Homeschooled

Class Size:

Farm: Kalos Brown Swiss

Major: Dairy Science/Ag Business Management Certificate

Why did you decide to attend UW-Madison?

A few factors went into my college decision—strength of the dairy judging program, reputation of the dairy science department, and location. I wanted an opportunity to be on a winning dairy judging team, to receive a world-class education, and be close enough to home to still be able to show my heifers. Because of these factors, UW-Madison was the only school I applied to.

What has been your most memorable college experience?

Being named the Top Individual in the World Dairy Expo collegiate dairy judging contest is something that I will never forget. Working with my teammates and coaches over the years and ending my judging career with a win was so sweet.

What has been your favorite course?

I loved my senior capstone course (Dairy Science 535). This class was hands-on and allowed me to use my education in partnership with my classmates to assist Hurtgenlea Holsteins in Elkhorn, Wis. create plans to meet future goals.

What are your future career goals?

I graduated in December and started my career as a Marketing Associate at Filament Marketing in Madison, Wis.


Graduate Student Profile: Erin Sorge

Dr. Randy Shaver’s Nutrition Lab


Erin Sorge featured in the Nutrition Lab next to the fermentation tanks that she uses in her research.

My research focuses on the effects of feeding sugar products to lactating dairy cattle. I specifically am looking at how the sugars, lactose and sucrose, coming from whey and molasses interact with other nutrient fractions in the dairy cattle ration, such as starch and protein, to affect ruminal fermentation characteristics and fiber digestibility. This research is important because quite a few farms in our home state of Wisconsin are feeding sugar products which often contain sucrose, lactose, or a combination of the two sugars.

I chose UW-Madison for several reasons. The foremost reason being because of the exceptional Dairy Science Program and faculty. The dairy facilities here at UW-Madison and surrounding area also offer a wide range of opportunities for research in many areas. I also chose UW-Madison because I am from Wisconsin and I wanted to stay in the dairy state to complete my Master’s Degree.”

Post-graduation, I plan to work in the dairy industry here in Wisconsin. I enjoy working with producers and hope to find a job where I can work with producers and help them to meet their individual goals. I also like education and hope to incorporate it into my future plans one day.”