Oklahoma State University, an institution steeped in agricultural history, has continued a tradition of excellence through the Meat Science Program, housed within the Department of Animal Science.
Originally opened in 1890 as Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical College, the livestock and meat industries have always played a major role in educating the university’s students. Although, today the university has seen enormous growth and change, Animal Science is still the university’s largest major and its students have never forgotten the Cowboy history.
Oklahoma State students set their own career paths through nine Animal Science and three Food Science degree options including: meat science, food industry, livestock merchandising, business, biotechnology, livestock production and pre-veterinary.
The Meat Science Program offers six courses specifically designed to teach students about various aspects of the meat industry. Course topics include Meat and Carcass Evaluation, Meat Grading and Selection, Animal and Product Evaluation, Processed Meats, as well as both introductory and advanced Meat Science.
In addition to course work, students have the opportunity to develop skills through a number of experiences outside of the classroom, from judging and academic teams to industry conference involvement and undergraduate research.
The meat judging program at Oklahoma State is no exception to the university’s renowned, long-standing tradition of success in judging and evaluation. To date, Oklahoma State holds 16 meat judging national championships. Dr. Gretchen Mafi, associate professor of meat science, is the current coach of the team.
Oklahoma State offers both graduate and undergraduate students the opportunity to work with industry partners, utilizing state-of-the-art facilities on cutting-edge research that has current industry applications. Recent research topics include the effects of efficiency-improving technologies on meat quality, evaluations of muscle tenderness and palatability, the role of different packaging systems in improving shelf life, and cellular functions of fresh meat shelf life.
The Food and Agricultural Products Center, a major university partner, has also enhanced Oklahoma State’s extension efforts through value-added research, demonstrations, and learning opportunities for students and industry professionals alike.
Oklahoma State has many industry influence alumni. Graduate and leading authority on meat grading and evaluation, Dr. Jimmy Wise is well known in the meat industry for his large role in establishing grading standards, instrument grading and other quality-related research. Following his retirement from USDA, Wise served as the Meat Judging Program Coordinator for the American Meat Science Association (AMSA) for nine years where he is recognized by thousands of young meats judgers for his dedication to the program.
Graduate and former faculty member, Dr. Brad Morgan is another prominent name in the meat industry. Morgan currently works as senior Food Safety and Enhancement Specialist for Zoetis, overseeing research ranging from pre-harvest food safety to carcass quality attributes. Morgan also serves as the current AMSA President-Elect.
Through excellent undergraduate teaching, industry-relevant research and challenging graduate programs, Oklahoma State, specifically the Meat Science Program is working hard to ensure graduates are equipped for their future careers and prepared to become industry leaders.
Oklahoma State University is a member of the American Meat Science Association. For more information about the Oklahoma State University and its faculty, please visit the AMSA website at http://www.meatscience.org/page.aspx?id=55.