Tarleton State University has a rich tradition in the pursuit of excellence both in and out of the classroom. Animal Science has always had a strong presence at TSU, with an overwhelming emphasis in pre-veterinary medicine. However, there is a growing interest in the area of meat science. With the addition of two new Assistant Professors and Department Head, Tarleton is poised and committed to developing and maintaining a solid emphasis focused on Meat Science.

Dr. Frank Owsley, Department Head, came from Auburn University and is excited about the growth in faculty as well as student numbers at TSU. 

“With the existence of both faculty and facilities, and an active research program, Tarleton is well positioned to provide service to the industry in applied research and service/outreach,” said Owsley. 

Dr. Jolena Waddell is a molecular geneticist that came to Tarleton last year from Purdue University. While at Purdue, she worked in extension meat science and conducted research that varied from protein consumption in low-income households to genes and proteins that affected meat quality. She is continuing similar work at TSU by analyzing tenderness markers in livestock and working with the new food pantry on campus to increase protein consumption in at-risk populations. 

Another new hire last year, Dr. Lea Ann Kinman, came to Tarleton from Iowa State University. She was also the Meat Science instructor and Director of the Clark Meat Science Center at Oregon State University. Dr. Kinman’s area of research interests include investigating the scientific principles and ingredient functionality important to the development of new value-added, processed products that will improve marketability of livestock and their products for consumers. 

In addition to the new faculty, Dr. Randy Harp has 35 years of experience teaching meat science/animal science, with the past 15 years spent at Tarleton. He had tremendous success coaching numerous meat judging teams for 29 years with 12 national championship titles. His area of research interest includes applied animal growth and development related to carcass evaluation. 

Dr. Jason Sawyer has been at TSU for five years. He is the current advisor for the meat judging team, Meat Science academic quiz bowl team, and director of the TSU meat lab. Dr. Sawyer’s research program focuses on carcass composition and quality, sensory evaluation, shelf life, and cooked characteristics of meat.

Since 1981, Tarleton students have claimed nine national championship titles and numerous awards. This and many hours spent in the meat lab have enabled students to embrace a career in the agricultural/meat industry. Tarleton alumni continue to work in an array of the industries sector, companies include: Tyson Foods, Cargill, Marel/Townsend, ABF Packing, Direct Source/Labbatt’s Foodservice, Winn Meat Company, Colorado Boxed Beef, PAK Foods, Midland Foods, United States Department of Agriculture, Access Food Marketing Group, Holton Meats, Texas Department of Health, ADM, Brinker International, and the list goes on and on. 

“Meat science at Tarleton State University is a prominent part of the undergraduate and graduate teaching program, while research and service functions continue to grow and meet the needs of the state, region and nation,” said Dr. Owsley. 


Tarleton State University is a member of the American Meat Science Association. For more information about Tarleton State University and its faculty, please visit the AMSA website at http://bit.ly/amsatarleton.