The American Meat Science Association (AMSA) is excited to announce that Dr. Temple Grandin has been selected as the 2020 AMSA International Lectureship Award winner. The International Lectureship Award is sponsored by PIC and was established to honor an individual for internationally recognized contributions to the field of meat science and technology. Dr. Grandin will be honored during her presentation Tuesday, August 4, 2020 at 12:30 p.m. (CST), during the Virtual 66th International Congress of Meat Science and Technology and the AMSA 73rd Reciprocal Meat Conference (RMC) awards presentation.

Dr. Temple Grandin is a professor of animal science at Colorado State University and she has been a pioneer in improving the handling and welfare of farm animals. Grandin was born in Boston, Mass. Grandin’s achievements are remarkable. At age two she had no speech and all the signs of severe autism. Many hours of speech therapy, and intensive teaching enabled Grandin to learn speech. As a teenager, life was hard with constant teasing. Mentoring by her high school science teacher and her aunt on her ranch in Arizona motivated Grandin to study and pursue a career as a scientist and livestock equipment designer.

Grandin obtained her B.A. at Franklin Pierce College in 1970. In 1974, she was employed as Livestock Editor for the Arizona Farmer Ranchman and also worked for Corral Industries on equipment design. In 1975, she earned her M.S. in Animal Science at Arizona State University for her work on the behavior of cattle in different squeeze chutes. Grandin was awarded her Ph.D. in Animal Science from the University of Illinois in 1989.

Following her Ph.D. research on the effect of environmental enrichment on the behavior of pigs, she has published several hundred industry publications, book chapters and technical papers on animal handling plus 73 refereed journal articles in addition to 12 books. She currently is a professor of animal sciences at Colorado State University where she continues her research while teaching courses on livestock handling and facility design.

Her book, Animals in Translation was a New York Times best seller and her book Livestock Handling and Transport, now has a fourth edition which was published in 2014. Other popular books authored by Dr. Grandin are Thinking in Pictures, Emergence Labeled Autistic; Animals Make us Human; Improving Animal Welfare: A Practical Approach; The Way I See It; and The Autistic Brain. She also has a popular TED Talk.

Grandin is one of the world’s leaders in the design of livestock handling facilities. She has designed livestock facilities throughout the United States and in Canada, Europe, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand and other countries. In North America, almost half of all cattle processing facilities include a center track restrainer system that she designed for meat plants. Her curved chute systems are used worldwide and her writings on the flight zone and other principles of grazing animal behavior have helped many producers to reduce stress during handling. Grandin has also designed an objective scoring system for assessing handling of cattle and pigs at meat plants. This system is being used by many large corporations to improve animal care.

Grandin has consulted with many different industry organizations for the past ten years. These efforts represent the majority of her time as she has a part-time appointment at Colorado State University but a thriving business as a consultant. The majority of her work is involved with large feedlots and commercial meat packers. She has worked with Cargill, Tyson, JBS Swift, Smithfield, Seaboard, Cactus Feeders and many other large companies. Her company also does design work for many ranches. She was also involved with several major packing companies. Her consulting has led to work with companies such as Wendy’s International, Burger King, Whole Foods, Chipotle, and McDonald’s Corporation, where she has trained auditors regarding animal care at processing plants. She also has consulted with organic and natural livestock producers on animal care standards. The animal handling guidelines that she wrote for the American Meat Institute are being used by many large meat buying customers to objectively audit animal handling and stunning.

At Colorado State University, Grandin maintains a limited number of graduate students and conducts research that assists in developing systems for animal handling and, in particular, with the reduction of stress and losses at the packing plant. She has published her research in the areas of cattle temperament, environmental enrichment of pigs, livestock behavior during handling, reducing dark cutters and bruises, bull fertility housing dairy cattle and effective stunning methods for cattle and hogs.

Grandin has provided worldwide media exposure for the livestock industry and, in particular, with issues relating to animal care. She has appeared on television shows such as 20/20, 48 hours, CNN Larry King Live, 60 Minutes, and has been featured in People Magazine, the New York Times, Forbes, U.S. News and World Report, and Time magazine. Interviews with Grandin have been broadcast on National Public Radio (NPR) and she has been taped for similar shows in Europe. She was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential people. HBO has made a movie about her life starring Claire Danes.

Grandin maintains an appointment with Cooperative Extension at Colorado State where she has been active in making presentations to Colorado ranchers and farmers as well as those interested in the packing industry. She is sought after to discuss issues of quality assurance. Privately, she has developed her own website ( which has been expanded to include information on livestock handling in addition to information relative to the design of handling systems. A section on bison handling and one in Spanish have been popular. Over 2,000 people visit the website every month and approximately 1,000 download significant amounts of information. As many as 1,431 files were downloaded daily and over 42,000 have been downloaded in a single month. The website has been accessed by people from over 50 countries worldwide. She also did a TED talk in 2010 entitled, “The World Needs All Kinds of Minds.”

It is clear from the wide variety of information accessed via the website, presentations made in international settings and interest in livestock handling systems developed Grandin that her work has reached an international audience. She typically travels to make presentations internationally 3-5 times annually.

Grandin has received numerous awards including the Meritorious Achievement Award from the Livestock Conservation Institute, named a Distinguished Alumni at Franklin Pierce College and received an honorary doctorate from McGill University, University of Illinois, Texas A&M, Carnegie Mellon University and Duke University. She has also won prestigious industry awards including the Richard L. Knowlton Award from Meat Marketing and Technology Magazine and the Industry Advancement Award from the American Meat Institute and the Beef Top 40 industry leaders and the Lifetime Achievement Award from The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. In 2011, Grandin was inducted into the Cowgirl Hall of Fame. In 2015 she was given the Distinguished Service Award by the American Farm Bureau Federation and Meritorious Award from the OIE. HBO has premiered a movie about Grandin’s early life and career with the livestock industry. The movie received seven Emmy awards, a Golden Globe, and a Peabody Award. In 2016, Grandin was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Additionally, Grandin is a past member of the board of directors of the Autism Society of America. She lectures to parents and teachers throughout the U.S. on her experiences with autism. Articles and interviews have appeared in the New York Times, People, Time, National Public Radio, 20/20, The View, and the BBC. She was also honored in Time Magazines 2010 “The 100 Most Influential People in the World.” Dr. Grandin now resides in Fort Collins, Colo.


AMSA also announces Dr. Elisabeth Huff-Lonergan as the recipient of the 2020 Distinguished Teaching Award. The award was established to recognize excellence in the teaching of undergraduate and graduate meat science courses and the impact on the lives of those students in a highly positive manner. The award is sponsored by Hawkins, Inc. Dr. Elisabeth Huff-Lonergan will be honored on Thursday, August 6, 2020 at 3:30 p.m. (CST), during the Virtual 66th International Congress of Meat Science and Technology (ICoMST) and the AMSA 73rd Reciprocal Meat Conference (RMC) awards presentation.

Dr. Elisabeth Huff-Lonergan is a professor of meat science and muscle biology at Iowa State University (ISU). She received her B.S in Food Science from the University of Missouri and her M.S. and Ph.D. in Meat Science and Muscle Biology from Iowa State University. She began her faculty career at Auburn University before moving to Iowa State in 1998. Huff-Lonergan's work in meat science has transformed the meat science teaching program at Iowa State University by creating innovative new courses, reinventing existing curricula, and applying new ways to foster student learning. She has enhanced faculty programs and was the author and the key leader in the implementation of peer review of teaching and learning in her department. She refined her signature courses (a junior-level course -Fresh Meats and a fundamental graduate-level course-Advanced Meat Science and Applied Muscle Biology) to increase the impact of these courses. She has developed a new, junior-level course on pet foods (Food Processing for Companion Animals). The latter has filled a unique need in the department for a large number of students interested in companion animals. She has adapted her graduate-level fresh meat and applied muscle biology course to an online course to reach professionals who cannot come to campus.

Huff-Lonergan's passion for the meat and pet food industries has motivated her to seek new educational opportunities for both the industry and students. For example, the pet food industry uses many human food products and by-products that meat science students are uniquely prepared to understand. Huff-Lonergan recognized that a course introducing them to pet food processing would assist these students and the industry by providing them with the science involved with meat products and the technologies of food processing. Indeed, many of the students from her class are now working professionals in the pet food industry.

She firmly believes students must have the necessary information required to think creatively to improve and troubleshoot the processes that they may encounter in their industry. To develop these skills in her graduate and undergraduate courses, Huff-Lonergan provides the students with information on both emerging and ongoing issues facing the industry and asks them to engage with those issues via projects assigned as troubleshooting scenarios. Students are required to go beyond merely memorizing material to using the information presented in class for semester-long projects that require them to prepare a written and oral project reports that analyzes the problem in detail and offers potential solutions. Huff-Lonergan is a faculty leader in an innovative ISU Agriculture Policy and Leadership course that generates in-person collaboration opportunities for undergraduate students with mentors at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). In this policy and leadership course, she guides the students in an immersive experience of working in teams with a real client (FAO) to develop educational products that FAO uses in their policy and education efforts. This ambitious course requires critical thinking, problem-solving, and effective reporting in a practical, real-life, international scenario.

Huff-Lonergan has also been influential in helping instructors in her department improve their teaching. She was instrumental in bringing a comprehensive Peer Evaluation of Teaching program to her department. Traditionally, many instructors only receive feedback in the form of course evaluations of students, provided in response to surveys distributed to students at the end of a semester and classroom teaching observations by other faculty. While these are essential snapshots of how things in the classroom are going, it is far from a complete picture of the whole instructional effort of an instructor. Huff-Lonergan's work on the Peer Evaluation of Teaching program focuses the evaluation on the entire instructional effort of a teacher – including syllabi development, class interaction, exams, projects, and all related instructional activities. Her efforts in continuous improvement in teaching have helped change the way instructors in her department evaluate their teaching effectiveness, allowing them to become better, more impactful teachers.

Huff-Lonergan is an outstanding instructor of fundamental graduate and undergraduate meat science and muscle biology courses at Iowa State University. Her former students are employed in academia and industry in career positions. Further, she has provided significant foresight in providing for student career opportunities by developing and teaching a pet foods course for students interested in companion animals and meat products.


Dr. Bradley Johnson has been named as the recipient of the 2020 Distinguished Research Award. The award was established in 1965 to recognize members with outstanding research contributions to the meat industry and is sponsored by Conagra Brands, Inc. Dr. Johnson will be honored on Thursday, August 6, 2020 at 3:30 p.m. (CST), during the Virtual 66th International Congress of Meat Science and Technology (ICoMST) and the AMSA 73rd Reciprocal Meat Conference (RMC) awards presentation.

Dr. Bradley J. Johnson, a native of Milbank, S.D., earned a bachelor’s degree in animal science from South Dakota State University. His master’s degree in animal science and doctorate in animal science are from the University of Minnesota. Johnson is currently the Gordon W. Davis Regent’s Chair in Meat Science and Muscle Biology and a professor in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources’ Department of Animal and Food Sciences at Texas Tech University. Johnson has been in this position since June 1, 2008. Prior to coming to Texas Tech, he was a muscle growth and development assistant and associate professor with the Department of Animal Sciences & Industry at Kansas State University from October 2000 to June 2008. Additionally, Johnson worked as an Extension Ruminant Nutrition and Beef Feedlot Specialist and was an assistant professor with the Department of Animal and Range Sciences at South Dakota State University August 1997 to October 2000. Johnson is internationally known as an outstanding researcher and has served and represented AMSA on many occasions in the scientific community. In 2018, Dr. Johnson was recognized by the University of Minnesota as an outstanding alumnus for his contributions to science and education.

Johnson has over 25 years of research experience working with veterinary drugs used for global meat-animal production. He has published 116 peer-reviewed journal articles, 12 invited reviews or book chapters, and has advised more than 70 graduate and postdoctoral students. The majority of Johnson’s research over this time has involved evaluating the mechanism of action and physiology of two classes of veterinary drugs approved for meat production, steroidal implants and β-adrenergic agonists. Many models have been used by Johnson to evaluate the mode of action of both of these veterinary drugs including cell culture, tissue explant and in vivo experiments. Johnson was the first to evaluate the combined trenbolone acetate/estradiol 17β steroidal implant for beef cattle in the United States. Results from these experiments defined the mechanism of these compounds on postnatal muscle growth, and subsequently, the metabolism of the parent compounds as they were excreted from the target animal. In addition, his laboratory also has worked extensively on the mechanism of action of β-adrenergic agonists at both the skeletal muscle and adipose tissue level. More recently, he has been asked to address the proposed metabolism of these compounds as it relates to potential residues in edible tissues. Specifically, he has played a pivotal role in anti-doping cases involving meat consumption.

International audiences and governments have sought Johnson’s expertise in this area. In 2010, Johnson worked with the feedlot industry in Indonesia to address the use of growth promotants in beef cattle production. The following year, Johnson was engaged in β- adrenergic agonist research in South Korea with their native Hanwoo cattle. Johnson was involved in the introduction of β-adrenergic agonists to the Brazilian feedlot industry in August 2012. Additionally, Johnson has worked with Egyptian scientists (2015-current) to increase their knowledge of the mechanism of action and metabolism of veterinary drugs such as steroidal implants and β-adrenergic agonists. In 2017 Johnson was appointed to the Joint (FAO/WHO) Expert Committee of Food Additives (JECFA) with expertise on the veterinary drug residue platform. This committee serves as scientific advisors for the establishment of the global food safety standards of Codex Alimentarius and other global groups.

Johnson has been involved in research in the area of marbling development of beef cattle. He has collaborated for many years with Dr. Stephen Smith at Texas A&M University in College Station. They have interest in understanding the role of GPR41 and 43 receptors and oleic acid in adipose tissue development of beef cattle.

Outside of his research, Johnson enjoys spending time with his family. His wife, Jolene, and he have been married 30 years and have three children, Kaitlin, Nathan and Evan. They all reside in Lubbock, Texas.


The American Meat Science Association (AMSA) announces that Dr. Gordon W. Davis is the recipient of the 2020 AMSA Industry & Organizational Leadership Award. The AMSA Industry & Organizational Leadership Award was established to recognize those who have demonstrated outstanding leadership in an area related to the meat industry. The Industry & Organizational Leadership Award is sponsored by Smithfield Foods, Inc. Davis will be honored on Thursday, August 6, 2020 at 3:30 p.m. (CST), during the Virtual 66th International Congress of Meat Science and Technology (ICoMST) and the AMSA 73rd Reciprocal Meat Conference (RMC) awards presentation.

Dr. Gordon W. Davis was reared on an eastern Washington State dairy farm (state Dairy Family of Year, 1964). He has two undergraduate degrees in agriculture from Washington State University (1969) and M.S. & Ph.D. degree in Meat Science from Texas A&M University (1974 & 1977).

Davis served as an academic Meat Scientist at the University of Tennessee (1977 – 1980) and Texas Tech University (1980-1990). He is the founder/chairman of CEV Multimedia (1984 to present) and serves as an Adjunct Professor at Texas Tech University (1990-Present). Davis has been an AMSA member for 48 years and has been recognized with some of the association’s most prestigious awards, including the Intercollegiate Meat Judging Meritorious Service Award, Signal Service Award, and AMSA’s Mentor Recognition Award. Also, he has been recognized by Washington State University, Texas Tech University, Texas A&M University, the University of Tennessee, West Texas A&M University and awarded the Honorary American FFA Degree. He has received awards from SBA, USDA, Sigma Chi International Fraternity, plus 21 additional awards for his outstanding leadership, philanthropy, and service. Receiving these awards is certainly a testament to his contributions to AMSA, education, agriculture, and the meat science community. Among AMSA members, he is best known for his unmatched passion for the meat judging program and his unsurpassed level of financial support to the AMSA Development Council but his contributions as a leader to the meat science community and industry is nearly immeasurable. The impact he has had on the meat industry through students in the high school classroom is incredible. His company, CEV Multimedia, has reached MILLIONS of students in classrooms worldwide allowing them to learn, compete, and ultimately become fascinated with the meat industry. The number of students that enter the university meat science classroom for the first time that have been exposed to the meat industry via one of CEV’s programs is astounding, and the educational foundation they have as a result is extraordinary.

CEV Multimedia’s contributions (1981-present) to meat science include: estimated 4 million+ students taught something about meat science, across 50 states and 19 countries; an estimated 25,000 Ag Science teachers, post-secondary faculty, extension agents who have used CEV to teach something about meat science; 6,206 current Ag Science Teacher online subscriptions; 71 universities/colleges currently using iCEV to supplement teaching meat science; 13,227 meat-science-related industry certifications tested for on CEV’s platform since 2014. Davis’s successes with CEV have afforded him the opportunity to give generously to the future of meat science through AMSA. He has set the bar high for all members of the association and has actively encouraged and recruited us to follow his lead in being philanthropic. Davis is founder or co-founder of six meat science endowment funds (corpus $4.8M) and three educational endowments in agriculture not specific to meat science (corpus $4.5M). Via matching or gifts ($25 to $500,000), the past 34 years he has helped inspire total contributions of $5.3M (724 different donors including 40 judging teams). Six words he utters often, “it is important to give back”.

During his time as an academic meat scientist, Davis published 36 journal articles, 2 book chapters, 36 technical articles, 47 abstracts, 124 video production titles, plus recruited 45 meat science collaborators for CEV since 1981. Davis also cofounded the Cargill High Plains Meat Judging contest in 1981 which has provided an opportunity for more than 4,500 collegiate meat judging students from more than 40 colleges and universities over the past 39 years. He also was the leader for hosting the first Division A meat judging contest in 1979 (Southeastern Meat Judging Contest at the University of Tennessee).

Davis’s contributions to the meat industry and the AMSA organization have been tremendous, and we believe he is exceptionally well qualified for this recognition. When he receives it, he will be humbled and honored beyond measure as it would serve as just another testament to his passion for the meat industry and education.


The American Meat Science Association (AMSA) announces Darrell Dowd as the 2020 AMSA Intercollegiate Meat Judging Meritorious Service Award winner. The Intercollegiate Meat Judging Meritorious Service Award was established in 1993 to recognize outstanding contributions or service to the Intercollegiate Meat Judging Program. This award is sponsored by the Food Safety Net Services and Agri-West International. Dowd will be honored on Thursday, August 6, 2020 at 3:30 p.m. (CST), during the Virtual 66th International Congress of Meat Science and Technology (ICoMST) and the AMSA 73rd Reciprocal Meat Conference (RMC) awards presentation.

Dowd attended Oklahoma Panhandle State University where he received his B.S. (1983). Dowd currently resides in Brighton, Colo. Dowd began working as a ranch hand at two ranches in the Oklahoma Panhandle and Texas Panhandle before moving to Amarillo and going to work as a house grader for IBP, Inc. (now Tyson).

Throughout his career, Dowd has been dedicated to the meat industry. His outstanding dedication to both youth and intercollegiate meat judging programs as a representative of the USDA, but also through AMSA’s Meat Judging Program make him a great candidate for this recognition.

Dowd played football in college and was on the 1981 Live Animal Evaluation Team at Panhandle State University. Through the years of association with the beef industry and working for the USDA’s Grading Service, where he now works in the Standards and Specifications Division as an Agricultural Marketing Specialist. His career began as a grader in Pennsylvania at Moyer Packing before moving to Dallas at Supreme Beef. He then accepted a Supervisors position in Chicago before moving to the Cincinnati area where he supervised the entire Ohio Valley for five years before moving to the Denver, Colo., area as an Assistant National Supervisor, where he still lives.

His professional leadership and passion for this program, the success demonstrated by the individuals and teams is quite remarkable. However, the most important part of Dowd’s contribution has been to help students and coaches grow as young professionals. The love and respect that Dowd has received from current and former students stands as a testament for his work and dedication to the meat judging program.


AMSA has announced the three AMSA members that will be the recipients of the Distinguished Achievement Award. Dr. Dustin Boler, Dr. Travis O’Quinn and Dr. Gary Sullivan will be honored on Thursday, August 6, 2020 at 3:30 p.m. (CST), during the Virtual 66th International Congress of Meat Science and Technology (ICoMST) and the AMSA 73rd Reciprocal Meat Conference (RMC) awards presentation. The Achievement Award was established in 1992 and is designed to recognize and foster the development of young AMSA members who have demonstrated significant skills and contribution to the animal products industry and the AMSA. The award is sponsored by Burke Corporation.

Dr. Dustin Boler​
Dustin Boler, originally from Spencer, Ind., is a Meat Scientist for Topigs Norsvin and is known for his experience with pork quality, growth promoting technologies in meat animals, and contemporary issues facing the meat industry. 

After graduating from Purdue University with a B.S. in Animal Sciences and Agricultural Economics, Boler began his career in quality assurance at Tyson Prepared Foods. Later, he enrolled in graduate school at the University of Illinois. He earned his M.S. (2008) and Ph.D. (2011) under the direction of Drs. Floyd McKeith and John Killefer. His Ph.D. focused on the effects of Improvest, and its effects on carcass composition, lean meat yield, and further processed pork quality.

After earning his Ph.D., Boler spent two years on faculty at Ohio State and then joined the faculty at Illinois. Boler was promoted to the rank of Associate Professor in 2018.

Boler has worked with animal pharmaceutical companies, genetic companies, and with many major meat packers in the United States. Some of his more recent research accomplishments include establishing the relationship (or lack thereof) between primal quality within the pig, publicizing the improvement in tenderness when pork is cooked to 145°F, and determining changes in pork quality as pigs are marketed at increasingly heavier weights.

Boler has given 9 international and 12 domestic invited research presentations including presentations at ICoMST and RMC. He has authored or coauthored 96 peer reviewed journal articles, a chapter in the second edition of the Encyclopedia of Meat Sciences, a chapter in Branded Beef Programs: Ensuring Safety and Quality in the Production of Beef, Vol. 2: Quality, over 100 abstracts, and 4 invited white papers. Boler has raised over $2.3 million as the principal investigator or co-investigator for research projects. These grants were awarded from commodity groups such as the National Pork Board and the United Soybean Board, as well as numerous corporate partners. In total, at both Ohio State and Illinois, Boler mentored seven M.S. students and four Ph.D. students.

He instructed or co-instructed six meat science classes at Ohio State and four at Illinois. He was recognized with the J.G. and A.M. Smith Award for Teaching Excellence. In addition to his classroom teaching, he also mentored five undergraduate students in independent research projects. 

Boler has been committed to serving the larger meat industry and engaging the public with his expertise. He has given over 25 public outreach and extension presentations or events with groups such as the Illinois Association of Meat Processors, Pork 101, and meat industry and livestock groups in Ohio, Illinois and Wisconsin. He also gave many presentations to student and public groups that visited the Illinois campus. Additionally, during his time at Illinois, he served on the Board of Directors of the Illinois Association of Meat Processors. His service to IAMP was recently recognized with their highest honor, the Sleeter Bull Meat Processors Award (2020).

Boler was elected to the AMSA Board of Directors and served from 2016-2019. He served on and/or chaired the following AMSA committees: Pork 101 Curriculum and Host Committee (2013-2018, chair 2015-2016); RMC Abstracts Committee (co-chair, 2014, chair, 2015); Publications (2016-2019, chair 2016-2018); Scientific Information Committee (2012-2015); Graduate Student Poster Competition Committee (2012-2015); Meat Science Journal Committee (2012-2018) and assisted in drafting the AMSA Meat Lexicon (2016-2019). He appeared on Chicago Tonight to discuss red meat and cancer in 2015 and provided public comment regarding foods produced by animal cell culture to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2018. He also participated in NAMI’s Meat Mythcrushers series regarding the use of the term “clean meat.”

He serves on the editorial board of both the Journal of Animal Science and Translational Animal Science and was guest editor for Animal Frontiers in 2016. Recently, he was Task Force Chair for a paper on lab-based meat products published by the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology.

Dr. Travis O’Quinn
Dr. Travis O’Quinn is an Associate Professor in the Department of Animal Science and Industry at Kansas State University. He earned his B.S. and M.S. in Animal Science from Texas Tech University in 2008 and 2010 and completed his Ph.D. in Meat Science in 2012 from Colorado State University. Following graduation, O’Quinn was hired as a Sr. Research Associate by Texas Tech University where he helped lead a large-scale beef consumer study developing a palatability-based beef grading system. In 2014, O’Quinn was hired by Kansas State University in a research and extension role, which was changed in 2017 to primarily teaching and research responsibilities. In the time since, O’Quinn has been responsible for teaching the Introduction to Meat Science class on-campus and as a part of the Global Campus each semester as well as both the Introduction and Advanced Meat Evaluation courses.

O’Quinn’s research program has primarily focused on beef eating quality and the factors impacting beef tenderness, juiciness, and flavor and how these factors interact to form an overall eating experience for consumers. He has worked extensively evaluating the impact of marbling and degree of doneness on beef palatability and how these two factors work together to affect overall beef eating quality. Moreover, work from his research group helped to develop an instrumental measure of beef juiciness that could be used simultaneously with current industry tenderness measures. O’Quinn has served as the Primary Investigator (PI) or Co-PI on grants totaling more than $2.6 million. He has also served as the author or coauthor on 49 peer-reviewed journal articles and 97 research abstracts presented at regional, national, and international meetings. He has served as the major professor for 11 graduate students and as a member of the supervisory committee for an additional 15 M.S. and Ph.D. candidates.

As the state Meat Extension Specialist for Kanas, O’Quinn focused on consumer education programming on fresh meat utilization, quality, safety, and production. He hosted a number of workshops including the very popular “Barbecue 101” program that taught grill masters of all experience levels more about the science behind grilling and smoking. Additionally, he published 36 extension Fact Sheets and research reports including a series focused on the types and number of retail cuts consumers could expect from beef, pork, and lamb carcasses when custom processed by small packers. In addition, O’Quinn has oversight of the state’s youth meat judging program and worked diligently to increase participation in these events since his arrival at K-State, serving as the host-site coordinator for the National 4-H Meat Judging Contest since 2014. In his extension role, O’Quinn gave 55 extension presentations and was interviewed for more than 47 different print, video, and radio news stories with a total reach of more than 3 million viewers/listeners.

Moreover, O’Quinn serves as the faculty sponsor and coach of the Kansas State Meat Judging and Meat Animal Evaluation teams. His teams have achieved a high level of success, with the meat judging teams he has coached placing first or second at more than 75% of the national contests in which they have competed, including winning the National Championship in 2009. He has also coached 7 Meat Animal Evaluation teams across multiple universities that have won the National Championship, including the first such championship in this event for K-State in 2016.

O’Quinn is an active professional member of AMSA and has served on a number of committees including the Undergraduate Quiz Bowl Committee, serving as the chair in 2016, the Undergraduate Scholastic Achievement Award Selection Committee, and currently serves as the chair of the AMSA 4-H Meat Judging Advisory Committee. He has also been an active member of the AMSA Intercollegiate Meat Judging Coaches Association since 2009.

Dr. Gary Sullivan
Dr. Gary Sullivan is an Associate Professor of Meat Processing in the Department of Animal Science at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Sullivan was raised in Earling, Iowa and was active in 4-H, FFA, and with the World Food Prize. He received his B.S. in Animal Science and International Agriculture from Iowa State University, a M.S. in Animal Science from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln under the supervision of Dr. Chris Calkins and completed his Ph.D. in Meat Science and Food Science and Technology at Iowa State University under Dr. Joe Sebranek and Dr. Ken Prusa.

In 2011, he started as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Animal Science at University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a research and teaching appointment focused on Meat Processing. His research centers on the impacts of ingredients and processing techniques on the quality, safety, and shelf life of meat products. Research topics have included meat curing, sodium reduction, high pressure processing, influences of ingredients and processing on the spoilage microbiota in processed meats, and effects of cattle diets on processed meats shelf life. He has published 20 peer-reviewed manuscripts, 1 book chapter, 3 conference proceeding papers, 35 conference abstracts, and 26 university research reports. He has been the PI or Co-PI on $1.05 million in competitive research grants and industry service projects. He has advised 6 M.S. and 2 Ph.D. students and served on the examining committee for 16 additional students. In addition, 7 undergraduate students have conducted research projects under his supervision.

Sullivan teaches Meat Processing, Meat Technology, and leads the Meat Industry Study Tour. To introduce students to meat science, Sullivan has developed, and taught Meat Science laboratory activities included in the introductory the Animal Science and Food Science courses. His involvement in the Nebraska Youth Beef Leadership Symposium and Nebraska Youth Pork Conference programs for high schoolers connects students to the beef and pork they produce. He helped create and advises the Meat Science Club, has advised the Block and Bridle Club and the Animal Science Graduate Student Association, and provides faculty oversight of the Loeffel Meat Laboratory.

Sullivan is an active member of AMSA and IFT. He has been on the RMC technical planning committed since 2014 and has helped plan several processed meat focused sessions. He was also part of the RMC host committee in 2015. He is currently serving on the IFT Muscle Foods Division Leadership Team as an at-large member. He has judged at the AAMP American Cured Meats Championship and several state Cured Meats Championships.

These AMSA members are exemplary young scholars, and their dedications to the industry make them outstanding candidates for the AMSA Distinguished Achievement Award.


AMSA also announces Dr. Kelly Vierck as the Ph.D. Division recipient and Morgan Denzer as the Master’s Division recipient of the 2020 AMSA Student Teacher “Cleaver” Award. A meat cleaver is resilient and designed to break through soft bones and cartilage. Graduate teaching assistants are encouraged to be “cleavers,” by being resilient in teaching abilities, breaking through to students and enhancing their knowledge. The tough metal and thick blade of a cleaver is unique and more durable compared to other knives. Graduate students are expected to be durable through their own obligations, and above all to create a unique learning experience for students. The Student Teacher “Cleaver” Award is sponsored by the AMSA Student Membership. Dr. Kelly Vierck and Morgan Denzer will be honored during the Virtual 66th International Congress of Meat Science and Technology (ICoMST) and the AMSA 73rd Reciprocal Meat Conference (RMC) awards presentation.

Kelly Vierck recently completed her Ph.D. in Animal Science at Texas Tech University. Originally from Juneau, Wis., Vierck received her bachelor's degree in Food Science from Oklahoma State University in 2015. While at Oklahoma State, Vierck was an active member of the 2013 Meat Judging team, 2014 Reserve National Champion Livestock Judging team, the 2014 National Champion Meat Animal Evaluation team and the 2015 National Champion Academic Quadrathalon team. Additionally, she was selected as a livestock judging All-American team member. Vierck was also involved in the Meat Science Association, Collegiate Cattlewomen, and other organizations across campus. She worked as an undergraduate research assistant in the meat science lab, which helped foster her passion for meat science research.

Vierck completed her master's degree in Animal Science from Kansas State University in 2017, where she served as a teaching assistant for the Animal Sciences & Industry Department. She was responsible for instructing the Introduction to Livestock and Meat Evaluation laboratory, as well as serving as a teaching assistant for other classes. Her research focused on investigating marbling texture’s impact on beef palatability.

During her time at Texas Tech, Vierck served as the assistant advisor to the Academic Quadrathalon team and as a teaching assistant for four classes in animal and food sciences. Vierck was recognized as the 2019 San Antonio Livestock Exposition Outstanding Meat Science Graduate Student. Currently, her research is focused on postmortem factors influencing beef flavor development and tenderness. Vierck has accepted a position with the University of Arkansas as an Assistant Professor of Meat Science and Muscle Biology.

Morgan Denzer is currently a master’s student at Oklahoma State University. She is originally from Pulaski, Wis., and she previously graduated with her bachelor’s degree from Iowa State University in Food Science. She was President of the Food Science Club, a teaching assistant for Introduction to Food Science, and a member of the Meat Science Quiz Bowl Team while there.

During her time at Oklahoma State University, Denzer has served as the Student Representative for the Muscle Foods Division of the Institute of Food Technologists and the coach of the Meat Science Quiz Bowl Team. Her research focused in the effects of acidification and nitrite-embedded packaging on the characteristics of dark-cutting beef. She also mentored several undergraduate students in their research projects with two of those students being selected as Wentz Research Scholars. Additionally, she served as the teaching assistant for three classes, helping with grading and conducting laboratories. Morgan was recently recognized for her achievement in the department with being selected as the Outstanding M.S. Student of the Animal and Food Science Department. She plans to continue her education by pursuing her Ph.D. at Oklahoma State University with Dr. Ranjith Ramanathan in the fall of 2020.

The 66th ICoMST and AMSA 73rd RMC will be held August 3-6, 2020 online in the virtual format. For more information please visit: or contact Deidrea Mabry 1-800-517-AMSA ext. 12.

Source: AMSA