The Georgia Tech Research Institute’s (GTRI) Agricultural Technology Research Program (ATRP) has selected Lance Barrett and Ryan Giometti as the 2022 R. Harold and Patsy Harrison Student Interns. They are the first recipients of the one-year funded internships made possible through an endowment from the R. Harold and Patsy Harrison Foundation. 

The internships are part of ATRP’s Abit Massey Student Internship Program, which provides Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) undergraduate students an opportunity to work alongside ATRP researchers on real-world challenges facing poultry production and processing. Interns also have the opportunity to gain practical industry knowledge by networking with staff at local poultry companies. The goal is to prepare the next generation of researchers and professionals to produce significant advances in innovation and technology. The program is funded entirely through donations and sponsorship from industry and friends of ATRP. 

“We are extremely grateful to the Reynolds family and the R. Harold and Patsy Harrison Foundation for supporting these internships. This program allows us to engage bright students in the engineering and science disciplines and share with them the opportunities they have to make an impact in the poultry industry,” said Doug Britton, ATRP program manager.

During the internships, Barrett will work with Jie Xu, GTRI principal research scientist, on advanced sensing projects aimed at improving poultry processing wastewater treatment, while Giometti will work alongside Alex Samoylov, GTRI principal research scientist, on designing alternative poultry transportation systems to improve animal handling and welfare.  

Barrett, a native of Port St. Lucie, Florida, is a co-op student from Drexel University (co-op students alternate semesters of full-time study with semesters of full-time paid work). Reflecting on his semesters as a co-op with ATRP, the fourth-year chemical engineering major says after multiple site visits, conferences, and working on various projects, he can tell he has only scraped the tip of the iceberg in the poultry industry. 

“With meeting the Reynolds family and other connections this internship will provide, I hope to dive deeper into the field and further my understanding of the state and needs of the industry,” said Barrett. “That way I can better utilize and focus my time in the lab, the remainder of my undergraduate degree, and beyond into graduate school.”

A third-year mechanical engineering major at Georgia Tech, Giometti expressed his excitement for the opportunities that the internship will provide, especially to learn about the poultry industry outside the walls of GTRI.

“I hope to gain a better exposure to the complex mechanical systems behind the high-capacity poultry industry. I find the modern methods of poultry processing quite fascinating, yet it is fun to step in and find room for improvement,” said Giometti, who is from San Marcos, California. “The experiences that I will get through the research process will enable me to better find and solve problems as a mechanical engineer.”

Established in 1973, ATRP develops advanced technology in support of Georgia’s multibillion-dollar poultry industry, the state’s leading agricultural sector. The technologies help poultry processors optimize operations and improve efficiency, safety, product yields, and environmental sustainability.

The R. Harold and Patsy Harrison Foundation was founded by the Harrisons’ daughter, Bobbie Ann Harrison Reynolds, and her husband, Raymond H. Reynolds, Jr. (a Georgia Tech industrial engineering alumnus), in honor of her late parents with a primary goal to strengthen and support education. Her father founded Harrison Poultry in 1958 in Bethlehem, Georgia.

The Abit Massey Student Internship Program honors Massey, president emeritus of the Georgia Poultry Federation, who was instrumental in ATRP’s founding nearly 50 years ago and remains a dedicated supporter to this day.

Source: Georgia Tech