The Elanco Fundamentals of Animal Science Certification verifies individuals have acquired the foundational knowledge and skills to pursue a career within the animal science industry.
The animal science classroom at Nottoway High School, in Crewe, VA, hosts a menagerie of creatures. A rabbit hops throughout his pen in the corner of the room. Hamsters squeak in the back of the classroom as they shuffle through shavings. Brightly colored fish glide through freshwater aquariums. Behind the school, dairy cows munch on their feed, and bluegill and koi fill the aquaculture pond. Chickens peck at feed scattered across the floor as cats prowl for unsuspecting mice.
John Scialdo, one of the agricultural science teachers at Nottoway, believes exposure to animals is key to developing both an interest in and understanding of animal science principles. Not only do students at Nottoway gain hands-on knowledge of animal care in the classroom, through partnerships with local entities, such as the Richland Dairy, Scialdo’s students have the opportunity to demonstrate the concepts addressed in the agricultural science classes. Along with providing his students with a plethora of hands-on experiences, Scialdo also offers his students the opportunity to validate their skills by earning the Elanco Fundamentals of Animal Science Certification.
As a global leader in animal health, Elanco takes great pride in ensuring the continued success of the animal science industry. Because of their passion for education and training opportunities, coupled with their desire to develop a pipeline of workers for the industry, Elanco created the Fundamentals of Animal Science Certification. The certification verifies individuals have acquired the technical knowledge and skills to pursue a career within the animal science industry. Since the certification was released in 2016, nearly 5,000 individuals have earned the Elanco Fundamentals of Animal Science Certification.
At Nottoway, Scialdo includes the Elanco Fundamentals of Animal Science Certification in the intro to animal systems class and the small animal care class. Each student, as mandated by the Commonwealth of Virginia, must earn an industry certification in a Career & Technical Education (CTE) subject area to fulfill state graduation requirements, and many students at Nottoway earn an industry certification through the agricultural science program. In the first year to include the certification in his classes, 26 of Scialdo’s students earned the Elanco Fundamentals of Animal Science Certification.
Many of Scialdo’s students have used the Elanco Fundamentals of Animal Science Certification to help them secure employment or attain recognition from their current employer. Brandon Lawson is a senior at Nottoway and works for Tyson Foods at a local poultry farm and as a security guard at a processing plant near Crewe, VA. Through his experiences at Tyson Foods, Lawson has developed a passion for food safety and plans to pursue a career as a food inspector after high school. Lawson says earning the Elanco Fundamentals of Animal Science Certification made him a better employee, and he was recognized at a company meeting for earning the certification. Based on the success he has seen since earning the Elanco Fundamentals of Animal Science Certification, Lawson is encouraging his fellow students to earn an industry certification.
Kassidy Hudson, a junior at Nottoway, plans to pursue a career in the medical industry following high school. While she is not sure of the specific sector she wants to enter, Hudson’s love of animals is swaying her to work in the veterinary medical field. Currently, Hudson works at Richland Dairy and oversees the care of the dairy’s calves. Because she earned the Elanco Fundamentals of Animal Science Certification, Hudson possesses a formative understanding of proper animal management and care, and as a result, she is self-assured in her position at Richland Dairy. Thanks to her knowledge base and skill level, Hudson is confident she will advance to higher-level positions within Richland Dairy.
Another junior at Nottoway, Devon Baugus, secured a position at a local farm after telling the owner he had earned the Elanco Fundamentals of Animal Science Certification. In his position on the farm, Baugus primarily works with the cattle herd. He feels he was more prepared for this position because he had earned the Elanco Fundamentals of Animal Science Certification. While Baugus does not plan to stay in the animal science industry after high school, he feels Elanco Fundamentals of Animal Science Certification will help him find work in other career fields.
Like Baugus, other Nottoway students do not plan to pursue a career in the animal science industry, yet they are confident the Elanco Fundamentals of Animal Science Certification will help them achieve both academic and career success. Caitlyn Allen has been interested in the medical field ever since she underwent surgery at a young age. Now a junior at Nottoway, Allen aims to become a pediatric surgeon. After earning the Elanco Fundamentals of Animal Science Certification, Allen feels she has a deeper understanding of body systems and functions and will be able to transfer that knowledge to human anatomy. Additionally, Allen was offered a shadowing position at a local veterinary clinic after the veterinarian learned she had earned the Elanco Fundamentals of Animal Science Certification.
Whether a student is planning to pursue a career in the animal science industry, looking for part-time work while still in high school or wanting to build a knowledge base, the Elanco Fundamentals of Animal Science Certification can be used as a catalyst to propel students toward new employment opportunities. By earning the Elanco Fundamentals of Animal Science Certification, these Nottoway students have proven their knowledge and skills, opening new doors to a variety of experiences and catapulting them toward a successful future in whatever career path they choose to follow.