Brookings, S.D. – McKenna Sick of Carson, Iowa, is a sophomore majoring in animal science and working to obtain her swine certificate at South Dakota State University. Sick received the Outstanding Swine Education and Research Facility Student Employee Award at the 2023 SDSU Animal Science Banquet.
“I like working at the swine unit because I get to learn about all aspects of raising pigs for market on a larger scale than I was used to,” said Sick. “I get to learn how to care for the animals and utilize different technologies in the barn that make our job easier.”
Sick’s passion for the swine industry comes from her involvement in showing swine on the county, state, and national levels. Sick said, “I have been showing pigs since I was nine and now have my sow herd at home where I raise and sell the offspring.”
Dr. Dick Nicolai, a Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering Professor, established the Outstanding Swine Education and Research Facility Student Employee Award. Before pursuing his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in his 50s, Nicolai and his wife Jeune spent most of their lives farming near Hector, Minnesota, and pork production was a mainstay of their operation.
Nicolai and his partners have established this award to recognize young people who have a passion for the swine industry and good leadership ability and work ethic demonstrated while working at the SDSU Swine Education and Research Facility. Each semester an outstanding student employee at the Swine Education and Research Facility will be selected and receive a $500 check and plaque.
“McKenna was awarded because of her reliability, work ethic, willing attitude, and inquisitiveness,” said Aaron Prinz, SDSU Swine Unit Manager. “She is always willing to put in extra effort to get the job done, and she asks lots of questions so that she can learn and understand expectations.”
Sick said that she appreciates the award because it showcases swine unit student employees’ hard work within the industry and at the unit.