University of Kentucky College of Agriculture

Undergraduate Research Assistants

Graduate and Undergraduate Research Assistants are an essential part of the dairy research program in the University of Kentucky Department of Animal and Food Sciences. If you are interested in joining the dairy research team, please contact Dr. Jeffrey Bewley (


Undergraduate Research Assistants







Kerri Bochantin is a freshman majoring in Animal Science. She is interested in learning about a new aspect of the livestock industry and its impact on agriculture. She currently assists in mastitis research.



Andy Carter is a junior at UK majoring in animal sciences/pre-vet from Louisville, KY. His passion for animals started with herpetology and animal husbandry. However, he chose to work with dairy to broaden his knowledge in research and large animals. He currently assists with data analysis and heat detection.




Alison DiGennaro is a sophomore majoring in Biology and minoring in Animal Science from Mason, OH. She became interested in dairy through some of her animal science classes. Alison aspires to become a veterinarian and is looking forward to gaining some large animal and research experience.



Eileen Donoghue is a junior at UK majoring in Animal Science/Pre-vet. She is originally from Frederick, Maryland, and gained an interest in the dairy industry when she first started taking animal science courses at UK. Eileen assists with research detecting differences in locomotion scores of cows housed varying freestall bases.



Megan Hardy is a junior majoring in Animal Sciences. She was born and raised in Lexington and is actively engaged in the dairy research team at UK. Megan's experience has led her to developing her own research in calving detection and timing of dairy cattle.


 Shayna Jeffries is from Henry County, KY. She is a junior at the University of Kentucky majoring in Community And Leadership Development. She is a research assistant at the Dairy helping with milk sampling, heat watch, and fresh cow exams. She was born on a dairy farm and grew up on a beef farm and currently show Registered Angus and Simmental cattle and enjoy anything that deals with cows and advocating for agriculture.

Katie Kelly majors in Animal Science and minors in Biology at UK. She is originally from Amelia, OH and has a background in equine. Katie joined the dairy research team to gain experience in dairy because she now aspires to work in the dairy industry. Currently, she assists with research focusing on estrus detection.



Jamie Leistner is a junior Animal Science major from Ashland, KY. Jamie aspires to one day become a veterinarian. While she has never had any experience in the dairy industry, she is passionate about all animals and cannot wait to gain experience! Jamie is currently assisting with research using precision dairy technologies for transition cow detection.

Emily Lunsford is a freshman from Leesburg, Virginia and grew up on a small horse farm. She is interested in large animal research and diagnostics. She currently is an undergraduate assistant with the Dairy Precisions for Decisions project with mastitis, estrus, lameness, and fresh cow detection.





Savannah Meade is a junior Animal Science student with a minor in Biological Science from Betsy Layne, Kentucky. She originally was introduced to dairy her freshman year, when she just happened to see a "LegenDairy Olympics" flyer. After attending the olympics she knew that the world of dairy science was one for her. This year she's starting her own research project studying correlations between milk quality testing technologies. She's interested in mastitis and milk quality.


Mickayla Myers is a sophomore from Ferrisburgh, VT. She is an Animal Science Dairy Speciality major at the University of Kentucky. She is currently assisting with research culturing bedding sample to compare composted bedding pack barns and sand freestalls.

Kelli Powers is from Columbus, OH, currently a junior at UK majoring in Equine Science/PreVet. She plans to apply for vet school and is eager to diversify her experience with animals. She comes from a background in equine. Kelli hopes to deepen her knowledge in animal science while assisting with the Dairy Precisions for Decisions project with mastitis, estrus, lameness, and fresh cow detection.

Haley Reichenbach is a Sophomore Equine Science/Pre-Vet student from Stanford, KY. She enjoys working at a local veterinary office and on her family farm. Currently, she volunteers with mastitis sampling and work with fresh cows. 




Alexis Thompson is a junior studying Animal Science/Pre-Vet with emphases in Dairy Sciences and Animal Industry from Glendale, AZ. She has participated in undergraduate research since her freshman year. Alexis is currently working on a foot care study looking at various products and their effects on digital dermatitis.

Carissa Truman majors in Animal Science at UK. She is originally from Lynchburg, OH. Carissa started working with dairy through Block & Bridle and wanted to continue gaining experience with the dairy research group. She currently assists with milk sampling.


Mauricio Xavier is a senior studying Animal Science at UK and Federal University of Bahia. He is a visiting student from the Northeast region of Brazil. Mauricio started to work with dairy research since he was a freshman in Brazil, on 2010. His research interests consist mainly of animal nutrition and reproduction.