For the past four years, the Chobani Scholars Program has supported students from dairy farming backgrounds who are pursuing careers in dairy. This year, with its new focus on supporting historically underserved students who have a broad set of agricultural interests, including food and agricultural innovation, the program has selected four College of Agriculture and Life Sciences undergraduate students from New York as Chobani scholars; they will receive $20,000 scholarships ($5,000 per year). Below, two of them share what they’ve learned in their first year at CALS and what they hope for the future.
Alina Randolph ’25
Animal science major from Mount Vernon, New York
Looking back on your first year in CALS, what experience has been most meaningful or memorable to you?
My shifts at Ezra’s farm were memorable, due to the high level of exposure to farm animals I was able to have. To be able to work with a team of students with a similar goal in mind of learning something new was extremely meaningful to me. It reminded me of an industry built by people, to take care of what we were blessed with and maintain a stewardship mindset when it comes to the agricultural and environmental industries. Cleaning up pig pens and sticking our arms in cow ruminants was a bonding experience, to say the least.
What do you think is important for others to know about the dairy industry?
Ignorance can be bliss but also extremely dangerous. It is crucial to inform people about the dairy industry so distance does not create a physical and mental barrier. Many people should at least have a basic understanding of the industry to know where they are getting their products from and how those products were produced. Populations not knowing about dairy practices can lead to great distrust between consumers and buyers, which does not benefit anyone in the long run.
Ariana Rivera-Corona ’25
Animal science major from Puerto Rico and Watertown, New York
Why is it important to you to pursue a career in animal science?
I spent most of my childhood in and out of hospitals. While in the hospital, I was first introduced to service animals. They would come in every week simply to spend time with the other kids and me, providing emotional support and distractions. Once I got healthier and was finally away from hospital stays, I witnessed the stray animal crisis in Puerto Rico and how the animals that once helped me were living in the streets in inhumane conditions, experiencing the same feelings of pain that I once felt. Consequently, I made it my mission to give to them what they gave to me when I was little. This is precisely why pursuing a career in veterinary medicine is so important to me. I want to be able to give back to the community that helped me; my goal is that one day I can become the type of doctor that, metaphorically, these animals were once to me.
How is the Chobani scholarship supporting your career goals?
I am genuinely grateful for this opportunity because it has allowed me to focus on my career during the summer, which will provide me with formal experience in my field of interest. I have been offered an internship in a veterinary hospital in Watertown, New York. During my first few weeks I will be working with various vets within different fields, including a large animal veterinarian with whom I will be traveling and assisting. For the remainder of my internship I will be working as a veterinary technician assistant at the clinic. Beyond this opportunity, I will also learn the different aspects of what it takes to manage a veterinary clinic, as I am hoping to one day go back to Puerto Rico and open my own practice.
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