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By Daniella Garcia-Loos Almeida ’25
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  • Animal Science
  • Agriculture
  • Animals
  • Dairy

Blake Nguyen is a lecturer in the Cornell CALS Department of Animal Science and the director of Teaching Dairy Barn at the College of Veterinary Medicine. We sat down with Nguyen to learn more about his experiences in the role.

What is your role in the management of the Teaching Dairy Barn? 

In my role as the director of the Teaching Dairy Barn, I oversee a team of full-time staff and veterinary students to ensure the optimal care of the cows and smooth operations of the facility. Effective management allows the barn to be an educational resource for our students and visitors.

What led you to these roles?

My background is ‌unique for academia. I am a 2012 graduate of Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine. After vet school I was a private practitioner in northern Vermont where I took my truck from farm to farm, responding to emergency calls and assisting farms with their herd health management.

After four years of private practice, I learned about this exciting opportunity to teach students and manage a dairy operation at Cornell. I don’t have a typical research background like many faculty, but I am just as passionate about trying to get my knowledge and skills out there to help students discover agriculture.

What Animal Science classes do you teach?

ANSC 3540: Dairy Cattle Herd Health occurs in the fall which teaches students health management in dairy herds.

In the spring, I teach ANSC 2500: Dairy Cattle Principles. We touch on a wide variety of topics, such as the biology of the cow to the business and market dynamics of dairy food systems.

“My favorite thing about what I do at Cornell is teaching.”

What unique hands-on experiences do you provide students?

The Teaching Dairy Barn is an amazing resource for students in any program. Animal science students regularly participate in hands-on dairy management, health activities and labs.

I’ve had tons of animal science students out at the barn performing their very first physical exam on a cow. They get to see, hear, and feel the rumen of the cow move and contract. Some students have been lucky enough to see a live birth!

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I’m pretty much all about dairy, even when I go on vacation! During my last vacation, I took a cross-country road trip visiting around a dozen dairy farms. I’m also passionate about the outdoors. I hike, waterski, and ski in the wintertime.

 

Daniella Garcia-Loos Almeida ’25 is a physics major in the College of Arts and Sciences and a student writer for Cornell CALS Department of Animal Science.

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