CFAES Give Today
Academic Programs

College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Allison R. Sanders

Allison R. Sanders Allison R. sanders

Department of Animal Sciences 
Animal Sciences - Animal Biosciences
Springfield, OH 

2023 Distinguished Senior Award Recognition Reception Program (.pdf) 

2023 Distinguished Senior Award Recipient Reception Poster (.pdf) 

Her membership on OSU’s Dairy Challenge Team provided Allison Sanders with some of her most rewarding undergraduate experiences. “What was once just a class assignment,” she reflected, “has spiraled into discovering a new career path, making 
lifelong memories, and expanding my family on campus.” Though she was unsure she was suited for the team at the outset, Allison eventually realized she had found her new home in the dairy industry. As Allison recalled, “This experience has taught me that while I may not have grown up on a dairy farm, I have a seat at the table.”

Through her service as a Peer Mentor, Allison helped give incoming freshmen a smooth transition into college life. She grew into a vocal, humane, and resourceful leader, fostering an environment open to the questions, concerns, and discussions of the students she mentored. Allison learned how to build a community composed of diverse individuals and connect students in need with available resources in the process. “My mentees kept me on my toes,” she reflected, “pushing me to be better than the day before and helping me evolve into a better version of myself.”

Undergraduate research experiences proved key to solidifying Allison’s desire to work in dairy nutrition. Her final research project with Dr. Jeffery Firkins is a dual-flow continuous culture study simulating a cow’s rumen in a glass jar. The study seeks to further the understanding of rumen microbiology, thereby improving dairy cow feeding practices. Recalling her middle school science fair project that tested nutrient availability in various dog food brands using a hot plate to simulate a dog’s stomach, Allison observed that one question has driven all her inquiries into animal nutrition—how can it be better?

Allison recognizes Dr. Benjamin Wenner as her undergraduate mentor. Allison shares, “Dr. Wenner has played a significant role helping me discover my passion for animal nutrition and the dairy industry. He has pushed me out of my comfort zone both in the classroom and in the field (or in this case barn). As my academic advisor and Dairy Challenge coach, he continuously challenges me to learn more than I did the day before while entertaining my many questions. I am grateful for his guidance and advise as I prepare for my next adventure, and look forward to working in the industry with him down the road!”

With her sights set on a graduate degree in animal nutrition, Allison seeks a career as a dairy nutritionist and researcher. She hopes to work in urban communities through extension, teaching children and families about where their food comes from. Wherever Allison chooses to pursue her graduate studies, she plans to keep asking the same question that has guided her undergraduate career: how can it be better?

Service, involvement, and accolades: SPHINX Senior Class Honorary | Animal Science Community Alliance, president, secretary | CFAES Ambassador, co-chair | CFAES Peer Mentor | Collegiate 4-H at OSU, president and other leadership roles | OSU Dairy Challenge Team | CFAES Learning Community | BuckeyeThon

Allison Sanders - Press Release