Student Spotlight - Ashani Hamilton
Ashani Hamilton graduates from Southern Illinois University Carbondale with a Bachelor of Science degree in animal science, and several years of research experience. He’s worked on projects involving catfish, horses and goats, and is currently conducting research on white-tailed deer. A winner of multiple scholarships, Hamilton plans to work toward his goal of becoming a research veterinarian.
Hamilton began researching with faculty mentors his first year at SIU when he began working with Brian Small at the Center for Fisheries, Aquaculture and Aquatic Sciences on an i2i project. Ideas to Investigation, or i2i, is an industry-based research program in the College of Agricultural Sciences. Hamilton’s project, “The Effects on Dietary Feed Intake, Growth Rate and CCK expression in Channel Catfish When Fed Soybean Meal,” may result in publication, in collaboration with Small.
Hamilton’s next research project focused on goats, the favored animal of his childhood. Hamilton turned to Karen Jones, chair of the Department of Plant, Soil and Agricultural Sciences, as his mentor in the McNair Research Scholarship program.
“I told him, ‘Well, Ashani, we don’t have goats at SIU,’ but he’s really good at capitalizing on his connections,” Jones said. “He’d fallen in love with horses and was always at the SIU horse barns. While there, he made some connections with people who have goats, and that was enough to get him started.”
Hamilton also got in contact with the American Boer Goat Association and focused on goats belonging to that breed. He conducted a survey of Boer goat breeders within a four-hour driving radius from SIU, noting their farm and breeding management techniques and using the information, and fecal samples, to study best practices for managing internal parasites. He presented his research, “Impacts of Genetic Selection on the Parasitic Immunity of Goats,” at the 2014 McNair Scholars Research Symposium, where he earned fourth place, and at the 2015 Center for Undergraduate Creative Activities and Research Forum, where he placed first out of 63 entries.
Hamilton plans to continue his goat research at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. He’s working now with Jones to write a grant for research similar to what he’ll do with his adviser at NCA&T State University.
Ultimately, Hamilton hopes to become a research veterinarian. “I find that I really love research,” Hamilton said. “I think I need more experience with it, and that will help me to mature academically.”