VanValin joins UKREC at Princeton

Dr. Katie VanValin is the newest faculty member to join the University of Kentucky Research and Education Center at Princeton. She assumed the position of Assistant Extension Professor in Animal and Food Science on Jan. 2, 2020.

Born in Bowling Green, Ky., she spent most of her childhood in Michigan. She returned to the Bluegrass State and attended Western Kentucky University, where she double majored in agriculture and chemistry. After graduation, she attended Virginia Tech and earned her master’s degree in cow-calf nutrition where she studied fescue toxicosis in cow-calf pairs. She earned her Ph.D. at Iowa State University in 2019 researching mineral nutrition of feedlot cattle. She also performed postdoctoral research at Iowa State University for six months.

Dr. VanValin’s interest in animal science came naturally. She grew up around her grandparent’s family farm operation, which included cattle and then eventually transitioned into row crops. When it was time to make a career choice, she said animal science was a field of study she was both passionate about and enjoyed.

“I enjoy working with people that enjoy working with animals as well,” Dr. VanValin said. “I enjoy the challenges that it brings, but the opportunity to improve animal agriculture and provide food for our population.”

In addition to developing Extension programming and working with county agents and producers across the Bluegrass, Dr. VanValin will oversee the research herd at the UKREC farm at Princeton and collaborate with colleagues regarding ongoing research projects. She also will develop her own research program and is interested in the role of trace mineral supplementation in the cow-calf sector.

In her free time, one of her favorite activities is horseback riding. She and her husband, Jacob, also enjoy hunting, fishing and spending as much time as they can outdoors. The couple resides in Caldwell County.