Student Earns International Recognition in Science

Jesse Shepherd

Jesse Shepherd competed in the International Science and Engineering Fair in May. He won Second Place in Animal Sciences, earning $2,000 and a full tuition to the University of Arizona. 

Approximately 1,900 students qualified and competed at the 2021 Virtual Regeneron ISEF.

 Jesse finished in the top 40 students. 

“I am so excited to represent Spanish Fork and the State of Utah for the third time,” Jesse said. 

Jesse’s project studied the quantity of antibodies in egg yolks compared to the antibody count of sera for Infectious Bronchitis Virus, Newcastle Disease Virus, Avian Encephalomyelitis, and Mycoplasma gallicepticum, all of which are viruses of concern in the commercial poultry industry. 

He collected more than 1,500 data points and was able to create a procedure to accurately test egg yolks for antibodies for the aforementioned viruses, a procedure that could potentially revolutionize antibody testing in poultry throughout the world, making it easier for farmers, veterinarians, and laboratories. 

It would also prove to be a satisfactory procedure for animal rights and anti-vivisection groups. 

Jesse received more than $7,000 in funding from the Western Poultry Scholarship and Research Foundation of the California Poultry Federation and Pacific Egg and Poultry Association, Farm Credit and National FFA and various private donors. 

Recently, Jesse received the opportunity to publish a paper for the project through the Western Poultry Disease Conference. He was also able to present his research at the conference, which was made available to poultry veterinarians throughout the United States, Mexico, and Canada. 

Jesse is the youngest person to ever attend or present at the conference in its 70 years of running. 

He presented among leading poultry veterinarians from throughout the world. 

Awards attributed to his project included the Utah FFA Agriscience-Animal Systems 1st Place Winner. The project will advance to National FFA in October. He placed first at the Nebo School District Science Fair and received the Nebo Distinguished Award of Excellence for devoting more than 100 hours to STEM research, using a mentor in the field of study (Dr. Mark C. Bland, DVM, MS, Diplomate, American College of Poultry Veterinarians and Dr. David D. Frame, DVM, MS, Diplomate, American College of Poultry Veterinarians) and for qualifying for the International Science and Engineering Fair twice. 

Jesse will be continuing his research this summer and will publish in Poultry Science, the leading journal in the poultry and agriculture industries. (Serve Daily submission.)

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