OSU Animal Welfare Judging Team Wins Top Awards at AVMA Contest

Nov. 28, 2022

On November 19th and 20th, The OSU Animal Welfare Judging Team travelled to North Carolina State University to compete in the annual Animal Welfare Assessment Contest (AWJAC), hosted by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Coached by CHAIRE Member Zach England, assisted by Madeline Winans (CHAIRE Program Coordinator), the team had another very successful year at the contest, competing amongst 225 total participants from 23 different universities across North America.

Held in-person for the first time since 2019, AWJAC “teaches students to assess the welfare of animals in a variety of settings using science-based methods and reasoning. Students are given the opportunity to weigh evidence and present sound evaluations. This contest ensures that tomorrow's leaders in the animal industries develop strong communication skills and acquire enhanced knowledge of animal welfare” (www.awjac.org).

This year's team reached a record high number, with over 30 students participating in the pre-contest preparation throughout the semester, and 15 of those students travelling to compete (the maximum number allowed per university). Students were primarily from the Department of Animal Sciences, as well as the College of Veterinary Medicine.

Team members included: 

  • Undergraduate Junior Team 1: Lauren Zimmerman, Alex Tanner, Emily Morris, Shelby Jones
  • Undergraduate Junior Team 2: Jake Bushong, Michael Zuccaro, Iris Mackenzie, Megan Hohman, Christina Adams
  • Undergraduate Senior Team: Phia Maddocks, Elizabeth Schafer, Jessie Bouterse, Nicole Pickard
  • Graduate Student Invidivual: Brenna Braasch
  • Veterinary Student Individual: Shannon Kelley
  • Non-Competing Team Members:
    • Undergraduate: Emily Schafer, Sarah Doner, Alyssa Leano, Jordan Acuna, Matthew Adkins, Ryan Flax, Dominic Uddowlah, Dominic Doxsey, Grace Peters, Madeline French, Alexis Holsinger, Abigail Lowe, Nicole Williams
    • Graduate: Hannah Maggard, Nicole Lorig, Demilade Ibiwoye
    • Veterinary: Robin Zendejas, Brad Hogshead

Group of people standing in front of a wall, smiling at camera, several people holding award plaques

This year's contest featured scenarios in which students had to assess the welfare of show chickens, dairy-beef cattle, and octopuses in aquariums through virtual scenarios, as well as complete an in-person welfare assessment of dogs and cats in an animal shelter, and present their findings to a panel of experts.

Individual winners in the Undergraduate Junior Division included:

  • 2nd place: Iris Mackenzie, The Ohio State University
  • 3rd place: Megan Hohman, The Ohio State University
  • 5th place: Shelby Jones, The Ohio State University

Team winners in the Undergraduate Junior Division included:

  • 2nd place: The Ohio State University, Team 2
  • 4th place: The Ohio State University, Team 1

Individual winners in the Undergraduate Senior Division included:

  • 2nd place: Jessie Bouterse, The Ohio State University
  • 4th place: Elizabeth Schafer, The Ohio State University

Team winners in the Undergraduate Senior Division included:

  • 1st place: The Ohio State University

Top Placing Individuals in the Live Assessment were:

  • Veterinary Individual: Shannon Kelley, The Ohio State University

Four people standing, two center are holding a wooden framed award plaque

A full list of winners and more information about the contest can be found here: 2022 AWJAC Press Release

Please join us in congratulating the team on another incredibly successful contest!