Student Spotlight: Melissa Sacher

Fall 2020

Melissa Sacher is a Sophomore at the University of Florida in the University Scholars Program. On campus, she is the Treasurer for UF Minority Pre-Vet Students, Reporter for UF Dairy Science Club, and a member of UF Hillel. Her research project is entitled: Unraveling changes in mammary gland development due to in utero heat stress. Below are a summary of Melissa’s project, experience with research, and plan for the future.

Summary of Research Project: During this past summer and the beginning of fall semester, I traveled to Hilltop Dairy where I collected data on respiratory rates and skin temperatures of heat stressed and cooled cows. When the calves were born, I helped harvest tissues of 16 euthanized calves. Currently, I feed the remaining 50 calves and help collect measurements on them.

Why did you get started in undergraduate research? After joining the UF Dairy Science Club and enrolling in a couple of dairy science courses, I became extremely interested in the dairy industry.

How has your research experience shaped your undergraduate career? This research project has given me a reason to keep moving forward during these unprecedented times. Several times a week, I wake up at 5 am to feed calves, and it puts a smile on my face in the mornings.

What advice would you give someone interested in undergraduate research? Even if a student feels ill knowledgable or unprepared to become involved, I would advise them to reach out. Many graduate students and professors are eager to share their experience and knowledge with undergraduate students.

What are your plans for the future? I plan to attend veterinary school.