SDSU Student Jamie Parham wins Beef Improvement Federation Frank Baker Award

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Farm Forum

BROOKINGS, S.D. – Jamie Parham, graduate student at South Dakota State University’s College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences, was awarded the Beef Improvement Federation (BIF) Frank Baker Award during the organization’s annual convention held in Biloxi, Miss., June 9-12.

Parham was awarded a $1,000 scholarship for her essay entitled, “The effect of discovery bias on genomic selection and why it can no longer be ignored.” Her submission was based on the research project she is currently conducting.

“My project deals with the accuracy of genomic selection,” said Parham. “I am researching ways to make the genomic part of the breeding values, not necessarily more accurate, but closer to their true accuracy by accounting for discovery bias. Making estimates of breeding values more accurate will be beneficial to all aspects of the beef industry.”

The BIF convention serves to facilitate discussion and provide education on current issues facing the beef industry and relay information to beef producers about research being conducted. Parham was one of only two essay scholarship winners.

Dr. Joe Cassady, SDSU Animal Science Department Head and former BIF executive director, has mentored Parham as a graduate student at SDSU.

“Jamie Parham is a very talented student,” said Cassady. “Her work ethic, in combination with her intelligence, has her off to a fast start toward a very bright, promising career in beef cattle genetics.”

Parham, who is originally from North Carolina, earned her bachelors degree in animal science at North Carolina State University. While there, she met Dr. Cassady, who encouraged her to pursue a master’s degree in animal breeding and genetics at SDSU.

“I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for Dr. Cassady,” said Parham. “He has a way of seeing the potential in students and helping them live up to that. I respect him a lot for everything he has done for me and all his graduate students.”

The BIF meetings provide graduate students like Parham the opportunity to network and meet beef industry leaders from throughout the United States and internationally.

“Receiving the Frank Baker Award is a step forward into my future career,” said Parham. “Being included on the list of people who have won the award is a high honor and I am very grateful to be selected for this scholarship.”