Senior Heather Buchhop Presents at National Conference on Undergraduate Research
Profile written by Maggie Mills, a communication and animal science major and communications assistant in University Relations
A soon-to-be University of Minnesota Crookston alumna is headed to graduate school. Senior Heather Buchhop, Cary, Ill., knows hard work pays off as she double majors in animal science, (pre-veterinary emphasis) and biology with a minor in chemistry and graduate school at Purdue University just months away.
Undergraduate research has been an important part of Buchhop’s collegiate success. She knew research would be a chance to gain valuable hands-on experience. Buchhop read an article published last summer about entropion in sheep, a genetic condition in which a portion of the eyelid is inverted. The article sparked Buchhop’s interest, and she decided to test the hypothesis using the sheep herd on campus.
Buchhop’s research focuses on the possibility of specific genes being linked to the deformity in eyelids by comparing gene sequences from blood samples—making this research a perfect combination of Buchhop’s interest in research, hands-on experience, and working with animals. With the assistance of faculty members Anthony Schroeder, Terrill Bradford, Mandy Gudvangen, and Leslie Lekatz, her research is well on its way. It will wrap up as Buchhop presents her results at the National Conference of Undergraduate Research (NCUR) in Memphis, Tennessee, in early April.
Last spring, she conducted research with Assistant Professor Abdorrahman Alghamdi looking at the relationship between parasite content and the practice of deworming in horses. Buchhop presented her research with Alghamdi at the NCUR conference in 2016. She is the only student from the Crookston campus who has presented at NCUR twice.
Research has been such an instrumental part of learning for Buchhop. After years of experience, Buchhop states, “If anybody has not considered graduate school, consider it. And if you have, do not be afraid to go for it. Take advantage of every opportunity that is thrown at you, and if opportunities are not readily available, go out there and look for them. Hard work really pays off in the end.”
Besides the hands-on experience she has had in school, Buchhop interned one summer and worked the following summer at Algonquin Animal Clinic in Illinois focusing primarily on small animals and avian medicine. The work there expanded Buchhop’s knowledge but also gave her an edge for graduate school. Her love of helping animals and her ability to problem solve have been apparent her whole life.
Outside of research, Buchhop enjoys her time serving as the president of Pre-Vet Club and secretary for Alpha Lambda Delta, all while planning her upcoming wedding in May.
The University of Minnesota Crookston now delivers 34 bachelor's degree programs, 22 minors, and 40 areas of emphasis on campus as well as 14 degree programs entirely online. These degrees are offered in the areas of agriculture and natural resources; business; liberal arts and education; and math, science and technology. With an enrollment of 1,800 undergraduates from more than 20 countries and 40 states, the Crookston campus offers a supportive, close-knit atmosphere that leads to a prestigious University of Minnesota degree. "Small Campus. Big Degree." To learn more, visit www.umcrookston.edu.