Reaching for Research

Eldon FFA member Destinie Tunis wins State Star in Agriscience while preparing for career success throughout her SAE.

Part of the National FFA Organization’s mission is to prepare students for career success. Whether it’s through participating in public speaking, holding a chapter office or attending a leadership conference, members have a multitude of opportunities to prepare for the future throughout their time in the organization. Missouri FFA’s State Star in Agriscience has chosen to prepare for her future through her Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE). Destinie Tunis of the Eldon FFA Chapter has conducted three agriscience research projects relating to either human or animal health.

 

“For my sophomore year science research project, I was testing Mus musculus (Mice) to see if certain prenatal diets affect the weight of offspring as they age,” Tunis says. “Last year for my

research project, I tested Gromphadorhina portentosa (Madagascar hissing cockroach) to see if 1550 Borate Glass would reduce scarring and increase the rate of healing time in thermal injuries. For this year’s project, I am testing the antimicrobial effects of various animals’ saliva to see if it can be used as an alternative treatment for antibiotic resistant bacteria.”

 

Like most students, Tunis has experienced challenges throughout her SAE. These roadblocks serve as real-life learning opportunities requiring real-life solutions. This year, one challenge was access to the saliva she was hoping to test.

 

“Because of the rules and guidelines that I follow, I could not obtain the (saliva) samples myself,” she says. “I contacted Dr. Kathy at the Lake Pet Hospital in Eldon and asked for assistance. She could collect the saliva samples for me during regular and safe procedures performed by her and her staff, but because working with larger animals doesn’t happen very often for her, I was lucky to have been able to get saliva samples from a horse, pig and cow.”

 

In addition to overcoming challenges, one of the goals Tunis set for her SAE was to turn her research projects into a future career. She is on track to do just that.

 

Currently in the process of becoming a member of the U.S Army Reserve, Tunis plans to go to Basic Training. She also plans to attend college to major in biomedical sciences and earn her PhD in Science for both health and medicine and STEM. Her career goal is to continue medical research to benefit both humans and animals.

-by Brandelyn Martin Twellman

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