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Fall 2009 - Farm

Destination Purdue > Fall 2009 - Farm

Farm follows sorority sister to her house

By Courtney Schooler

Katie Bennett

Photo by Courtney Schooler

Katie Bennett, a sophomore animal science major from Boston, works with a beef steer at a Purdue research farm. As part of her classes, Bennett also has delivered a lamb and inseminated a chicken.

Katie Bennett lives a double life. By day, you might find her on a Purdue Agriculture research farm with her hands on a cow udder. By night, you could find her at a Delta Gamma sorority dance.

The sophomore animal science major with a pronounced Boston accent will tell you she is quite the city gril, but her love of animals brought her to Purdue with hopes of one day attending veterinary school. Although she worked at an animal clinic in Boston, she encountered more dogs and cats than livestock.

"I never thought I would be going to farms, milking cows and tagging pig ears, but it's great," she said. Her enthusiasm for her new life is something she loves sharing with other members of her sorority. She's been known to explain the details of artificial insemination at dinner to her friends. Her fellow sorority members will admit to being grossed out by Bennett's lessons - and the strange scent that followed her home after her first day of milking cows - but they're also intrigued by the way she introduces them to the new world of animal science.

"I could've shown pictures of me artificially inseminating a chicken, but I think by sorority sisters would be embarassed by what I'm actually doing to the chicken," Bennett joked.

At other times, her excitement takes over. "She woke me up with a text message of excitement after she delivered lambs," said Emma Delain, a sophomore management and marketing major from Viejo, Calif. "I couldn't be mad at her because she was so happy."

"Most of my sisters don't freak with excitement when they have to go work with farm animals," said Catie Diest, a sophomore movement and sport sciences major from Warrenville, Ill. "She doesn't care if what she is doing is out of the ordinary. She loves it and that's all that matters."

Of course, Bennett didn't always freak over farm animals, either. Before coming to Purdue, her only connection to farm life was visiting her grandparents' horse farm. But those experiences were enough to spark her interest. Now, Bennett said, every day is an exciting adventure. "That's the great thing about college," said Bennett. "It gives you the opportunity to have those experiences and make decisions regarding your major based on not only the things you learn, but also your experiences."

Those experiences extend to the sorority. Bennett describes the sorority house as a sanctuary for learning - whether she's talking about her animal science adventures or listening to her friends talk about their experiences. "I enjoy having a social outlet that is removed from my major," Bennett said. "Sometimes you just need a house full of 80 girls, some of hwom are your very best friends."

It isn't rare to get excited about the things they love, but Bennett's friends may think it's unusual that her passion sometimes involves sticking her arm, shoulder deep, into an animal.

"She is so genuine," said Emily Hansen, a sophomore biological science major from Lansing, Ill., and a fellow member of Bennett's sorority. "She cares about everyone and every animal; she's going to make a fabulous vet someday."