Student Spotlight: Abigail Tack ‘23

Abigail smiling at the camera.
Abigail Tack ’23

Abigail Tack ‘23 is an animal science major with a minor in business from Humble, Texas. She is a member of the Meat Judging Team at Texas A&M University that recently won the national championships, and she wrote a blog about her experience on this team that can be read on the LAUNCH Honors Blog. This experience is something she describes fondly, especially regarding how important her fellow Aggie teammates are to her:

In the end, we are a team, and we will win together and lose together. Before every contest we sing the Aggie War Hymn. Considering that the contests started at 5:30 am this was always a fun experience. We Whoop together before we leave any cooler, whether it is at practice or a contest.

Abigail Tack ’23

Abigail has also participated in undergraduate research through LAUNCH’s Undergraduate Research Scholars thesis program. Her research worked to identify the difference in metabolites present in the blood of Angus and Brahman steers that were raised in different temperatures. These metabolites can then be used in predicting and impacting postmortem quality of the meat once the cattle have been slaughtered. Abigail has also participated in several other LAUNCH programs, including Innovation[X], University Scholars, and University Honors. When she graduates, Abigail intends to pursue a master’s degree in meat science.

Here is what Abigail had to say about her experiences:

What do you hope to learn/accomplish during your time in internship/fellowship/programs and how do you think it will help your goals for the future?

I learned a lot about technical and scientific writing through this experience that have helped me in understanding the process and rigor of academic research.

Why did you decide to pursue higher education (i.e. – why did you decide to go to college?) Who or what influenced your decision?

I decided to go to college because I thought it offered a way to not only better myself academically, but to also gain the opportunities to test and discover what I actually wanted to do in my future, as a career.

Have your career goals/post-graduation hopes changed over the course of your time at A&M? If yes, please explain

Yes, I initially wanted to go to college for four years and then go into the workforce, but now I have the opportunity to enhance my education further and that has expanded my career goals.

If you could offer some retrospective advice for incoming freshmen, what would you tell them?

Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. It is intimidating, I know, but when you sit back you are missing so many opportunities that this college experience presents to you. So get involved and don’t hold yourself back.

Who or what started you on your research journey? What inspired you to do your research?

I met a girl who also went to Texas A&M a year ahead of me at the Reciprocal Meat Conference in the summer of 2021. She had done undergraduate research the past year, and talking to her got me excited and interested in doing research.

Who has helped you throughout your research journey? Talk about any mentors, friends, family, advisors, etc. (include department if applicable).

My mentor, Dr. Kerth, and the rest of the Meat Science program was very supportive and helpful to me during my research journey. My friend who inspired me, Makenna, was also very supportive when I felt overwhelmed. The 2022 Meat Judging Team was also a strong support system that encouraged me through my research.

What was it like to complete your research alongside your TAMU classes? What TAMU resources were most helpful to your research?

Having been required to write technically in a lot of my classes, I felt more comfortable than I anticipated when writing my undergraduate thesis. The University Writing Center was very helpful in helping me not overlook smaller mistakes in my paper.

If you could do anything differently or give tips to help others, what would you do differently in regards to your research process? [Is there a time you failed doing research? What happened? Remember research is a process]

I created a misconception for myself that I had more time than I did, and that led to more unnecessary stress closer to the deadline. So I would plan on everything taking longer than you anticipate.

Is there anything you would like the general public to know about research, or your specific area of research (creative writing, business, biology, etc

There is so much time and research that goes into the products you see on a day to day basis, including meat, that typically goes overlooked. I think it is exciting to dig deeper and understand the hows and whys of things that seem simple.

Did your experiences as an undergraduate researcher impact your trajectory in college? Have those experiences impacted what you are doing now?

Completing undergraduate research made me feel less afraid of graduate school as an option, and I am now looking to complete a master’s degree in meat science.

Want to start a research project of your own? Learn more about the Undergraduate Research Scholars thesis program and how LAUNCH can help you develop your project.

Learn more about how to become a University Honors student through LAUNCH.