Stacie (Gould) Matchan (Research Program Manager 2013 – 2020). Stacie grew up in Omaha, NE where she graduated from Burke High School and then enrolled at Iowa State University in Animal Science. Upon arrival at Iowa State, she began working in Dr Annette O’Connor’s lab in the College of Veterinary Medicine. Upon graduation in 2012, she continued to work there until she joined the Applied Swine Nutrition team in August of 2013, as the research program manager. Stacie was responsible for all aspects of research in the ASN program, including verifying data quality. She is assisting Dr. Patience in the coordination of the International Conference on Swine Nutrition. She is currently employed by the Iowa Pork Industry Center as an Extension Program Specialist; one of her key roles in this position is to assist in the planning of Iowa Swine Day. Stacie and her husband Ben live in Gilbert, IA with their three dogs. Quiet and effective, Stacie is ideal for her job, as she simply gets the job done. No need to ask her twice to do something, and she often thinks of a better way to to do it too.


Leigh Ruckman (M.S., 2021). Leigh is from Troy, Illinois near St. Louis, Missouri. Leigh earned her B.S. in animal sciences from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 2017 where she developed an interest in swine and animal nutrition. During college, she worked as a student research assistant in a swine biomedical lab and interned with Smithfield Hog Production in Missouri. She also was an undergraduate teaching assistant for the animal feeds and feeding course and assisted graduate students with their swine reproduction trials. She completed her M.S. degree with Dr. Patience in the spring of 2021. Leigh is currently employed as a swine nutrition analyst at Provimi – NA.

Thesis title: The impact of specialty protein ingredients on nursery pig performance and health


Amy Petry (Ph.D., 2020). Amy grew up in the ‘Cutting Horse Capital of the World’ known as Weatherford, Texas. As such, it is no surprise that she grew up riding and judging horses and even won a Collegiate National Horse Judging Championship while completing her associate degree at North Central Texas College. Amy completed her B.S. and M.S. degrees from Texas Tech University in 2015 and 2017, respectively. While an undergrad at TTU, Amy did undergraduate research with pigs, and from these experiences she found her passion for the swine industry and nutrition. Amy has collaborated with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Alberta in Canada to complete some of her lab work and was funded through a USDA-AFRI National Needs Fellowship. She completed her PhD under Dr. Patience in 2020 and has joined the faculty of Animal and Sciences at Texas Tech University. There is no quit in Amy. If a job needs to be done, Amy will find a way to do it.

Dissertation title: Investigating the in vivo mechanism of action of xylanase in pigs fed diets high in insoluble fiber


Jesus Acosta (M.S., 2015; Ph.D., 2019). Jesus is from Bogotá D. C., Colombia. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in animal science at the National University of Colombia in Bogotá D.C. Jesus first joined the Applied Swine Nutrition Laboratory as an intern for six months in the last year of his undergraduate program. Throughout this time, he proved to be an excellent intern as well as a gifted student back in Colombia by ranking in the top 10 at the national exam in Animal Science.  Upon graduation, Jesus came back to Iowa State as a graduate student in swine nutrition, where he completed M.S. and Ph.D. programs, both under the supervision of Dr. Patience. During his graduate program, he also managed Dr. Patience’s lab for two years. After he graduated, Jesus Joined the R&D department at Novus International as a Swine Research Scientist. Jesus may be a quiet person, but don’t be fooled. Still waters run deep. For example, Jesus’ hobby is astrophotography. He has a very curious mind, and sees images for photographs that others miss. Quite a combination.

Thesis title (M.S.):  Evaluating the ability of the NE system to predict growth performance and energy utilization of growing pigs.

Dissertation title (Ph.D.): The role of carbohydrates when applying different nutritional interventions to pigs.


Spenser Becker (M.S., 2019). Spenser grew up Keota, Iowa, where she was very active in showing pigs with her sisters and parents in 4H and FFA. Her lifelong interest in pigs led her to study animal science at Oklahoma State University with an emphasis in biotechnology. While at Oklahoma State, Spenser helped found the university’s first Swine Club and was involved in the animal science undergraduate research program. Spenser came home to Iowa for graduate school, earning her M.S. under the supervision of Dr. Patience. During her M.S. program, she served as the advisor for the Block and Bridle Swine Interest Group and continued to volunteer her time with youth livestock organizations. Currently, Spenser is pursuing a Ph.D. with Dr. Laura Greiner. Spenser sets very high standards for herself – and achieves her goals.

Thesis title: Investigation of an ETEC challenge and supplementation of direct-fed microbials in weaned pigs.


Qingyun Li (Ph.D., 2018). Qingyun comes from Hebei Province located in the northern part of China. She has had a great interest in swine nutrition since her undergraduate studies in Nanjing Agricultural University, where she received her B.S. in Animal Science in June, 2012.  Due to excellent academic performance, Qingyun bypassed the national admission exam and started her master’s degree in MAFIC at the China Agricultural University, which is the best place for Chinese students to study swine nutrition. She received her M.S. in Animal Science in June of 2014 and decided to pursue a PhD degree in swine nutrition in the US with Dr. Patience. On her first airplane flight and first time out of China, Qingyun joined the Applied Swine Nutrition program in January 2015. She defended in November of 2018 and is now employed by Provimi NA as a swine nutritionist. Qingyun and her husband Kai live in Dayton, OH. We have yet to meet someone who did not genuinely like Qingyun.  We can all learn from her engaging spirit and enthusiasm for life combined with a constant desire to learn.

Dissertation title: Impact of dietary fiber and exogenous carbohydrases in weaned pigs.


Kristin Olsen (M.S., 2018). Kristin grew up on a small family farm near Elk Horn, Iowa, where she was exposed to agriculture at an early age through her dad’s small Berkshire sow herd. She was involved in showing livestock for many years in 4-H and FFA, which led her to study Animal Science. She received her bachelor’s degree from Iowa State University in May 2016. Kristin worked for Dr. Patience for a summer during her undergraduate studies and then obtained her Master’s degree in swine nutrition with him in June of 2018. After completing her M.S. degree, Kristin was hired by the Iowa Pork Industry Center as an extension program specialist. More recently, she joined Provimi – NA as a swine nutrition analyst. Kristin and her husband Nick live in Pella, IA with their son, Hans and daughter Adaline. Only her close friends and family know it, but Kristin can sing – really, really well. Not many swine nutritionists out there that can sing really well – and she does it just for the fun of it.

Thesis title: Investigating methods of evaluating swine feed additives: phytase and alternatives to antibiotic growth promoters


Nichole Huntley (Ph.D., 2018). Nichole is from Papillion, Nebraska where she grew up spending most of her free time in a horse barn. Her interest in animal nutrition developed through an opportunity in high school to study and intern in the nutrition department at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo. From that time on, her goal was to learn about nutrition across a wide variety of species and to apply that knowledge through a career as an animal nutrition research scientist. She completed her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Missouri in 2012 and 2014, respectively, the latter under the supervision of Dr. Monty Kerley. She then came to Iowa State University to pursue her PhD under the supervision of Dr. Patience, defending her dissertation in May of 2018. She is now a nutritionist for Mazuri Exotic Animal Nutrition and lives in Plattsmouth, NE with husband Matt. You want the job done right – and now? Call Nichole. Imagine someone who gets the job done and is a real pleasure to work with. That is Nichole.

Dissertation title: Swine carbohydrate metabolism in relation to dietary energy partitioning.


Alyssa Cornelison (M.S., 2017). Alyssa was raised on her parent’s farm in New Virginia, Iowa where she spent a majority of her time helping her family with the day-to-day operations. As an undergraduate at Iowa State University, Alyssa was a CALS Ambassador, an Animal Science Peer Mentor and a member of Sigma Alpha. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Animal Science in 2015.  Additionally, Alyssa interned for Iowa Select Farms and subsequently worked as a Research Associate for Iowa Select during her M.S. program. Under the supervision of Dr. Patience, she completed her M.S. degree in swine nutrition in 2017. Alyssa is now a Swine Research Assistant at Zinpro Corporation. Alyssa and her husband Max have a daughter, Leila, and son, Hazen Alyssa is that person that always seems to get the job done with no fuss and no muss – pure Iowa!

Thesis title: The impact of a naturally occurring health challenge on U.S. pork production in grow-finish pigs.


Trey Kellner (M.S., 2014; Ph.D., 2017). Trey grew up in Stockton, KS where swine nutrition sparked his interest from an early age by assisting his father who was general manager of the local co-op feed mill. He was also heavily involved in raising and showing pigs as part of the 4-H and FFA. He studied at Colby Community College on a judging and scholastic scholarship and transferred to the University of Nebraska at Lincoln to complete his B.S. in Animal Science. Trey earned All-American honors in livestock judging and in 2011 enrolled in graduate studies in swine nutrition at Iowa State University where he earned M.S. and Ph.D. degrees under the supervision of Dr. Patience. Following graduation, he joined AMVC Nutritional Services in Audubon, IA as their first swine nutritionist. Trey and his wife Heather live in Audubon, IA with their son, Theo. If Trey had to choose between eating and sleeping, or cheering for the Huskers, he would be hugely sleep deprived, and his grocery bill would be noticeably lower.

Thesis title (M.S.): Impact of dietary fat intake on carcass iodine value and pork fat quality.

Dissertation title (Ph.D.): Impact of dietary fat composition on digestion, metabolism and deposition of fat in the growing pig.


Sarah Weiland (M.S., 2017). Sarah grew up in Sheffield, Iowa. Although she did not come from an agriculture background, she became interested in animal agriculture through her class work during her bachelor’s degree at Iowa State University. While in college, Sarah served as a Teaching Assistant and Peer Mentor for the Animal Science Department for 3 years and interned for the Center for Food Security and Public Health at the College of Veterinary Medicine for 2.5 years. She received her B.S. in Animal Science from Iowa State University in December of 2014 and decided to pursue a graduate degree in swine nutrition under Dr. Patience. Her thesis  research focused on fiber digestibility and the xylanase enzyme. Upon completion of her M.S. degree in 2017, Sarah accepted a job as nutrition technician at Nutriquest where she works as part of the swine technical team. Sarah has a lot of long-term friends, which reflects back on her; one needs to be a good friend to have good friends.

Thesis title: The impact of xylanase and body weight, and their interaction, on the utilization of dietary components in swine.


Cassie (Holloway) Nilsson (M.S., 2016). Cassie was raised on a small livestock farm and fruit orchard in Darlington, MD. She was active in 4-H which contributed to her passion for livestock. She continued to build upon this passion by majoring in animal science as an undergraduate at Texas A&M University. While at Texas A&M, she was a member of the Horse Judging Team and in her senior year, she worked at Producer’s Cooperative as a Customer Service Representative and Assistant Equine Product Manager. In the summer of 2011, she interned for the National Junior Swine Association and during the summer of 2013, she interned at The Maschhoffs, LLC. Cassie completed her Master’s degree in 2016 under Dr. Patience and is now working for The Mill, which is a farm and feed business with 7 locations in Maryland and Pennsylvania. She is the General Manager of their Whiteford location and is the Pet Product Manager for all 7 locations.

Thesis title: Impact of super-dosing phytase on growth performance, energy and nutrient utilization and phytate catabolism.


Chad Pilcher (Ph.D., 2015) Chad hails from Paxton, IL, where he graduated from Paxton-Buckley-Loda High School. Growing up on the family farm, Chad had a very strong background in the show pig industry, with a particular interest in Berkshires. He graduated from the University of Illinois in 2007 and 2009 with his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees, respectively, the latter under the supervision of Dr. Mike Ellis He then interned with the Maschhoffs for 6 months before coming to Iowa State University to pursue his PhD under Dr. Patience. Chad is now employed as a swine nutritionist with Provimi NA. Chad and Amy have two daughters, Abby and Emily. Chad and Amy are big, big fans of the Fighting Illini; with the move of Nebraska to the Big 10, their cheering for the Illini has become a rivalry with the Kellners, who are equally fervent Husker fans.

Dissertation title: Manipulation and regulation of growth in the growing-finishing pig.


Nestor Gutierrez (Ph.D., 2014) Nestor is from Bogota, Colombia where he graduated from the National University in 2005 with his Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science. He earned his Master’s degree at the University of Illinois in Animal Nutrition in 2009 with Dr. Hans Stein. Upon completion of his Masters, Nestor completed his PhD under the supervision of Dr. Patience, defending his dissertation in December of 2014. After obtaining his degree, he briefly stayed with Dr. Patience as a postdoctoral  research associate until he accepted a job with Nutreco in Boxmeer, The Netherlands as a research scientist. Nestor is now Global Swine Nutritionist with Nutreco. Nestor and Olga live in Nijmegen, The Netherlands and have two sons, Sebastian and Santiago. Nestor was a natural leader of his fellow graduate students; his dedication to science, his thoughtful nature and his latin charm endeared him to all who got to work with him.

Dissertation title: Quantification of digestive utilization of dietary fiber from corn co-products in growing pigs.


Monica Newman M.S., 2014) Monica is from Menasha, Wisconsin. During her undergraduate career, Monica studied abroad in Spain and later was employed as an intern on Dr. Patience’s team. When she completed her B.S. degree, she entered graduate school under the supervision of Dr. Patience. She completed her M.S. degree in 2014 and then moved to Austria to pursue her PhD at the University of Vienna, studying under the supervision of Dr. Metzler.

Thesis title: Defining the energy and nutrient content of corn grown in drought-stressed conditions and determining the relationship between energy content of corn and the response of growing pigs to xylanase supplementation.


Amanda Elsbernd (M.S., 2014) Amanda is from Decorah, Iowa where she graduated from Decorah High School in 2006. She then went on to Iowa State University and obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science and International Agriculture in 2010.  In 2011, she pursued her Master’s degree under Dr. Patience in swine nutrition, completing her program in 2014. During her time with Dr. Patience, she had the opportunity to intern with Dr. Dean Boyd at the Hanor Company; Hanor like her so much that after graduation, they hired her as their Iowa region nutritionist where she remains to this day. Amanda took great pride in her thesis research, just as she did in her family – the epitome of work-life balance.

Thesis title: Nutrient utilization, pork quality, and lysine requirement of immunological castrates.


Emily (Weber) Bruder (M.S., 2012) Emily grew up on a wheat farm near Genesee, Idaho and enjoyed showing pigs throughout her youth. Her passion to work with pigs is what drew Emily to attend Iowa State University. She spent most of her free time during her undergraduate days working at the Allen E. Christian Swine Teaching Farm, under the supervision of Al Christian himself! She graduated from Iowa State University in May of 2010 with her bachelor’s degree in animal science.  She then went on to pursue her Master’s degree under Drs. Stalder and Patience, which she completed in 2012. Upon graduation, Emily became the research coordinator for Protein Sources and the Gourley family. Emily and her husband Jake have a son, Baker, and a daughter. Evie . Emily distinguished herself during her M.S. studies by not only working hard but also working “smart.” Her study was completed in a commercial research farm with an automated research feed delivery system; just to be sure she could depend on her data, one day a week during her study, Emily hand-weighed the quantity of feed actually delivered by the system to selected feeders and then compared these results to the targeted amount. This was Emily’s personal approach to quality assurance!

Thesis title: Feeder space availability and dried distillers grains with solubles inclusion rate effects on nursery and finishing pig performance and total tract digestibility in a commercial setting.


Cassandra Jones (Ph.D., 2012) Cassie is from Beulah, ND where her family raised Rambouillet sheep. She graduated from Beulah High School in 2004 and then went on to Kansas State University where she earned both Bachelors and Masters degrees, in 2007 and 2009, respectively, the latter with Dr. Mike Tokach. She then came to Iowa State University where she earned her PhD under Dr. Patience in 2012. Cassie is now employed as an associate professor and is the Undergraduate Research Coordinator in the Department of Animal Sciences & Industry at Kansas State University. Cassie and husband Spenser have a son, Ty, and twin daughters, Hayden and Hadley. Cassie and Spenser have busy lives indeed, spread between her job at KSU, his ranch and three children involved in the show ring, sports and various other activities. This couple epitomizes the adage: if you want to get the job done right, ask a busy person (or couple).

Dissertation title: Characterizing the fallback pig.


Brandy Jacobs (M.S., 2011). Brandy grew up in Keokuk, IA and after graduating from Keokuk High School, enrolled at Iowa State University to study Animal Science. Following completion of her B.S. degree, she entered graduate school in the Department of Animal Science to study swine nutrition co-supervised by Dr. Patience and Dr. Kerr. Following graduation, Brandy worked briefly for The Maschhoffs and the University of Kentucky before joining Kalmbach Feeds where she was a Finisher Field Supervisor. As of February 2020, Brandy has joined Topigs Norsvin Genetics. Nobody messes with Brandy, not even Anthony, as her most recent hobby is body building!

Thesis title:  Validation of animal and laboratory methods in digestibility research.


Amanda Chipman (Research Program Manager: 2009 – 2013) Amanda grew up on a farrow to finish farm just outside of Harlan, Iowa. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Animal Science from Iowa State University in 2008. She then worked for Dr. Patience as his research program manager where she assisted the graduate students in all aspects of their projects, coordinated all animal experiments and ensured the quality of all data collected. In 2013, Amanda had the opportunity to go back to the family farm to work with her dad and brother. In December of 2017, Amanda joined the Iowa Pork Industry Center at Iowa State University as a swine extension program specialist. Recently, she joined the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship as their Emergency Management Coordinator. AC, as we like to call her, taught us all a useful rule to live by – see the need, meet the need.