Name: Darin Bremmer
UW Degree and Year: PhD in Nutritional Sciences with an Animal Nutrition Emphasis and a minor in Dairy Science, 1999
Other Degrees: B.S. at UW-Platteville and M.S. at University of Illinois
Current City: Greenwood, Wis.
Family: Wife Kim, 2 kids: a son Carson, 7, and daughter Kayla, 11
Current Position & Company: Dairy Nutritionist and Technical Services with Vita Plus Corp.
What is your agriculture background?
I grew up on my family’s farm in Shannon, Ill, located in Northwestern IL.
What made you want to work on your PhD at UW?
I always enjoyed working with the animals on our family’s farm in Northwest Illinois. Like many farm kids, I originally thought I wanted to go to vet school. While working on my BS at UW-Platteville I started working with Dr. Sue Price on work study programs and an undergraduate research project. Dr. Price opened up my eyes to Dairy Nutrition and the possibility to get my Master’s and Ph.D. By the time I was a junior at Platteville, I already knew I was going to go to graduate school to work on dairy nutrition with Dr. Jimmy Clark at University of Illinois. After finishing my MS, I thought I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do. I took a year off, but after just a couple of months I knew I wanted to go back to graduate school to work on my Ph.D. I had to decide between going back to University of Illinois or working with Dr. Ric Grummer in the Dairy Science Department at UW-Madison. I chose to go to UW-Madison because I wanted to try a new school, a new experience, and to work with Ric. I am very glad I chose to go to UW Madison. If it wasn’t for that decision I doubt if I would have met my wife and had the two wonderful kids that we have.
How has a degree in dairy science at UW been a benefit to you in the workplace?
Working on my Ph.D. at UW continued to expand my knowledge in nutrition, biochemistry, and dairy science. However, without completely knowing it at the time, it really expands your abilities to think, teach, and problem solve, tools I will use the rest of my life. My role at Vita Plus has a lot of diversity. I consult with dairies helping them to be sustainable, profitable dairies that can continue to grow. I also work with our Vita Plus sales team to help train and consult with dairies that they work with. I use the tools I learned at UW every single day.
What was one of your favorite dairy science courses, and do you have any specific memories from it that you would like to share?
I don’t know that I can name a specific course. I was definitely a science geek because some of my favorite classes were organic chemistry and biochemistry. But, I really enjoyed being a teacher’s assistant for a couple of dairy science classes that Ric taught. I use those experiences to help me work with our team at Vita Plus.
Was there anything else about your Wisconsin Experience that contributed to your professional or social development?
One of my greatest experiences at UW-Madison was meeting such a diverse group of graduate students. I met fellow students from many countries. We were all different, and we were and remain very good friends. I could not have asked for a better group of fellow students to work and study with.
If you could give advice to your college-aged-self, what would it be?
Slow down a little bit (not too much). I had a lot of drive to do well and move on to the next project. I definitely enjoyed my experiences, but I would have slowed down just a little bit and enjoyed the moment a little more. My wife taught and continues to try to teach me that. I try to remember to do that every day.
What advice do you have for current college students?
Work hard on your thinking and problem solving skills. The ability to work through a problem/situation is an invaluable skill that you will use every day.
What are you most proud of?
There is no doubt that I am proud of the degrees I was able to obtain, and the career I have been able to build along with a great team that I work with. However, I am most proud of my family. I have a great wife that has and continues to accomplish so many things, and I have two wonderful kids. They are why I continue to work hard. I want them to have the opportunity to do whatever they want to. Luckily, at least for now, they want to include Bucky Badger in their future.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
Even though I didn’t do my BS at UW Madison, I still feel a very strong connection to the UW Dairy Science program. My PhD at UW really helped launch my career, and helped create lifelong friendships, which is why I continue to try to give back to the program.
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