Julia Hasselkus always wanted to be a student at UW-Madison

The Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences takes great pride in recognizing the exceptional students in our program. Throughout the summer, we will be showcasing some of our remarkable individuals through our “Student Spotlights” articles and social media posts.

This week we highlight one of our Animal Science students who graduated this Spring!

Meet this week Julia Hasselkus, a Badger at Heart. In this Q&A, Julia, a Spring 2024 Animal Science graduate from Fitchburg, Wisconsin, shares her engaging experiences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. With a delightful blend of wisdom, humor, and personal anecdotes, she offers valuable advice for incoming freshmen while providing a captivating glimpse into her vibrant personality and the thrilling world of a Badger. Whether you’re a prospective student or simply curious about campus life, Julia’s infectious enthusiasm and wit promise to entertain, inform, and perhaps even inspire you to discover a kindred spirit in this remarkable young woman.

Photo curtesy of Julia Hasselkus

Why did you choose to attend UW-Madison?

I grew up 20 minutes away from Campus. I jumped around at Badger football games with my dad, ate ice cream at the union with my mom, and visited my older sister’s dorm room. I always wanted to be a student here, it’s my dream school and I cannot imagine attending any other school. This is my home, and I cannot believe 4 years have gone by so fast. Soak it all in, you are so lucky to be a student here.

What clubs/organizations/activities are you involved with?

I work at the UW vet school pharmacy right now; I absolutely LOVE the people there. I’ve worked there since sophomore year and have adored my time there. I have gotten to learn so much all over the hospital and meet amazing people. Shout out to the vet school pharmacy, you guys are the best.

Do you participate in research? If so, please briefly explain the research that you are involved in.

Yes! After my Junior year, I was invited to work with Professor Hasan Khatib on a paper focused on transgenerational epigenetic inheritance. I won’t confuse you with trying to explain what that means, but you can go read our published paper if you want to know more! (“Calling the question: what is mammalian transgenerational epigenetic inheritance?”). I read and evaluated several articles in the field and worked to identify if their conclusions matched the developing definition of transgenerational. I got to learn so much about analyzing scientific papers and improving my scientific writing while also working with a great group of undergraduate students.

What is your favorite class that you have taken in the department and why?

I really liked Biology and Animal Science 200 (Appreciation of Companion Animals). This was one of the first animal science courses I took, and I got such a well-rounded education about all sorts of animals. I already knew I loved my major, but this class assured me that I was in the right place. Also really enjoyed Animal Science 434 (Reproductive Physiology) as it had interesting hands-on labs and experiences that I have never had before.

Photo curtesy of Julia Hasselkus

What are your future career plans?

I’ll be leaving the pharmacy and moving to a new department as a small animal surgery assistant in the UW vet school. I have gotten a few hours of training so far and I am really enjoying the staff and the exciting surgeries I get to watch and help prepare for.

What advice do you have for incoming students?

Find your people in classes! Be social and talk to your neighbors and meet new people. I have met two of my closest friends from animal science classes, and they have made my time as an undergraduate really enjoyable. You also learn better when you have people to review class material better with and discuss topics.

What is your favorite spot on campus?

I love Camp Randall. I have always loved football because of my dad, and getting to be a student at football games is an unreal feeling.

What is your favorite Babcock ice cream flavor?

Badger blast!