July 26, 2022

Kohls Boechler.pngMayville State University students Julia Kohls, Mayville, N.D., and Hayle Boechler, Wilton, N.D., had the opportunity to participate in a two-week volunteer internship with Hoofstock Genetics, LLC and Vytelle in Ranger, Texas and Weatherford, Texas this past May. The internship provided the students with hands-on experience in the biotechnology and agribusiness fields.

Hoofstock Genetics was founded in 2010, specializing in assisted reproduction in cattle, deer, exotics, and other small ruminants. Todd Stroud, founder of Hoofstock Genetics, has worked in the animal reproduction field for more than two decades. The Hoofstock Genetics team is comprised of industry leading veterinarians and technicians from all over the world. The 10-year history of embryo transfer program now spans across the United States and services more than 500 farms.

During the internship, Boechler and Kohls worked with cattle and were involved with artificial insemination, oocyte pick up, and pregnancy checks. These were invaluable hands-on experiences for the students, who learned the oocyte pick up (OPU) process of collecting cattle oocytes (eggs) from ovaries of living cows. They also participated in the process of fertilization of the oocytes during the in vitro fertilization (IVF) process for embryo production and subsequent embryo cryopreservation and embryo transfer (ET). They were able to observe the embryos developing in the lab and learn how to freeze them for biobanking.

The experiential learning in this field is a great fit for a new course in animal biotechnology that is being developed by Mayville State Assistant Professor of Biology Dr. Michael Kjelland. Kjelland coordinated the internship opportunity. “I extend my special thanks to Hoofstock Genetics, LLC; Vytelle; and Conservation, Genetics & Biotech, LLC for making this opportunity possible for Mayville State University students,” said Dr. Kjelland.

With his financial sponsorship support, Kevin Elliott of Elliott Livestock, Clifford, N.D., was instrumental in helping to make this internship experience a reality for the students.

“I loved that this internship was a great mix of science and agriculture, which are both interests of mine,” said Mayville State student intern Julia Kohls. “I enjoyed getting to work with cattle and learn about the unique reproductive processes made possible by science, such as reverse sorting to get the desired sex, flushing of live embryos from females, and IVF. I am so grateful to Mayville State University, Hoofstock Genetics, and benefactor Kevin Elliott for the experience of a lifetime!”

Photo caption: Mayville State students Julia Kohls (left) and Hayle Boechler (right) enjoyed valuable experiences in animal biotechnology during their summer internship with Hoofstock Genetics in Texas. Kevin Elliott of Elliott Livestock was instrumental in making the internship opportunity possible through his financial sponsorship support.