Karley Parker

The Growing Leaders section of MAFES Discovers features students engaged in projects and initiatives that foster leadership in research, teaching, and service.

Karley Parker

Senior animal and dairy science majors Kelsey Hart, left, of Nesbit and Karley Parker of Ellisville measure a Holstein calf at the Mississippi State Dairy. (Photo by Megan Bean)

Karley parker is an emerging leader in the realm of research. She was designated as an undergraduate research scholar during the last semester of her undergraduate degree in animal and dairy sciences. Upon graduation, Parker was accepted and began classes in the university's College of Veterinary Medicine.

Parker's research focused on animal behavior, which is becoming a growing area of interest as consumers become more concerned with the source and treatment of animals producing their food.

She evaluated the effects of housing type and feeding frequency on growth and behavior in dairy calves. The results showed that calves housed in pairs had better respiratory scores than those housed alone.

As more dairy producers in the Southeast move to grass-based dairying, they often group house calves so it is important to understand the impact of the practice on calf health. Parker's research sheds light on this topic.

Her data was presented at the national meeting of the American Dairy Science Association in July and included in a critical animal research and extension grant proposal.