Working in a department known for producing ground-breaking research, Animal Sciences Associate Professor Jason Ahola is also an accomplished teacher. In June, Ahola was recognized with the Distinguished Teacher Award from the Western Section of the American Society of Animal Science. The award is given in honor of “the teaching accomplishments of dedicated animal science educators.”
Focusing on beef production, Ahola teaches a number of undergraduate courses that prepare students for careers in academia and industry. The courses that Ahola teaches include a senior-level Beef Systems capstone course, Seedstock Merchandising, Seedstock Sale Management, Family Ranching, Calving and Calf Care, and Beef Management Systems Seminar.
Leading hands-on learning opportunities
In addition to teaching the senior-level capstone course, Ahola also advises the CSU Seedstock Merchandising Team – 8 students that run the annual spring CSU ARDEC bull and heifer sale.
“I truly enjoy interacting with students both through the courses I teach, as well as with hands-on learning opportunities outside the classroom,” said Ahola. “It’s especially rewarding to help students gain new information and skills about beef production, which they will use later in their careers, regardless if they have had any experience working in the livestock industry.”
Ahola oversees the Colorado Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) Program and conducts applied research on producer adoption of BQA principles, animal welfare, estrous synchronization, and feed efficiency. Ahola grew up on a small Hereford farm in rural northeastern Connecticut and has worked for the Red Angus Association of America, Leachman Cattle Company, and the University of Idaho as an Extension Beef Specialist.
‘Teaching recognized at the national level’
“We know that students come to CSU because we are a research institution with outstanding faculty members who truly care about undergraduate education,” said Kevin Pond, head of the Department of Animal Sciences. “To see Jason’s teaching recognized at the national level, speaks to his ability to translate our cutting-edge research for the next generation of animal scientists.”