Kelly Swanson attended the University of Illinois throughout graduate school and his postdoctoral research program. And he still hasn’t found a reason to leave. Today he is an associate professor of comparative animal nutrition in the Department of Animal Sciences at the university.
His extended stay at the U of I is fueled by his belief that the Division of Nutritional Studies (DNS), a campus-wide interdisciplinary graduate program, and the Department of Animal Sciences provides camaraderie and collaboration among faculty members and students.
“U of I’s DNS not only trains students in nutrition, but other disciplines such as immunology and microbiology as well,” Swanson said. “DNS increases students’ breadth of knowledge, which is crucial for future success.”
In addition, the Department of Animal Sciences and DNS are highly ranked programs, he said. The faculty are world-renowned experts in their field and are providing leadership in national associations, advisory boards, editorial boards, and grant review panels, he added.
“Being a professor is great because the position has a lot of flexibility and is highly rewarding. I can focus on the research areas of my choice, teach bright young students that are interested in animal nutrition and veterinary medicine, and collaborate with researchers around the world,” he said.
Swanson’s most interesting experiences have come from international research and collaborations. He has worked with researchers in the United Kingdom, Brazil, New Zealand, France and Japan.
“While many aspects of nutrition are similar around the world, many differences also exist such as availability to raw materials, technological advancements and cultural beliefs,” he said. “It is always interesting to hear their perspectives, and when possible, travel to these destinations to gain a better understanding of their cultures, challenges and opportunities.”