Stacy Norin came to the UW-Madison with the idea of becoming an English teacher or a lawyer.
Far from her mind was the idea of a career that had anything to do with science or livestock.
But the Oregon, Wis., native graduated not to the courtroom or classroom but to the back roads of the Corn Belt, where she works with farmers, veterinarians and feed dealers to improve animal health and nutrition.
Norin works as a sales representative for Elanco Animal Health, covering southern Illinois and Missouri.
While Norin was not raised on a farm, her family had once been involved in farming, and she grew up riding horses. During her sophomore year, that interest led her to a meeting of the UW-Madison Saddle & Sirloin Club and to Tom Crenshaw, an animal science professor who told her about various careers in agriculture.
“I wasn’t aware of opportunities in agriculture beyond being a veterinarian,” says Norin, who soon checked out the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. An introductory animal and dairy science course and a few animal science classes attracted her interest and ultimately she became an animal science major, earning her bachelor’s degree in 1994.
Norin felt that graduate studies would give her an edge in the job market, and she went on to earn a master’s degree at the University of Nebraska. She says Nebraska’s production focus complemented her basic research education at the UW-Madison. “I was more prepared for graduate work than a lot of other students,” she says.
Her participation in campus clubs plus an internship with the Wisconsin Pork Producers Association also helped Norin expand her base of knowledge and personal contacts. She advises any student to learn as much in and out of the classroom as possible.
Her strong science background and interpersonal skills stand her in good stead on the job as she shares technical knowledge with swine producers. She likens her position to that of an extension specialist: “I enjoy being on the farm, helping producers improve their operations.”
Norin has given back to the animal science community by guest lecturing within the UW System, participating in annual meat-animal evaluation contests and coaching young people in the Wisconsin Pork Producers Youth Association to be positive spokespersons for the industry.
It’s not the English class that she once envisioned. But she loves getting the opportunity to teach.