Every newly arrived student at UConn learns to make friends and navigate new relationships, but for animal science majors, this extends beyond their classmates and professors to cows, chickens, horses, pigs, and sheep.
First-year animal science majors get an unforgettable hands-on experience as part of the Introduction Animal Science course. For the first two months of their UConn careers, students learn to train, fit, and show an animal they aren’t familiar with, culminating in a final display of expertise called the Little International Livestock Show, known as “the Little ‘I.’”
“It’s a major learning experience,” says Kansas Sienna ’24 (CAHNR), an animal science major and Little ‘I’ chair.
Students have to learn very quickly how to work with an animal they may have no familiarity with, Sienna says. It’s a potentially daunting prospect that students say is one of the most rewarding experiences they can have.
“Being able to work with the livestock directly has been awesome,” says Rachel Kaihara ’25 (CAHNR), “because, coming from the city, I literally had no idea what I was doing.”
Kaihara hails from Skokie, Illinois, a Chicago suburb where riding the “L” is more common than working with livestock. For the Little ‘I,’ she was assigned a horse named UC Crimson Cash, or Cash for short. The two quickly bonded, which helped Kaihara realize she had made the right choice with animal science.
“This is definitely the major I was meant to be in,” she says.