Life before, during and after Alltech Young Scientist

  • Joshua Gukowsky of the University of Massachusetts Amherst was the North America undergraduate finalist for the Alltech Young Scientist Competition 2017. He went on to be named the 2017 Alltech Young Scientist undergraduate global winner through the success of his paper and presentation regarding a method to detect antibiotic residues in foods.

Being a part of the Alltech Young Scientist (AYS) program has been an incredible and unforgettable experience.


I first got involved in research as an undergraduate studying food science and biochemistry, focusing on developing new analytical techniques for detecting antibiotics and other banned substances in food products. When my advisor suggested last year that I should submit my research paper to the competition, I never could have imagined what would come of it. The whole experience has been an amazing ride, and I know that it has had an enormous impact on all of the participants.


I couldn’t believe my eyes when I first saw that I had been selected as a regional undergraduate finalist — it was a great honor to represent North America, and I looked forward to presenting my research and meeting the other regional finalists.


When the global competition came, I headed to Kentucky with great anticipation. Meeting the incredibly talented scientists in the competition and learning about their areas of research could not have been more rewarding, and we all got an exciting up-close look at the innovative work that Alltech does to improve our agricultural systems.


Winning the global competition was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I will never forget. My time spent with the Alltech Young Scientist program has had an incalculable impact on my future plans and inspired me to work harder to help solve the problems that we face as a society. I am looking forward to beginning my Ph.D. studies, and I hope to continue working on the development of new methods to keep our food supply safe from contamination. I am deeply grateful for Alltech’s support in helping to achieve this very important goal.


In closing, I would wholeheartedly encourage all who are interested to apply to the Alltech Young Scientist program. Getting the opportunity to participate in an international event such as this, and being able to expose yourself to groundbreaking ideas and different perspectives, is as valuable an experience as any that a student pursuing a future in agricultural science could get. Take the chance and apply — it could be the best decision you ever make!