Abstract #484

# 484
Gender differences in species and career interests among students in first-year seminar courses.
Cody L. Wright1, Sara L. Mastellar1, Michael G. Gonda*1, Andie B. Vsetecka1, 1South Dakota State University, Brookings, SD.

Changing demographics of students in Animal Science programs have created some uncertainty as to whether traditional curricula adequately address the needs of such a diverse body of students. This study was designed to identify gender differences in species and career interests among students in first-year seminar courses in both Animal Science (AS 109) and Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences (VET 199). Students were surveyed using an instrument that included demographic questions and a series of 4-point, Likert-type scales for each species and career interest. Eighty-seven students in AS 109 and 45 in VET 199 completed the survey. Animal Science majors comprised 98.5% of the survey respondents, 1.5% had not declared a major. Of the 132 respondents, 68.2% were female and 31.8% were male. The majority of respondents were freshmen (86.4%), 6.8% were sophomores, and 6.8% were upperclassmen. Half of the students (50.8%) either came from a small hobby farm or had no farm or ranch background. Gender differences were analyzed using a Pearson Chi-Square test. Males had greater (P = 0.019) interest in feedlot cattle, while females had greater interest in goats (P < 0.001), horses (P < 0.001), pets (P < 0.001), and zoo animals (P = 0.021). Interest in cow-calf, dairy, poultry, sheep, swine, and wildlife between genders were not different. Career fields related to agronomy and the feed industry were of more interest to males (P = 0.021 and P = 0.016, respectively). Females had greater interest in both hands-on and support careers related to horses (P = 0.003 and P < 0.001, respectively) and in working with zoo animals (P = 0.020). Veterinary medicine tended (P = 0.059) to be of greater interest to females than males. Interest in careers related to animal breeding, animal reproduction, banking, Extension, farming/ranching, food production, government, meats, teaching, or veterinary technician between genders were not different. These data suggest that more females than males may be pursuing degrees in animal science. Furthermore, females clearly have greater interest in some species that may not be commonly included in traditional animal science curricula.

Key Words: animal science, students, gender