Audrey McElroy of Christiansburg, Va., associate professor of animal and poultry sciences, was awarded the 2010 Certificate of Teaching Excellence from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech.

McElroy joined Virginia Tech in 1999 with a challenging three-way research, teaching, and extension appointment, which she seamlessly integrates to educate and inspire her students about the poultry industry.

McElroy’s interests are primarily in poultry physiology and immunology; her most important research program investigates intestinal mechanisms of immunity to pathogens. Her Extension program is focused on developing and conducting educational programming for the commercial broiler and turkey industries.

“The ability to change or influence a student’s approach to learning and their career objectives is one of my most important responsibilities,” McElroy said. “And I believe that the chance to teach and interact with students is not merely an obligation, but a unique opportunity that we have in academia.”

McElroy is known for exciting her students with the practical relevance of a topic before delving into scientific detail. She captures their attention and is able to transfer her passion for the subject matter. “Audrey’s engagement in teaching is exemplary through the passion and excitement she ignites, which has had a tremendous positive and far-reaching impact on our students,” said Ron Lewis, professor of animal and poultry sciences. “Through her efforts, students who begin our program with absolutely no interest in poultry grow to become leaders in the poultry industry.”

Using hands-on, experiential learning, McElroy ensures that her students understand and can apply the concepts she introduces. As a result of her Extension efforts across the state, she is able to take students on field trips and expose them to real-world environments that cannot be experienced in the classroom. She also provides students with research opportunities in her laboratory that have often inspired students to continue on to graduate studies.

“Dr. McElroy was my advisor for my undergraduate studies at Virginia Tech, and I give credit to her for helping me develop the love of learning that I have for poultry medicine. As a woman in the poultry industry, Dr. McElroy is a strong role model for other women like myself who are interested in pursuing a career there,” said Jessica Walters, a dual Ph.D. and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine graduate student.

McElroy received her bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and Ph.D. from Texas A&M University.

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