Katharine Knowlton, professor of dairy science in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech, was recently named the Colonel Horace E. Alphin Professor in Dairy Science by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.

The Colonel Horace E. Alphin Professorship in Dairy Science was established in 2013 through a gift from Alphin, a member of the Virginia Tech Class of 1934, to support outstanding teaching and research faculty in the Department of Dairy Science. The recipient holds the professorship for a five-year term.

A member of the Virginia Tech community since 1998, Knowlton has been widely recognized for excellence in teaching, advising, and scholarship.

Knowlton has worked with private, state, and federal agencies to foster cooperation in the area of reducing environmental impact of the dairy industry. The Waste Solutions Forum that she created provided a mechanism for diverse groups to come together resulting in a variety of external funding opportunities and several large grants from both the dairy and poultry industries.

She has generated more than $9 million in external grants as a primary investigator or co-primary investigator. She has published 67 peer-reviewed scientific papers and four book chapters.

Knowlton currently teaches four courses, serves as the academic coordinating counselor for the dairy science undergraduate program, and serves as the advisor to the Dairy Club. Along with Michael Barnes, an emeritus professor of dairy science, Knowlton coaches the Virginia Tech Dairy Cattle Judging team, which has won the national championship four times in the last eight years. 

She has advised six doctoral degree students and 11 master’s degree students and is currently mentoring two Ph.D. and two master’s degree students as well as a post-doctoral student.

Knowlton a has received the American Dairy Science Association Cargill Young Scientist, American Dairy Science Association Foundation Scholar Lecture Award, and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Certificate of Teaching Excellence.

She received her bachelor’s degree from Cornell University, a master’s degree from Michigan State University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland.

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.