Double major - command performance

From SCUBA club treasurer to piano performances to studying swine behavior, Johanna Sholar has been busy.

On May 10 Sholar will graduate from Iowa State University with majors in both animal science and music. Juggling club memberships and majors has not only filled her schedule, it’s also provided a portfolio of experiences.

Last summer, Sholar interned at the Blank Park Zoo in the mammal department with seals, sea loins, otters, fish and penguins and now works on animal behavior. During her internship she initiated a scale-training program for penguins, studied the behavior of new zoo animals, rhino nutrition and assisted with a few surgeries.

Sholar worked with Anna Butters-Johnson, Iowa State associate professor in animal science, on the approachability gilts selected for feed efficiency. She analyzed videos of pigs to determine behavioral differences between two genetic lines.

“Johanna has been working under my guidance to compare the behavioral responses of pigs selected to be more feed efficient. With feed being the most expensive input, it is imperative that we make careful breeding and selection decisions,” Butters-Johnson said.

Sholar presented her research findings in Des Moines at the Ninth Annual Research in the Capitol in April. Sholar said it was an opportunity to meet other students and Iowa legislative members.

“Most of the legislative members seemed impressed by the potential impact the research could have on the ag community," Sholar said.

Sholar also published her research on Harbor Seals. Her Gilt Approachability research was published through the American Society of Animal Science Midwest Conference this past March.

Sholar grew up in LaGrange Park, Illinois and plans to attend Western Illinois graduate school next fall to study animal nutrition and behavior.