Independent Ag Studies Spotlight: Zoonotic Disease

Lauren Martin ’22 presents a lesson on contagious diseases to fifth graders.

Story and photos submitted by Lauren Martin ’22

This year I have chosen to study zoonotic diseases in my independent study. I chose this topic for the reason that I was not really interested in doing ag business this year. I am also very interested in studying something that could help me in my future plans. I plan to go into the medical field and I think learning about diseases will be beneficial. 

Zoonotic disease

This airtight chamber is used to safely and effectively grow culture samples.

So far this year I have learned about what zoonotic diseases are and how they affect different animals. A zoonotic disease is a disease transmitted from animals to humans, or humans to animals. I also incorporated how pathogens are involved and dug deeper into learning about pathogens alone and how they spread. To learn more about this I went and taught Mrs. Linhart’s fifth grade science class about the spread of disease. I got the opportunity to do multiple activities with them to help them understand the process. They learned about direct contact, indirect contact, and airborne pathogens. The class did an awesome job responding and answering questions. I did this in hopes of the class learning more about how they can prevent the spread of disease on their end.

Zoonotic disease 3
Three-dimensional pathogen model created by Lauren Martin.

I am looking forward to learning about injections and cures for the diseases that I have spent time researching this semester. I have been researching eight different zoonotic diseases and it will be cool to see how they are maintained. I am excited to try new hands-on experiments to further my knowledge of these diseases and hopefully be able to apply it all in my future career.