Dr. Josie Coverdale, associate professor of equine sciences in the Department of Animal Science at Texas A&M University, died Feb. 13, 2016, from complications resulting from injuries sustained in a car accident Friday morning.
Coverdale, 38, taught undergraduate and graduate courses in equine nutrition. She also directed research in equine nutrition with an interest in forage utilization and hindgut fermentation. She was highly sought internationally for her expertise in equine nutrition and taught classes around the globe, including South Africa, Coast Rica, Panama and Dubai.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of Dr. Josie Coverdale, who was highly respected by both her students and faculty here at Texas A&M,” said Dr. Russell Cross, department head. “Josie was truly a valued member of our faculty here and made such a tremendous impact with regards to teaching and as well as her research.”
Coverdale, raised in Krum, Texas, was actually born in Jefferson, Iowa, on April 18, 1977, to Judy and Larry Piltingsrud. Growing up she was involved in many activities that centered around her passions, animals and sports. Josie graduated from Krum High School with honors and started her career in higher education at Texas A&M University. After graduating with her bachelor’s degree, she moved on to Iowa State University where she obtained her master’s degree in equine nutrition. Coverdale then achieved a doctorate in calf nutrition, also at Iowa State.
Upon graduation, Coverdale accepted an assistant professor position in the Department of Animal Science at the University of Georgia in 2003. She remained there until accepting her position with the Department of Animal Science at Texas A&M University in 2006.
Coverdale led active teaching and research programs, mentoring hundreds of graduate and undergraduate students. Some of her research focused on the use of by-product feeds, effectiveness of probiotic preparations, passive immunity in foals, and nutritional influences on equine exercise physiology.
According to an interview Coverdale did with Pleasure Horse Today, the most rewarding part of her career as a professor was student development. She enjoyed getting to watch her undergraduate students develop and mature over their four-year period.
“Academics are a large part of a college education, but the students that take advantage of additional opportunities, such as internships and undergraduate research projects, are better prepared for careers in agriculture,” Coverdale stated in the article. “Similarly, conducting intensive research projects with graduate students is incredibly rewarding. My graduate students are like family, and it is amazing to watch them develop over a very short period of time.”
The depth of her knowledge of subject matter and caring for her students are reflected in the numerous awards she received in her 13-year career. Most recently she was honored with the 2015-2016 Distinguished Achievement Award for College-Level Teaching from the Association of Former Students.
She was a member of the Equine Science Society, American Society of Animal Science, American Society of Dairy Science and North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture.
Coverdale is survived by her husband, Mark, parents Judy and Larry Piltingsrud of Krum, Texas, in-laws, Jim and Barb Coverdale, brother-in-law, Matt and wife, Angela, and several aunts, uncles and cousins.
A memorial service is scheduled for 1 p.m. Wednesday at the Thomas G. Hildebrand, DVM ‘56 Equine Complex, 3240 F&B Road, in College Station.
In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to the Texas A&M Foundation, 401 George Bush Drive, College Station, Texas 77840. Checks are to be made payable to the Texas A&M Foundation and include gift is in memory of Dr. Josie Coverdale on the memo line. Online gifts may be made by visiting www.txamfoundation.com (click give now button in top right hand corner and select make a gift to the general memorial, include Dr. Josie Coverdale’s name in the comment section).