Former Student Profile: Brandi Bourg Karisch

Dr. Brandi Bourg Karisch finished her college education with a doctorate in animal science from Texas A&M, but she did not leave academia. Brandi started her career at Mississippi State University as an Assistant Professor and Beef Cattle Specialist in the Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences.

In this position, Brandi is responsible for beef cattle programs related to growing cattle including stocker cattle, heifer development and finishing cattle. She travels the state giving educational talks at county cattlemen’s meetings, field days and workshops. This year she will organize the 2012 Deep South Stocker Conference, a joint program between Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia. In addition to her extension work, Brandi runs applied research projects in the areas that directly impact beef producers in Mississippi and the Southeast. This fall she will begin teaching an undergraduate course on livestock evaluation.

Brandi graduated from Louisiana State University with a bachelor’s in animal science in 2005 and then moved to Texas to complete a master’s degree in animal science in 2007 and her doctorate in 2011. While at Texas A&M, Brandi received the Tom Slick Fellowship her last semester and was selected as a recipient of the International Stockman’s Education Fund Fellowship in 2011 to attend the 2011 International Livestock Congress in Denver. She was involved in the Animal Science Graduate Student Organization and represented the department with the departmental booth at the NCBA and TSCRA tradeshows. In fact, it was at her last NCBA convention as a student where she met a Mississippi beef producer who told her about the job opening for the position that she now calls her own.

Here’s what Brandi has to say about being an Aggie:

Why did you choose to attend Texas A&M to complete your graduate work?

As I searched for a graduate program with a focus in beef cattle nutrition, I was instantly drawn to the reputation of the animal science department at Texas A&M. As a member of the 2004 Livestock Judging Team at LSU, I spent a lot of time hearing the names of that year’s Texas A&M Livestock Judging Team called at contests, and I met and visited with the team and coaches after several contests. After a visit to College Station and a tour of the department and research facilities, I knew I didn’t want to be anywhere else.

Do you feel your advanced degrees in Animal Science and your time at Texas A&M helped you get to where you are today?

I definitely believe that my degrees and time at Texas A&M got me to where I am today. The reach of the Aggie network amazes me, especially in the beef industry. When I attend industry and academic meetings, I often meet fellow Aggies and make an instant connection and reminisce about our time spent in the halls at Kleberg. I have also had the opportunity to work with numerous fellow graduate students who have gone on to become leaders in academia and industry.

Is there anything or anyone specific in Animal Science that influenced your career?

Numerous people have made a big impact on my career and my life — Dr. Luis Tedeschi, my major professor, Drs. Tyron Wickersham, Gordon Carstens, Russell Cross, Andy Herring,  Jim Sanders, Jason Sawyer. All of these men have been great mentors and examples. I can’t imagine the amount of time I spent in each of their offices asking questions about research, statistics or just having a good debate about cattle. I truly believe I wouldn’t be where I am today without their help and guidance, and without the help of the great staff of the Department of Animal Science.

If you could offer advice to a prospective student interested in getting an advanced degree in Animal Science at TAMU, what would you tell them?

Don’t forget to make connections and enjoy your time as a graduate student. As a graduate student, many become focused only on their research and classwork and forget the bigger picture. Be involved. Make friends. It’s the best way to make it out of graduate school alive! During my time as a graduate student, I was fortunate to meet numerous people whose connections I find myself constantly calling on in my current job. I was also fortunate to meet my husband, who is also a graduate of the Department of Animal Science, and some of my best friends.


For more information regarding news from the Department of Animal Science, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Texas A&M University, please contact Courtney Coufal at or (979) 845-1542.

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