When Dillon Mellick graduated from Coe College in 2011 with a degree in biology, he was not quite sure where he wanted to take his career. Based in Des Moines, Iowa, he joined Kemin Industries as a quality assurance auditor, but he always felt pulled back to science.
Fortunately, Kemin had an open marketing and technical role for their Animal Nutrition and Health Division, which better aligned with Mellick’s background in biology. Ready to expand his knowledge in animal nutrition in 2018, he applied to NC State’s online Master of Animal Science.
“The NC State program allowed me the flexibility while working full time and also raising kids. When I started the program, my oldest son was 9 months old and as I finish the program, he will be 4 and I now have a daughter who is 1,” Mellick says.
In addition to the program’s flexibility, Mellick has also enjoyed the program’s coursework, especially his metabolism classes. He balanced his school, work and family commitments by only taking one course during his busiest time of the year, while taking two classes during calmer times.
“Traveling was both a struggle and a benefit, as recording lectures to watch on airplanes or listen to during longer driving trips helped pass the time (but I won’t miss trying to get an internet connection in hotels).”
As Mellick prepares to graduate, he can already look back on how the online Master of Animal Science has benefited his professional development.
“I was able to use the statistics classes immediately. Most classes were directly applicable to my day-to-day job duties.”
If Mellick would change anything about his experience, he would make time to connect with faculty members and make a trip to meet them on NC State’s campus. He appreciates how helpful and accommodating his instructors were throughout the program.
“I would encourage others to take advantage of programs such as this. This was a great way for me to learn in a very flexible way. My biggest piece of advice is be ready to plan ahead and organize consistent time for classes. You have to be motivated and organized to succeed in online learning,” Mellick advises.
Congratulations to Dillon and the rest of #NCState21!