Alumni Spotlight: Rachel Maikisch - Agricultural Science & Technology Alumni, 2018

After graduation, Rachel Maikisch, 2018 Agricultural Science & Technology alum,  moved to Delaware and was offered a full time job with Merck Pharmaceuticals’ Animal Health Division as a technician. During Rachel’s time there, she was contacted through LinkedIn to speak about a Sow Production Farm Manager position. Interested in learning more, Rachel reached out to her previous supervisor from her internship at Hershey Ag to discuss the opportunity.  To Rachel’s surprise these conversations resulted in him offering her a position managing one of their farms!

Rachel’s current position title is "Sow Production Farm Manager" with Hershey Ag. The company is a Pennsylvania based Pork, Dairy, Feed, and Agricultural Systems Company.  While the home office is in Pennsylvania, as are most of the farms, they have one farm in Milton, Delaware which is now Rachel’s farm.  This location is the exact location where she worked for her senior internship! Rachel went from intern to manager!  What is Rachel doing at her new job? “To put it simply,” Rachel explains, “I manage all aspects of a production facility.  My facility is highly automated and is often ahead of industry standards and on the forefront of new technologies.”

Some of the more important aspects of her position is to follow such as developing and implementing biosecurity, safety, and operating procedures.  In addition to these responsibilities, some of the most important parts of the position is maintaining all animal welfare, production herd management, assessment and treatment of injured or sick animals, as well as overall herd health management.  Administrative work includes production logistics, record keeping, attending meetings (both company and industry), travelling to conferences/trainings/expos, staff management, hiring, and team building/morale boosting.

Although Rachel explains that her “day to day varies greatly, always busy” but“time really does fly when you're having fun.” In addition, Rachel states: “ I love my job and truly enjoy coming to work everyday. I never expected to be in this position, managing the facility where I did my internship, but I've grown such a love for this field, both the mamma pigs and the babies, and for the work I get to do. Pigs are an amazing, intelligent, animated animal to work with.”  What about her future?Rachel says she may go to graduate school in the future and she shares that, “If I end up going toward research, I would want to work with swine reproduction/nutrition.” If you are interested in learning more about our programs, such as the one Rachel majored in, please contact us at