Local teen participates in ag education program

Published 11:36 pm Tuesday, August 14, 2018

A lifelong love of animals has led Abigail Duman to get involved in multiple summer programs, and she recently spent two weeks Iowa State University participating in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s ninth annual AgDiscovery program.

Only 16 students were accepted to the program, and Abigail was happy to find out she was one of them.

“I had a feeling I was going to be accepted,” said Abigail, who turns 17 years old this week. “It was exciting.”


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She was positive she was going to get accepted because she has already attended similar summer programs at Auburn University and programs in North Carolina. This program, however, was more intensive than the other ones.

Abigail Duman sits on a John Deere tractor at Windsor Castle Park. She recently attended the AgDiscovery program hosted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. (Submitted Photo)

During their two weeks, they visited multiple zoos and animal centers to learn more and get hands-on experience.

Students got experience in anatomy, bacteriology, hematology, parasitology, immunology, embryology, animal necropsies, small animal dentistry, epidemiology and other veterinary diagnostic procedures.

This wasn’t the first time she’s seen surgeries of an animal.

She currently has a mentor in the veterinary field, and she regularly shadows Dr. Hannah Adams at Academy Animal Care.

“My favorite part of shadowing her is watching her do surgeries,” Abigail said.

Abigail watched Adams neuter her family cat.

“It’s been exciting, because each one she applies to has to have recommendations and write essays, and she gets chosen out of a lot of kids,” said Abigail’s mother, Chrisi Duman. “This one had a rigorous schedule, and it was a challenge.”

Duman credits Johnson’s Gardens’ owner Tim Johnson for some of her success, because Johnson’s Gardens has animals at its garden center, and he has written recommendations for Abigail’s summer programs.

Abigail knows that animals are part of her future, and she will more than likely find herself at a veterinary school in the future, though she may not end up at an animal hospital for a lifelong career. Abigail thinks that chicken farming might be in her future, and she knows it’s a lucrative profession as well. No matter the path, her parents are supportive as long as she is happy.

“I think she would be amazing at either,” Duman said.

Abigail already has a love for chickens, because her family has four. The family also has dogs, a bunny, three ducks, turtles and fish in a one-acre pond.