Lila Grallert

Lila Grallert

Lila Grallert ‘14, was a Pre-Veterinary Science major (BS) in the Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences and a Sustainable Food and Farming major (BS) in the Stockbridge School. Lila worked at the UMass Hadley Livestock Farm caring for the department’s sheep, goats, and llamas. During her summer breaks, she worked at an educational farm in Marlborough, Massachusetts assisting with managing their many animals and small vegetable CSA. Lila also spent six weeks in Baja, Mexico working on an organic dairy goat ranch as part of the World Wide Opportunities in Organic Farming program (WWOOF). Her experiences as part of the Veterinary and Animal Science Department as well as the Stockbridge School of Agriculture have allowed to her to understand these farm systems on a holistic level, and utilize the skills and knowledge she has gained to manage the animals, plants, and land in an environmentally and economically sustainable way.

Lila was a member of the Commonwealth Honors College. She graduated with a dual major, summa cum laude and a 4.0 GPA. She plans to attend the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine.

Lila grew up in Ayer, Massachusetts. Before coming to UMass, Lila had little experience with farm animals or agriculture. She credits the Veterinary and Animal Science Department with inspiring her interest in a field that she believes is vital to a prosperous and sustainable future and supporting her in pursuing the opportunities that have allowed to her understand it. Lila co-founded the Poultry Management Class, a popular hands-on course that teaches students how to feed, clean and enlist other measures to keep broiler chickens healthy, produce their own food, and run a small business. As a teaching assistant for the course, she lectured and supervised students in these topics. Lila was able to utilize the poultry program for her own research for her Honors Thesis titled “Forage Consumption of Pastured Broiler Chickens in a Rotational Pasture System” which focused on the diets of pastured chickens, research that is relevant to farmers looking to enter into a pastured poultry enterprise.

When she wasn’t exploring the Valley or hanging out with chickens, Lila worked with an organization at UMass called the Real Food Challenge, a national campaign to shift campus food towards food that is more socially just and environmentally conscious. A year ago the groups’ efforts paid off and UMass Amherst became one of the largest dining programs to sign onto the Real Food Challenge Campus Commitment to shift 20% of their food budget towards “real” food by the year 2020. Her work with this group has extended her understanding of animal agriculture into thinking about food systems, and the implication of the systems that are currently in place.

Lila was one of only ten graduates selected for the 21st Century Leaders Award presented at the 2014 Commencement Ceremony. The 21st Century Leaders Award recognizes the strong academic record and exemplary achievement of undergraduate students who further distinguished their intellectual accomplishments, and enhanced the reputation of the University by contributing to the campus community. Awardees are characterized by their determination to fulfill their academic potential and achieve personal goals. They are exemplars within the undergraduate community, having demonstrated intelligence, integrity, discipline, courage, compassion, and a sense of humor.