MTSU alumnus receives honor society stipend to stu...

MTSU alumnus receives honor society stipend to study poultry science

PKP Gulizia stipend-graphic

Anyone who wants to study poultry science knows it takes more than mere chicken feed to pay for the education necessary to make it a career.

That’s why MTSU alumnus Joseph Gulizia is fortunate to be one of 58 recipients of a fellowship from The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, the nation’s oldest and most selective collegiate honor society. His stipend of $8,500 will help pay for his pursuit of graduate degrees in poultry science at Auburn University.

MTSU alumnus Joseph Gulizia (Photo submitted)

Joseph Gulizia

Dr. Kevin Downs, School of Agriculture professor, poultry science and animal science

Dr. Kevin Downs

Gulizia, a Fairview, Tennessee, native, graduated from MTSU in December 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in animal science. He attributes his attraction to the discipline to associate professor Kevin Downs of the MTSU School of Agriculture.

“I took multiple poultry science classes that he taught,” Gulizia said. “Additionally he continued to mentor and provide me with poultry science information that went beyond class limitations.”

After transferring from Columbia State Community College to MTSU, Gulizia minored in poultry science and chemistry. John Vile, dean of the University Honors College, remembered Gulizia’s academic excellence.

“Joseph was one of our finest students,” Vile said. “He published at least two articles as an undergraduate.”

Gulizia, who intends to pursue both master’s and doctorate degrees, said he wants to improve the birds’ nutrition while cutting expenses for farmers. Since feed costs can represent between 60 and 70 percent of total broiler production costs, Gulizia’s research could be quite beneficial.

“Exploring enzymes that can reduce anti-nutritive factors of feed ingredients is essential for reducing feed cost and providing the animal with nutrients that are more bioavailable,” Gulizia said.

In the personal statement of educational perspective and career goals he submitted to PKP with his fellowship application, Gulizia wrote that he considers his work assisting in the production of healthy animals a greater good for society.

Dr. John Vile

Dr. John Vile

“In our current COVID-19 crisis, the poultry industry is playing an essential role in maintaining an open supply chain of protein for the American people,” Gulizia wrote. “The poultry industry is one of the largest animal agriculture industries in the world, providing safe, healthy and affordable protein to billions of people.”

MTSU Alumni Association logoThe Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi inducts approximately 30,000 students, faculty, professional staff and alumni annually. Membership is by invitation only to the top 10 percent of seniors and graduate students and 7.5 percent of juniors.

To find out more about the MTSU chapter, go to

For more information on the MTSU School of Agriculture, go to For more information on the University Honors College, go to

— Gina Logue (