Hello from the JFK airport! I am Gretchen Landin, a 3rd year student at the UPenn School of Veterinary Medicine heading to Hyderabad, India for the rest of the summer! My world for the past two weeks has been in my hometown of Sugar Grove, PA. This little rural town has more cattle than people and a claim to fame as the “sweetest little town on Earth” for its maple syrup. It is always fun to come home to the family farm after spending the semesters in West Philly. My focus thus far in veterinary school has been on food animal medicine, specifically dairy medicine. In college, I spent the summer of 2011 in Tamil Nadu assisting in veterinary camps and vaccination clinics sponsored by Christian Veterinary Mission and India Gospel League. This time around, I am excited to be traveling to Hyderabad to start a new research project on cattle and water buffalo dairy production and reproduction with PennVet’s Center for Animal Health and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI). The research project will start with surveys of local dairy co-operatives and farmers to tailor the project to the unique needs of each community and farm. The over arching goal is to increase the efficiency of dairy animal nutrition which will in turn bolster food security and profitability on farms. With that goal in mind, I am still open and flexible to adjusting the project as is needed. If I learned anything from my India experience, it is to expect the unexpected! I am definitely looking forward to learning from the staff at ILRI and discovering the diversity of crops and cattle. As a country girl at heart, I suppose that I will never get over my fascination with livestock. I’m off to my next gate, but for now I’ll leave you with some water buffalo and zebu snapshots from my last trip! Cheers!