Where Are They Now: Demetris Reed
June 3 – When you’re born and raised in a rural community helping to look after hogs, chickens, and cattle, it would seem going off to college to learn more about agriculture would be an automatic decision. For Demetrius Reed, a visit to Prairie View A&M University for Pantherland Day would seal his fate for the next four years.
With roots in Snook, Texas, and part of a family with deep ties in raising animals and building structures, Reed graduated high school on the fence about what to study in college between architecture and agriculture. His interaction with representatives at both of those college’s tables at Pantherland Day decided for him. “I just saw how [agriculture students] were a family, and I really didn’t see that in architecture when I went over to their table. I had a gut feeling [agriculture] would be the path.” Reed came to the College of Agriculture and Human Sciences in 2007 to pursue an Agriculture degree with a concentration in Animal Science.
During his freshman year, Reed volunteered at the International Goat Research Center. His dedication earned him a bit recognition out on the farm, and he was lucky enough to be hired as a student worker for the next semester. This opportunity taught him a lot about the various aspects of agriculture and how his knowledge could impact many. “I worked on the farm with Mr. Solomon. That probably was the best thing because he wouldn’t keep anything from us when we were working out there. He wanted us to know everything about the farm because if anybody ever came and asked us about it, we would be able to answer them.” Throughout his four years, Reed took chances, participated in campus organizations, became involved in the community, and took full advantage of everything CAHS had to offer.
CAHS presented Reed with many experiences along the way, and he was able to develop lifelong friendships and mentors. When he graduated in 2011, deciding to continue his education was easy as he believed PVAMU prepared him for graduate school. The mentors he gained, including Dr. Alfred Parks and Dr. Wash Jones, doubled as role models for his desired career path. “I met them in a special kind of way, and I use them as my mentors now. They made class not be class. It was enjoyable.” Reed went on to obtain his Master’s degree at West Texas A&M University and is now in the final stages of his Ph.D. program at North Dakota State University focusing on Meat Science while also working in a meat lab.
Reed often reflects on class visits from Dr. Lindsay Witherspoon, where he would encourage students to pursue careers that others may not consider. That influenced his choice to pursue a career working in meat labs, although it is a profession unknown to many. “I look at consumer preference in red meat such as beef, pork, lamb, goat. I look at meat quality, the absence of marbling, or the quality of marbling.”
His CAHS experience is much more appreciated as he feels very prepared to take on this career and anything that life throws at him. “The biggest thing I took from [CAHS] was being able to absorb what I see.”