|Student provides inmates with technical training for agricultural work|
Nicholas Wege Dias has an insider’s view of prison life. A graduate research assistant in the Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Dias has conducted much of his master’s research at rural correctional centers.
Virginia Department of Corrections prison farms, located throughout the commonwealth, house approximately 2,000 beef cattle. Faculty and students in the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences provide medical care and conduct research to help maintain the animals’ health and improve efficiency and productivity.
Dias and advisor Vitor Mercadante, an assistant professor in the Department of Animal and Poultry Sciences, focus on the improvement of reproductive bio-technologies, such as estrus synchronization protocols and artificial insemination. When working at the prison farms, the researchers are aided by minor offenders who are approaching release.
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