School of Agriculture

Samantha Cunningham

Samantha Cunningham
Assistant Professor of Animal Science/Beef Evaluation Station

Knoblauch Hall B12
(309) 298-1288

Sam grew up fourth generation on her family's farming/ranching operation in Western Nebraska which focused on purebred and commercial cattle production. Presently, there is a sole focus on commercial cattle. Sam earned an Associate's degree from Clarendon College in Clarendon, TX. She then transferred to Texas Tech University in Lubbock to complete her Bachelor's degree in Animal Science with a business option. Sam earned an M.S. in Animal Breeding and a Ph.D. in Animal Science from Texas A&M University in College Station. Prior to joining Western Illinois University, she spent 2 1/2 years on a large ranch in West Texas where she was responsible for beef herd records and registrations on over 1,000 animals.

At Western, Sam teaches Animal Science courses in the areas of animal breeding, livestock feeding and nutrition, reproduction and beef cattle production and management. In addition to teaching, she serves as a co-advisor to the Hoof N Horn (Block and Bridle) Club and to the Collegiate Farm Bureau. She also oversees the university's beef cattle herd and is the faculty coordinator for the Western Illinois University Performance Bull Test with a one-time capacity of 75 head. Currently there is a one 112-day test per year--October through February, with a bull Sale at the conclusion of the test in March. For more information on the Performance Bull Test, please visit

Sam is a member of the Illinois Beef Association, the National Cattleman's Beef Association, the American Society of Animal Science and the Illinois Farm Bureau. In her spare time, Sam enjoys spending time with friends and family, traveling, cooking and livestock.