Tell us about your career path to date
Prior to starting here at Madison I was a Post-doctoral fellow at the University of Guelph in the Department of Population Medicine. Guelph was my home for 10 years prior to moving to Madison and during that time I completed my Bachelor of Science in Agriculture and a PhD with a dual emphasis in Epidemiology and Animal Welfare. I started off my academic career as a farm kid from a large dairy who was determined to work with animals, specifically dairy cattle. I started my BSc Agr thinking that vet school was in my future. In my second year I was fortunate to take an Environmental Management course. This course was taught by Dr. Tina Widowski, an internationally renowned animal welfare scientist. It was during this course I was introduced to the science of animal welfare and how management systems can impact animal well-being. This captured my interest and under the guidance of Drs. Tina Widowski and Suzanne Millman I focused on dairy welfare research for the rest of my BSc. This led to my PhD program in which I focused on the health and wellbeing of dairy replacement heifers under the guidance of Drs. Dave Kelton, Suzanne Millman, and Ken Leslie. After completing my PhD I began a post-doctoral position organizing the Dairy Cattle Welfare Symposium which will take place October 24-26th, in Guelph, Ontario
What’s the main focus of your research program?
I will be identifying sickness behaviors in dairy animals and supportive management for sick animals during convalescence to improve disease recovery. I will also be evaluating management practices that impact animal welfare.
What drew you to UW-Madison?
The enthusiasm of the producers that I met with during the interview and reputation of the faculty convinced me that this job would be a fantastic opportunity to work with an outstanding group of people. I was also drawn to the reputation of Wisconsin itself. Wisconsin is the heart of the dairy industry in North America and both the wide variety of farm management systems and the established extension program in this state was very exciting to me.