Budding Bovine Expert
Here at Rosies, we are always thrilled to get photos of how women are using their can-do work wear & attitude out in the field. Lauren always looks like she is having so much fun, and I love her passion for what she is doing. Read our Q & A and pass it along to any other young women with a passion for Animal Science. She has some great encouragement for ladies entering the field.
Hi Lauren! Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am currently a graduate student at Mizzou getting my masters in animal science. My research focuses on the reproductive physiology of beef cattle. Basically, it’s my job to help farmers be as efficient as they can by producing as many healthy calves each year as possible. Being an animal science graduate student means you never stop working. Every day is something different. I typically balance lab, class, and cow work each week. Sometimes I’m in the lab running tests, and on the really fun days I get to be out working with my cows.
How did you get started? What inspired you?
My first experience in research started my sophomore year of college at a sheep barn. I was able to spend the next three years working on many different projects in beef and dairy cattle as well. I have been extremely lucky to have been surrounded by supportive friends and professors. Their passion, excitement, and unwavering curiosity has inspired me time and time again to pursue this field.
Why do you do what you do?
I love cows! I love working with people who love cows. I like waking up early and starting the day with cows, getting dirty, and waking up the next day to do it all again.
What do you find most rewarding about this work? Most challenging?
I wake up in the morning and I have five questions on my mind. I go to work all day, come home, and I have answered one of those questions, and acquired three more. The life of a scientist! I am continually learning and questioning things. The majority of the time I am blown away by how little we really know. What makes it all worth it though is when you finally connect a few of the dots, and the science starts to make sense! What is even more rewarding is when I can pass on something that I have learned to a producer. They can in turn then use something that I have taught them to help their production. It really doesn’t’ get much cooler then that!
Do you have any projects or goals set for the future?
I sure do! I will be running the second trial of my project this summer in Montana at the USDA’s Livestock Range and Research Laboratory. Working at the fort has been an amazing learning opportunity for me. There were days that felt like they were weeks, but by the time I was done I could see that I accomplished something incredible. Managing 416 cow calf pairs, and over 200 embryo transfers is a daunting task to say the least. But I have a great crew of coworkers and a team of trusty cowboys to help me through!
Any tips to encourage other women who would want to study Animal Science?
Volunteer your time! At first you will get the boring jobs and the grunt work. Don’t let that stop you from showing up on time with a good attitude. Part of being an animal scientist is taking good care of your animals. It may not be the most glamorous part of the job, but it is the most important! There is always an opportunity to learn something. Once you have shown that you can be relied on, opportunities will come flooding your way.
Do you have a life motto or favorite quote?
“Once persons wrong lead is another person’s counter canter”.