A Formal Introduction

Hi, my name is Kristen.

I am a thirty-one year old Animal Scientist and retired mouse milker. As one of the few people in the world with this unique expertise, it serves as a great unforgettable one-liner when I meet new people.

You are thinking about it, aren’t you? It takes a few seconds for people to process the thought of it – milking mice. Yes, it is exactly how you picture it. Yes, it is just like that joke from ‘Meet the Parents’ movie. Don’t worry, I will give you all the nitty gritty details in a future blog post. It is a cliffhanger of a story, packed with triumphs and failures for the main character, unanticipated plot twists, and a climatic conclusion.

Science is story telling at its finest.

Reading catchy headlines with provoking scientific claims or monotonous methods in journal articles can sometimes minimize all the story elements and lead to misleading information. I’m here to tell you the fully story of how Animal Scientists in Oregon and around the world are asking questions to improve human and animal health.

I thrive when I’m connecting with people through my stories. Ask any of my friends or family. They will probably describe me as outspoken, animated, and the center of attention. As a kid, I could not wait to get home from school and tell my parents in full detail what I learned, who told a funny joke, and what I ate for lunch. I still get regular frustrated phone calls from my dad. After struggling to find something to watch on Netflix with my mom, he gets an overwhelming sense of déjà vu ten minutes in because I had already described the movie in full detail.

My life story.

I would have never guessed that my life story as an Animal Scientist would have involved milking mice. But looking back, the question was the driving force – like why is a gene involved in milk secretion also playing a role in breast cancer – to motivate the main character to analyze components of mouse milk at a lab bench. Over my career, the other questions I asked involved studying pigs, fruit flies, mice, sheep, cows, and now pets. I helped people find their new furry best friend working at an animal shelter. I helped people chose a food and toy that best fit their pet’s needs at a local pet food retailer. I weighed fat fruit flies and watched where piglets nursed on a sow at a sustainable pig research farm. All of these experiences taught me something valuable.

In this space, I will share my stories, interpret the latest animal science research, and delve deeper into questions that will help you and your pet live a long and healthy life together. See you here next week!

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