Dr. Jessica Pempek returns to the Department of Animal Sciences as an Assistant Professor and Animal Welfare Specialist on July 15, 2020. Her research focuses on understanding the relationship between housing and management practices and animal health, welfare, and behavior. The goals of her extension program will be to: engage with Ohio youth to help them learn more about animal welfare, and help producers implement and assure best housing and management practices as animal welfare science continues to evolve.
As a fourth-generation beef cattle producer, caring for livestock was one of Dr. Pempek’s first passions. This passion led to her desire to pursue graduate school and study animal welfare science at The Ohio State University in the Department of Animal Sciences where her research focused on improving the early-life environment for dairy calves. She then went on to conduct postdoctoral research in the College of Veterinary Medicine Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine where she expanded her research focus to include the veal industry. “Compared to other livestock industries, there has been very little research conducted in the veal industry, particularly on the welfare of veal calves. To help contribute knowledge in this area, part of my research program aims to identify and reduce the risk factors of health concerns in veal calves to promote their long-term welfare,” said Pempek. In addition to engaging with producers and conducting research, Dr. Pempek has enjoyed and looks forward to teaching and being involved in student-driven initiatives pertaining to animal welfare at Ohio State, such as the annual Intercollegiate Animal Welfare Judging Contest and the Animal Welfare and Behavior Club. She will instruct Animal Welfare and Behavior in Livestock Industries during Fall Semester.
Dr. Pempek currently resides on her family’s farm in Belmont County, Ohio with her partner, Dylan, their daughter, Sophia, their three dogs (Lady, Wynn, and Lynyrd), a handful of Barred Rock laying hens, and two Jersey calves (Spot and Buddy).
Welcome Dr. Pempek!