Spotlight – Caitlin Zaring

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Get to know our Animal Science faculty, staff and graduate students in our Spotlight feature.


What is the most exciting part of your job?
The diversity of subjects involved in my project. I deal with food science, economics, consumer science, animal science, and despite sitting behind the computer all day I am still able to enjoy visits with dairy farmers.

Who inspires you?
My nana was my best friend growing up. She taught me to be kind, believe in myself, and to stand up for what I believe is right, even if it causes tensions between others.

What is something you find challenging about your work?
Writing for days on end. After a while it gets frustrating.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wavered between paleontologist, vet, zookeeper, and herpetologist. The vet option was the most consistent, but to be honest, I never fully let go of my dream to be a paleontologist. As you can tell, animals were always in the picture for me.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
With a Ph.D. working in a career where I enjoy going to work every day! With all my snakes by my side.

Do you have any hidden talents or hobbies?
Does the ability to kill plants within days of buying them count?

What’s your favorite thing to do on the weekends?
Relax, read, play with my animals, and be outdoors

Which historical figure would you most like to meet?
Virginia Hall, also called “The Limping Lady”, as she was one of the greatest spies of WWII despite only having one leg. She was turned down for a job by the US government before the UK trained her to be a spy and sent her to France where she fought her way into history as the greatest American spy of WWII.

What’s a skill you’d like to improve on?
Communication. I am very bad about forgetting to get back with people, and I have a hard time talking with people I do not know.

Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
Introvert, although those around me say I am an extrovert.

What’s your least favorite chore around the house?
Cleaning the floors. No matter how much I clean there’s still dog hair and paw prints on our white floor

How would your friends describe you?
“determined, goal oriented, vibrant personality, and dependable”

What piece of advice would you give your 18 year old self?
No matter how hard you try, things will not go your way. So just sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride. There’s no sense in stressing.