Spotlight – Jessy Shanks

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

This week, meet Jessy Shanks, Extension Specialist specializing in Small Ruminant Management & Production Systems Reproductive Physiology

What is the most exciting part of your job?
I love teaching undergraduate students and adults alike. The most exciting part of my job is when I get to help those that I teach achieve something that they didn’t think was possible (understand a concept, utilize reproductive technologies for the first time, etc.). I also love the people I work with!

Who inspires you?
My mom inspires me immensely, along with my entire family in general. My mom has taught me how to work hard, persevere, and be kind, among many other things. My husband and daughter inspire me daily as well, and I couldn’t do life without them! My twin sister is also an inspiration!

What is something you find challenging about your work?
Something I find challenging is balancing work and home life. My husband, daughter and I raise sheep which can be a full time job just by itself! But somehow we manage to get it all done together.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a teacher and work with animals. Growing up I wasn’t sure how I would achieve that, but after I took my first agriculture class in high school and joined FFA I knew exactly what I wanted to do. The steps changed but the end result was the same, and now I get to educate different groups of people every day on sheep and goat management, among other topics!

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I see myself supporting my family, taking my daughter to horse and livestock shows, and supporting her in any other activity she chooses.

Do you have any hidden talents or hobbies?
I actually grew up riding horses and showing in the hunter/jumper world, and still like to ride when I have time.

What’s your favorite thing to do on the weekends?
I like to spend time with my family showing livestock, working sheep, cattle, and whatever other critters we have. I also like to spend time on the lake, or any body of water for that matter, bonus points if it involves the beach!

Which historical figure would you most like to meet?
I would like to meet Louis Pasteur or Joseph Lister. In elementary school I was obsessed with a book about medical discoveries and read it as often as I could check it out from our school’s library (which was frequently, and I still love to read medical biographies and the like). These two men are the reason we have pasteurization for food preparation and aseptic technique in medicine. Critical discoveries in science!

Who do you look up to within Herbert College of Agriculture?
I look up to Neal Schrick and Lannett Edwards. Both have taught me a tremendous amount of information about science, agriculture, and life in general. I got my MS degree under both of them, and consider them close friends and colleagues I’m glad to have on my side!

Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
Extrovert mostly!

What’s your least favorite chore around the house?
Unloading the dishwasher, I would much rather be outside!

How would your friends describe you?
Loyal, stubborn, loves coffee and food in general, determined

What piece of advice would you give your 18 year old self?
I would tell my 18 year old self not to stress about grades, step outside your comfort zone more often (that’s where growth occurs!) and spend as much time as possible with your friends and family. Life is too short to miss out on that because of being too busy!