Speaker / author bio: Jennifer Van Os is an Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist in Animal Welfare on the faculty of the Department of Animal & Dairy Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dr. Van Os received her PhD in the interdisciplinary Animal Behavior graduate program at the University of California-Davis and conducted postdoctoral research in the Animal Welfare Program at the University of British Columbia. The research in her lab at UW-Madison focuses on understanding, evaluating, and improving the welfare of dairy animals from biological- and social-science perspectives. The goal of Dr. Van Os’ extension program is to promote best practices in management and housing to help the dairy industry adapt as our scientific knowledge about animal welfare continues to grow.
Expanded bio: My research focuses on understanding and improving quality of life for dairy animals. I am also an Extension Specialist in animal welfare.
I serve as an expert on various farm animal welfare advisory councils, including the FARM Animal Care Task Force.
From 2016-2020, I served as the Communications Officer on the Council for the International Society for Applied Ethology (ISAE).
In 2017, I completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Animal Welfare Program at the University of British Columbia (UBC). Previously, I was a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Animal Science at the University of California, Davis (UC Davis) in the lab of Cassandra B. Tucker, Ph.D.
I received my Ph.D. from the interdisciplinary Animal Behavior program at UC Davis in 2015. During graduate school, I gained diverse teaching experience in domestic animal production, behavior, and welfare, as well as in evolution and ecology and research methods.
Previously, I earned a B.A. in Psychology from Harvard University, where I studied human behavior. My honors thesis was on memory and awareness of deficits in Alzheimer’s patients, and my mentors were Andrew E. Budson, M.D., and Daniel L. Schacter, Ph.D. I then gained 6 years of professional experience in budget creation and management, planning, supervising, and staffing.
I first became interested in food production when I was growing up in Champaign, IL. My first job in high school was as a laboratory assistant in the Department of Food Science & Human Nutrition at the University of Illinois (UIUC). As a child, I remember attending the annual ag open house at UIUC. I am thrilled to have found my passion working to improve how dairy animals are raised.
I welcome collaborations with others seeking to promote a sustainable dairy industry and improve farm animal welfare.