A Miami Moment with Jazzminn Hembree

Jazzminn Hembree

Meet Jazzminn Hembree and learn what scares her.

written by Margo Kissell, university news and communications,

Jazzminn Hembree is a laboratory coordinator in Miami University's animal care facility, which serves the biological sciences and others in the university research community. She is a certified animal technologist who started in the field when she was 17 as a student helper at the University of Cincinnati. She came to Miami in June 2013.

Q: Why were you drawn to this field?
A: I knew growing up I wanted to work in a field where I could care for animals in some aspect. My unwavering love for animals has now morphed into a love of science as well.   
In this field I have been awarded the opportunity to gain so much knowledge on the physiology of different species. But what I love most is that the work being done today will no doubt save someone’s life later, or at the very least make someone live a much more comfortable future.   

Q: What does an animal technologist do?
A: There are animal technologists who work in the veterinary side, the research staff side or the daily care side. I currently am working in the daily care side of animal research, which entails performing the daily health checks on each animal in my care, properly changing the cages and cleaning the equipment, properly setting up and sanitizing rooms and equipment. I work closely with the research staff to assess the needs of the animals on study and give appropriate care for the study in order to receive sound and accurate data results.

Q: What do you want people to know about animal research?
A: There is a huge misconception on what animal research really consists of. We have strict laws and regulations that we all must follow to protect the animals in our care. The studies must go through a rigorous approval process to ensure the safety of the animals as well as ensuring the investigator has exhausted all other options before placing the animals on the study.

Q: What animals do you work with at the animal care facility?
A: We house the typical lab animals, for the most part. We have mice and rats mainly, but we also have a couple of rabbits. Currently we are working with voles as well. We have a nice aquatics space where we house crabs and frogs. Occasionally we have short- term studies with birds, axolotls and turtles. This facility is great for the variety of species we get to care for.  

Q: You’re working on furthering your education?
A: I am currently enrolled in the BIS (Bachelor of Integrative Studies) program (offered at Miami's Regionals.) My major is organizational leadership. I have my associate's degree in multidisciplinary studies, in which I combined the first year of vet-tech courses, biotechnology courses and biology. I am currently enrolled in the ILAM (Institute for Laboratory Animal Management) course in May and have every intention of taking the CMAR (Certified Manager of Animal Resources) as well. I am hoping to acquire enough education and experience to move up into managing an animal facility one day.

Q: What would people be surprised to know about you?
A: I'm terrified of spiders!