Dr. Jess Pempek joined the USDA-ARS Livestock Behavior Research Unit as a Research Animal Scientist in 2022. Growing up on a cow-calf operation in Belmont County, Ohio, caring for livestock was one of her first passions. This passion fueled her desire to pursue graduate school and study applied ethology and animal welfare in the Department of Animal Sciences at The Ohio State University (OSU), where she earned her MSc and PhD degrees. Dr. Pempek continued in Postdoctoral (2 years) and Research Associate positions (3 years) in the College of Veterinary Medicine, and then rejoined the Department of Animal Sciences as an Assistant Professor and Animal Welfare Specialist. The overarching goal of Dr. Pempek’s research program is to integrate aspects of applied ethology, epidemiology, physiology, and sociology to enhance the welfare of dairy and beef animals, particularly in early life. Specifically, she is interested in 1) strategies to optimize neonatal care; 2) the development and maintenance of calf social behavior; 3) promoting early disease detection and antimicrobial stewardship through an understanding of natural behavior and the application of precision technologies; and 4) welfare risk assessment, particularly in the male dairy calf production chain.