OURS Faculty Fellow: Jodee Hunt, Ph.D.
Born and raised in San Diego, California, Dr. Hunt has spent a lifetime studying and improving the lives of vertebrate animals. In a meandering career path that paused for stints in animal, veterinary, laboratory animal and fisheries sciences, primatology, and zoology before rooting deeply in ecology, evolution and animal behavior, Dr. Hunt has worked in ecosystems ranging from deserts to forests and ponds to streams located in Oregon, California, Arizona, Texas, Arkansas, Kansas and Michigan. She has handled, cared for, trained and studied diverse domesticated and wild species including rodents, snakes, lizards, monkeys, livestock, pets, songbirds and teleost fishes. She prefers diving with aquatic animals to fishing for them, and her research program emphasizes fish behavior and ecology. Dr. Hunt completed a five-year stint working with faculty in Nicaragua (UNAN Estelí) to infuse inquiry-based, research-centered approaches into their ecology, environmental science and ecotourism curricula. From her undergraduate years in Agriculture, she also developed a passion for sustainable agriculture, and teaches courses in agroecology at GVSU.
Dr. Hunt completed degrees at the University of Arizona (B.S. Animal Health Science), San Diego State University (M.S., Biology with an Ecology emphasis) and the University of Kansas (Ph.D, Systematics and Ecology). She loved working with undergraduates from her first day teaching a Human Anatomy laboratory at SDSU in 1987, and knew soon thereafter that her career would emphasize working with undergraduates in the classroom, laboratory and field. She mentored her first undergraduate research collaborator while still a graduate student at KU, and continued collaborating closely with undergraduate researchers since her first year at GVSU in 1995. She has mentored more than 50 undergraduates in diverse fields of inquiry since those early years. As a female scientist experienced in a breadth of fields in the life sciences, many of which were heavily male-biased during the 1980s and 1990s, she specializes in mentoring female and first-generation college students; almost all of her graduate students have been female heads-of-households with children.
An experienced animal handler who competed in dog obedience and livestock showmanship during the 1980s, Dr. Hunt currently owns two off-the-track thoroughbreds and two rescued Dobermans, one a former puppy-mill breeder. Fulfilling a life-long dream, she recently began competing in eventing and dressage with her daughter, both riding the thoroughbreds.