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Olney native studies birds, bees …And elephants…

Posted on Tuesday, July 2, 2013 at 1:17 pm

Tracy Northcutt, an Olney-area native and graduate of O’Fallon’s St. Dominic High School, has landed herself a job that few could imagine. Unable to turn down the opportunity of a lifetime, Northcutt has made a career of breeding and studying the reproduction of elephants.

As the Junior Research Scientist and Endocrinology Lab Manager at Springfield’s Missouri State University Darr School of Agriculture, Northcutt has her hands in a fair share of projects involving the reproduction and fertility of elephants.

“I run weekly hormone assays for elephants across the country to determine ovulation dates for breeding and artificial insemination (AI) attempts, pregnancy diagnosis and monitoring, fetal sexing, and identify non-cycling females,” Northcutt explained. “I travel to zoos and circuses with Dr. Dennis Schmitt to assist with AI procedures and reproductive ultrasound exams.”

See the rest of Tracy’s story, as well as some photos from her adventures, on the front cover of this week’s Bowling Green Times.