Assistant Professor of Animal Science
In 1999, Dr. Jason Roberts graduated from UT Martin with a bachelor’s degree in agriculture. And although he left Martin to attend the College of Veterinary Medicine at UT Knoxville and received a doctor of veterinary medicine degree, he never really “left” Martin.
“My career plans were to return to the West Tennessee area and work in a mixed-animal practice with the possibility of owning my own practice at some point,” said Roberts. After graduating, he did just that – working with two other veterinarians in a mixed-animal practice in Dresden for seven years. “It was great to meet and work with many great people and animals on a day-to-day basis.” He added, “I really enjoyed practice, but I also wanted to be more involved with UT Martin.
Roberts had remained connected to his alma mater while in practice, and it was the opportunity to teach some classes and laboratories during that time that led to his career change. “It was a tough decision to leave private practice, but I really enjoyed teaching and working with the students. I hope to be a positive influence on many students and help them reach their career goals and attend vet school.”
Roberts enjoys most things about teaching – seeing students who are challenged and motivated to learn the material presented and teaching practical information that will be useful to students throughout their careers. He finds it “very rewarding” to see students learn and enjoy a new procedure or technique in hands-on laboratories and the satisfaction they gain from being able to complete the task.
“In the end, the greatest reward is to see students accomplish their personal goals of professional school, graduate school or their ‘dream job,’” he said.
But fulfilling his dream job includes more than teaching animal science and taking care of the animals on the teaching farm at UT Martin. Roberts is also director of the West Tennessee Animal Diseases Diagnostics Laboratory located on campus.
“At the lab we perform necropsies for pet owners and livestock producers in the area,” said Roberts. He sees the lab as a valuable asset for UT Martin for several reasons. “First, it is a benefit to local pet owners or producers who are having health problems in their animals or herds. The closest state lab outside of Martin is Nashville. The lab is also a great teaching tool. Students interested in animal science, animal health and veterinary medicine have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the lab and learn anatomy, physiology and pathology.”
Roberts said the lab also has been utilized by the campus wildlife program for teaching purposes. He said the students seem to learn and retain more information when they have the opportunity to see and feel the things taught in the classroom. “A disease process is more real when they see the actual results of management mistakes or disease processes in the lab. It provides great teaching opportunities.”
Roberts has an extensive list of scholarly, grants and contracts and teaching development activities. He also is involved in public service, university service and consulting activities. Roberts is a member of the American and Tennessee Veterinary Medical Associations and the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture. He is president and co-founder of the West Tennessee Veterinary Medical Association and also has been involved in the Tennessee Lab Animal Health Advisory Board, Weakley County Livestock Produces/Dresden FFA, Carroll County Humane Society, Hoofbeats of Hope LLC-Therapeutic Riding Center and 4-H Roundup/Veterinary Science.
Roberts and his wife, Beth, have a daughter, Addie.