University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
College of ACES
ACES Animal Sciences
Give to Animal Sciences

Jeff Firkins

Becoming a professor is very rewarding if you have a real passion, if you want to have questions answered, and if you want to be on the leading edge of finding that information.
Major: Animal Sciences
Hometown: Delaware, Ohio

Jeff Firkins quenches his thirst for knowledge as an animal sciences professor at The Ohio State University.

“I judge every day based on whether or not I learned something,” said Firkins, a University of Illinois Department of Animal Sciences graduate. “The best part about my job is that almost every day I learn something that I didn’t know the day before.”

Firkins has a 70 percent research and 30 percent teaching appointment. He studies dairy nutrition, including alternatives to starch, digestibility and rumen microbial production.

“Becoming a professor is very rewarding if you have a real passion, if you want to have questions answered, and if you want to be on the leading edge of finding that information,” he said.

Firkins enjoys teaching students in the classroom as well as in the laboratory.

“The best part is when I see the students’ light bulbs turn on and they have this ‘aha’ moment and when they really understand it,” he said.

Firkins said it charges him to know his opinion and perspective are valued as a researcher and professor.

“It gives me reinforcement for what I do,” he said. “It is important to me that I don’t ever lose sight of the importance of researching and discussing a topic.”

Firkins said your reputation means everything in the field of research.

“You need to be known as the go-to person. While I don’t need to be the go-to person for everything, for a few things, I want to be the person people want to talk to,” he said. “All researchers need to make their mark.”