Ragen is a Research Scientist in Behavior and Welfare at Nestlé Purina. Since joining Nestlé Purina in 2009 her research has focused on using a holistic approach incorporating behavior, physiology, and endocrinology to quantify affective states and temperament in dogs and cats. With this knowledge, she aims to create products that cater to different behavioral needs of pets and to better understand and quantify the human-animal bond. Ragen earned B.S. in Zoology, a B.A. in Foreign Language and Literature and a PhD in Applied Ethology from Washington State University in Pullman, Washington. Her PhD research focused on Contrafreeloading behavior, a phenomenon whereby animals choose to work for food even when the same food is freely available, in grizzly bears, laying hens and laboratory mice. In addition, Ragen worked on other projects examining play behavior in piglets and children and means to reduce problem behaviors such as cannibalism in laying hens. Prior to joining Nestlé Purina Ragen held a post-doctoral research position in the Section for Ethology and Animal Welfare at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Uppsala, Sweden. Her post-doctoral research focused on the study of emotionality in dogs. Specifically she explored new methodology to objectively evaluate positive emotions in animals. This included using Cognitive Bias and Contrast to measure emotional states in dogs and studying the ‘Eureka Effect’ (emotional reactions to learning) in dogs. In addition to her passion for animals Ragen is also an avid dancer and has been an instructor of ballroom dance for many years. Ragen is based in Saint Joseph, Missouri where she lives with her husband, two children and two dogs.
Sunday, February 17
4:00 PM – 4:50 PM