2019 DAFVM Spotlight Employees

Kimberly Johnson

Kimberly Johnson
January 2019

Histotechnologist
CVM
Pathohistology

Years in Position: 4
Years at MSU: 4

Attention to detail and a passion for learning new things have made pathohistology a perfect career for Kim Johnson.

Histotechnologists perform the numerous steps required to prepare tissue samples for examination and diagnosis by a pathologist.

Kim’s work is very technical and precise.

“A lot rides on what we do,” she explains. “In both human and animal medicine, everyone wants results as soon as possible, but most people don’t understand how much time it takes to prepare the tissue samples for reading.”

Before joining CVM, Kim worked at North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo.

“A lady I used to work for taught me everything I know about histology. She worked at NMMC in Tupelo for 40 years. She got me interested in it and then I fell in love with it. It’s never dull.”

Though Kim enjoyed her job at NMMC, she was intrigued by an MSU job posting. She started work in January 2015, not knowing her family would soon face a difficult trial.

“In February of that year my six-year-old grandson was having headaches and getting nauseated,” she remembers. “My son-in-law had taken him to get blood work and the doctor thought he was having migraines.”

After her grandson collapsed on the playground, Kim knew something was seriously wrong. A CT scan revealed a mass on his brain.

“I thought, ‘I’ve just started this job at MSU, what am I going to do?’ But the people here were incredibly supportive,” she says.

After an eight-hour surgery, 6 weeks of radiation and 8 months of chemotherapy, her grandson was cancer free, and has been for three years.

Kim has been married to Ricky Johnson for 22 years. Between them they have four children, Lee Ann Houpt, Brandon Sheffield, Brian Johnson, and Kevin Johnson; and four grandchildren, Brodey, Collins, Harley, and Chase. Kim loves animals, and has dogs, cats, and cows.

“I love being outside and enjoying family life,” she says. “You look at family differently when you’ve gone through something like this. My parents are still alive, 83 and 79, and I love spending time with them.”

Travis Childress

Travis Childress
January 2019

Operations Coordinator
Mississippi Horse Park
Oktibbeha

Years in Position: 3
Years at MSU: 3

Originally from Mason, Tennessee, Travis and his family moved to Starkville three years ago for him to assume the position of Facility Operations Coordinator at the Mississippi Horse Park.

Travis and his two technicians are responsible for maintaining the facility including equipment, grounds, barns, arenas and roads.

“The Horse Park is heavily used each year and had 145 days of activities in 2018,” Travis said. “My crew is responsible for the setup and breakdown of all of these events. I try to go above and beyond expectations to accommodate the needs of producers and attendees. I want everyone who walks through the gates to feel welcome.”

Travis enjoys getting to do something different every day and meeting new people along the way.

“I have a pretty laid back personality, and I thrive under the pressure of events,” he said.

Travis and his wife, Kim, have four children John, Kolton, Kaylee and Kinlee. In his spare time, you will find him at barrel races all over the country and spending time with his family.

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