Darcy Jensen

JAX® Mice, Clinical & Research Services - Facilities

 Darcy Jansen

Tell us a bit about yourself and your background. Where you grew up, where you live now, family and pets… anything goes! 

I was born in California, and since 1978 have lived in Elk Grove, a suburb of Sacramento; Elk Grove use to be a rural town, but it is far from it now with a population of over 170,000. I have one brother who is almost two years older than me, and we are total opposites; he listens to death metal and I prefer pop and R&B.  Additionally, I have one son and one daughter who are ten years apart. 

What hobbies or interests do you enjoy in your free time?

My happy place is at a cabin my Grandfather and his fireman buddies built in Truckee, CA; the town is quaint and picturesque, where I spend as much time as I can playing GAMES like Darts, Cornhole, Yahtzee, and Dominos. Right before the pandemic I moved into a new place and was able to get a little garden box started. With some help, I planted a couple of vegetables which I have enjoyed watching grow. My garden is like a metaphor for this stage in my life and like me, it is growing, a new beginning.

Tell us about someone in your life who inspired you or helped you become who you are today.

My dad is a big part of who I am; he was a great listener and had compassion for others. I never heard him say an unkind word about anyone. When I had my son, I literally grew up as he changed my life in a deeply profound way allowing me to settle into myself. In addition, my daughter inspires me; she is a swimmer, and trains hard year-round. She does not let peer pressure influence her and is wise beyond her years.  

What motivates you or helps you feel fulfilled?

My kids are my number one motivator. I am always trying to be a better version of myself, so they have someone to look up to as I want to be a good role model to them. Even if I stumble, I want them to see me get back up, move forward, and show them how incredibly strong their mom is.

What do you really well? Is there anything you wish you could improve?

I am as authentic as one gets and like my dad, have compassion. I am a good listener and will do anything I can for those I care about. Anyone who knows me would agree that I am pretty darn neurotic, so that is something I could definitely improve on; I worry far too much! 

Let’s talk about your career journey. What inspired you to go into your current field? What first brought you to JAX? Has your job changed since you joined?

In 2008, I was an Assistant Manager at Starbucks where the hours were all over the place which was extremely difficult as I had a newborn baby. I wanted a more consistent schedule, and I began working at JAX in February 2008 as the Administrative Assistant for the scientists of the In Vivo Services group.

My role has morphed and expanded a lot over the years; a few months before we moved to our current facility, I was called into the Human Recourses office. When I walked in, the manager was laughing as she told me to have a seat. She told me that there was going to be an addition to my administrative responsibilities - I was going to be the Security Coordinator for our site and would sit at the front desk. I would also be expected to wear a uniform of khakis, a black polo shirt and black boots; after some reflection, I proposed a compromise - pink polos & pink Doc Martens boots. They agreed, and the JAX CA Security uniform was pink for the first few years!

In 2009, I became the Administrative Assistant for the Facilities team while continuing to support the Security team. I sat at the front desk until the pandemic hit at which time I began working remotely. Through the years I have also had the opportunity to work in different animal rooms, providing support before my regular shift.

In 2010, several animal rooms needed help with their high volume of shipping, so I supported them by prepping and labeling their shipping boxes; technicians would fulfill the orders and I would strap them.

After a few years, I began helping Breeding Services. At that time, they were in the midst of a large aging study and needed help with data entry. When the study ended, I prepped wean and breeder boxes. I did that until sometime around 2017. 

In December 2020, the pandemic took quite a toll on staffing in the rooms, so I began helping Breeding Services again. I was able to re-connect with many familiar faces and meet some new ones as well. I really enjoy working with the technicians! It’s truly amazing how much gratitude they have for something that seems so small.

I am proud to always have a “One Team” attitude.

How do explain your current work to others? What’s your favorite thing about it?

When people ask what I do, I tell them “I’m an Admin for the Facilities team and do a little bit of everything,” which is my favorite thing about working at JAX!