Dr. Amy Utt was born in California, but spent much of her young life in other states, including four years of her early life living in Lincoln, Nebaska. Dr. Utt graduated from Pacific Union College in 2001. Between college and graduate school, Dr. Utt interned at the Oregon Zoo in Portland, Oregon, with the Birds of Prey Program. Her experience working with birds fueled her desire to go back to school. She moved back to California and obtained her Ph.D. at Loma Linda University. While at Loma Linda, she studied animal behavior and conservation, researching the California condor. She worked closely with the San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park, the Nation Park Service, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service while conducting her research.
This is Dr. Utt's first full-time teaching job. Before moving to Union, she taught part-time at San Vernardino Valley College in California for several years, and had one contract teaching position at La Sierra University.
Dr. Utt is married to Jonathan Rickard, who works in the Student Finance office at Union College. They have a little boy named Benjamin who turned three in May. Other family members include Maximus (orange tabby cat), Cleopatra (gray tortoise shell cat), and Cassandra (green-cheeked conure).
Dr. Utt likes Union College for its friendly atmosphere. People in Lincoln have gone out of their way to help her family feel welcome. In addition, the students are very devoted to learning new things, which makes teaching an enjoyable and rewarding experience. "People are just nice, honest, and sincere here; they like you for who you are."