Amy M. Kerwin
Education: B.S., Medical Microbiology and Immunology; M.B.A.
Favorite Fruit: Raspberries
Favorite Activity: Playing trombone
Amy formed Primates Incorporated in 2003 while working in a laboratory with 97 rhesus monkeys after obtaining her undergraduate degree in Medical Microbiology and Immunology. While other laboratories were retiring monkeys at the time, Kerwin’s place of employment did not believe in retiring primates and she was unable to send any of the monkeys to a sanctuary.
She thought since the research study received funding to test on the monkeys because they were so similar to us, that the very least laboratories and society could do is give back to monkeys whenever possible by sending them to a sanctuary.
She chose to resign from the laboratory so that she could work with other laboratories already retiring monkeys and has taken pride over the years in connecting researchers from across the U.S. with each other who care about primate retirement.
Realizing sanctuary space and funding were limited, but the need for primate retirement was on the rise, Kerwin pursued a Master’s in Business Administration so that she could manage Primates Incorporated and bring various volunteers and supporters together to increase awareness about the need to help monkeys retire from labs into sanctuaries.
She currently donates her time to various roles including leading the organization, filling in for care staff, writing grants, and spreading awareness about primate retirement.
Animal Care Manager
Education: B.S., Zoology
Favorite Fruit: Bananas
Favorite Activity: Spending time in nature
Fallon has been helping Primates Incorporated fulfill its mission since 2013. She has been working with both domestic and exotic animals for much of her life, but is most passionate about primates. Fallon attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Zoology. While in school, she interned and volunteered at Four Lakes Wildlife Center rehabilitating sick, injured, and orphaned wildlife of south central Wisconsin.
Fallon has both laboratory and sanctuary primate experience. She worked at a local laboratory with macaques prior to moving to Louisiana to pursue her dream of working at a primate sanctuary. At Chimp Haven, she worked with 160 chimpanzees who were retired from biomedical research. It was rewarding to develop relationships with and thank the chimpanzees for giving their lives to research. Fallon is honored to have this opportunity again, this time with monkeys!
Primate Behavioral Research and Welfare Manager
Education: B.S., Biology and Physical Anthropology; M.S., Primate Behavior & Ecology
Favorite Fruit: Mangos
Favorite Activity: Playing ukulele
Hilary Hemmes-Kavanaugh is a primatologist and manager of the enrichment and behavioral research program at Primates Incorporated. She is currently monitoring the acclimatization of newly retired monkeys from medical laboratories along with developing our enrichment program with innovative and species-specific enrichment devices. She is hopeful that her studies may contribute to our understanding of the behavioral processes that primates experience during retirement to sanctuary. Furthermore, she hopes that this knowledge can be used to reduce stress in retired individuals through improving our and other care facilities caregiving practices.
Hilary graduated from Central Michigan University in 2011 with a bachelor of science. In 2010 she fulfilled a three month primate husbandry internship with the Primate Rescue Center and in 2012 a six month primate research internship with the gorillas and orangutans of the Smithsonian National Zoo. In 2017 she obtained her master of science in primate behavior and ecology from Central Washington University. Her master’s thesis was centered on the under-studied and critically-endangered gray-shanked douc langurs’ (Pygathrix cinerea) activity budgets in a semi-captive environment. For two months she lived in central Vietnam and studied primate behavior with the assistance of the Endangered Primate Rescue Center (EPRC). Hilary is inspired to give primates a voice who would not have one otherwise and is grateful for this “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity help retired primates.
Primate Behavior Specialist
Education: B.S., Psychology (with primate behavior focus)
Favorite Fruit: Bananas (with peanut butter!)
Favorite Activity: Doing arts and crafts
Breanne Cyr has been a primate enthusiast since childhood, and her passion for primates continued to grow as she worked with monkeys on the University of Wisconsin campus. She graduated from the UW with a B.S. in psychology and a focus on primate behavior. In her work with primates, Breanne enjoyed studying their behavior, social bonding, and health. She opted to complete a senior thesis project where she evaluated the links between social behavior, rank, and stress in juvenile monkeys.
Breanne describes Primates Incorporated as a dream come true right in her backyard. She aims to further explore primate behavior and socialization while enriching the lives of monkeys in as natural an environment as possible. The sanctuary is her ideal place to be because she is passionate about helping monkeys and excited about the continuing opportunity to observe and learn about their behavioral complexities.
Breanne has also worked in a biochemistry lab and spent three years in nursing school at the UW. The skills she’s learned will help her monitor the monkeys’ health and well-being. She also volunteered at Four Lakes Wildlife Sanctuary rehabilitating young mammals. Breanne currently enjoys volunteering for the Dysautonomia Youth Network of America, an organization that supports young people affected by dysautonomia health conditions.
Education: Major in Wildlife Ecology and minor in Captive Wildlife
Favorite Fruit: Strawberries
Favorite Activity: Hiking, camping, and reading
Amber is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point with a major in Wildlife Ecology and a minor in Captive Wildlife. She has cared for many pets in her life and always had a passion for wild animals. She is devoted to the well-being of captive animals and decided to work at Primates Incorporated to give back to the monkeys who given so much to humans. She looks forward to doing all that she can to help these animals.
Staff Photo Credit: Robert Streiffer