Lazendra Hairston-Barton was Kentucky born, but Arkansas raised. In 1998, she obtained her Bachelors of Science degree in Fisheries Biology from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB). While attending UAPB she was fortunate to work two years with USDA-Agriculture Research Services learning about catfish cultivation and water quality management. This work led her to become a student research assistant with the UAPB Fish Health Laboratory where she lead laboratory operations upon graduation.
She spent one year of study at the University of Washington before returning back to Arkansas to work on her Master of Science degree in Aquaculture/Fisheries at UAPB. Her research focused on the study of the Resistance of Genetically Modified Catfish to Edwardsiella Ictaluri. Upon finishing her studies with this research she went on to work as a Research Assistant in Regulatory Science working on Swine Waste Treatment Lagoons.
She moved on to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences to work with the Cell Therapy Laboratory as a special processing technician processing cancer patients stems cells for preservation for future treatment.
From there she spent 8 years with the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality as a biologist and ecologist, conducting water quality studies and heading the in-state review of projects that make impacts to waters of the state.
She is currently employed with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC), as the agency’s Environmental Biologist Coordinator.
Lazendra has worked with the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies Minorities in Natural Resources Committee. She is actively involved with the AGFC Community Fishing Program, which gives her the opportunity to interact with minority communities and talk to them about all the opportunities there are in natural resources. On top of her outreach work with AGFC, she also works with her church Children’s Ministry and local women’s shelter. When she isn’t volunteering she, along with her husband, has an event planning and vending businesses. She is a mother of three adult daughters and one teenage son.