Houston, We have a Veterinarian!
Waking up this morning, I planned on using my time and space
this week to discuss the joys of summer. How I have been out
of school for a week and was beginning to remember what it was like
to wake up rested in the morning. Or what it was like to have
a normal weekend filled with pool outings, Terminator movie
marathons, and grilling. Then I saw the shuttle launch.
Just like every young American boy, I traversed all the usual
childhood career fantasies. When I was really young, I was
all about being a firefighter. I collected firemen equipment
magazines, watched recruits at the local fire school, and even had
a fireman helmet. The next fantasy was to be a
veterinarian. I worked on an equine embryo transfer project
with my local veterinarian that produced a gorgeous little black
filly. I was hooked on being a vet…..but that didn't last
long. Then came the astronaut phase where I read about the great
adventures of the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo astronauts. Lastly, I
had visions of public service and political success. I
watched the 2000 and 2004 Presidential elections with the rapt
attention usually reserved for things like football and girls in
bikinis for a boy in high school. Man, I was interested in so
many things I couldn't even keep track anymore.
None of this really changed when I got to college. For 3+
years, I tried desperately to talk myself out of going into
veterinary medicine. I worked in D.C. one summer, shadowed
several human medical surgeons, talked to people in the athletics
departments about sports medicine, and even looked into law
school. Probably the craziest career interest I explored
involved working in the intelligence field (i.e. being a
spy). I could tell you more, but then I would have to kill
you. In the end, I couldn't squelch the voice in the back of
my head, and one day walking through the barn at the large animal
hospital I decided veterinary medicine was where I wanted to
be. I would settle as a veterinarian. No more big
dreams for me.
God works in mysterious ways. I knew before applying to
vet school that veterinarians were everywhere and did everything.
But it wasn't until I made that final decision to attend vet
school that I realized veterinary medicine could be my vehicle to
achieve nearly any dream I had as a child. My DVM degree
would be my launch pad. I would like you to meet a few
veterinarians serving very different atmospheres.
First, Dr. Debbye Turner Bell. Dr. Turner Bell is a
graduate of the University of Missouri College of Veterinary
Medicine. She is a proud mother, marathon runner, and
employee of CBS in New York City. Oh, and she was Miss
America……while in vet school. (And I thought I was
busy.) This amazing woman spoke at the Texas A&M DVM
commencement last year where she expounded upon her experiences as
a veterinarian, a television correspondent, and Miss America.
She serves as the resident veterinarian for The Early Show and a
field correspondent for CBS. To learn more about Dr. Turner
Bell, check out her website www.debbyeturner.com.
Next, there is Dr. Kurt Schrader, veterinarian and practice
owner from Oregon. Dr. Schrader is currently serving as U.S.
Representative from the Oregon 5th District. Dr.
Scharder is not the only vet who has served in the U.S. House or
Senate. Many more also serve in state houses around the
country bringing keen scientific knowledge and understanding into
bodies normally dominated by lawyers and political scientists.
Lastly, meet Drs. Martin Fettman and Richard Linnehan. Dr.
Fettman is a pathologist by education, and Dr. Linnehan specializes
in marine animal medicine. And they are both astronauts. Dr.
Fettman graduated from Cornell University and Dr. Linnehan from The
Ohio State University. Each one took vastly different paths
to the space program, one civilian and the other military. To
learn more check out their bios at www.nasa.gov.
Every one of these individuals sat exactly where I am sitting
now. I doubt any of them could have dreamed where a DVM would
carry them. Here I was choosing vet school 3 years ago
thinking that I would have to give up on my dreams of being an
astronaut or a policy maker. Instead I have learned that my
DVM can literally rocket me to my dreams, blazing paths I didn't
even know existed. That is the beauty of veterinary
medicine. It truly opens up a world of possibilities, scratch
that, a universe of possibilities. However, try as I might, I
don't think a DVM will lead me to the Miss America crown.
PS: I couldn't write a blog without mentioning Aggie
Athletics. Gig'em and good luck to the new men's basketball
coach Billy Kennedy. I expect big things!!