A few days ago, six fellow classmates and I gathered to have a
catered lunch from a College Station favorite, Blue Baker, with our
three faculty mentors. Every now and then we meet to discuss
current happenings in the vet school and receive some sage advice
about developing our future careers. On this occasion, being
mid-semester, spring break and summer plans were big topics of
Most of us are planning on catching up on sleep
and TV shows during our Spring Break week, but a few relayed some
exciting travel plans for sunny destinations; conversely, I know
quite a few students and friends who are choosing snow for their
As for me, the mountains will have to wait until summer, when I
plan to stop by my parents’ home in Colorado before hopefully
heading off to a veterinary student internship!
Last summer, I spent the majority of my time at home in
Colorado, helping out with my family’s ever-growing ranch of
animals and getting some valuable shadowing experience in equine
sports medicine. I’ve been an avid equestrian since I was in
diapers and learning more about some of the injuries horses sustain
from show jumping and dressage has been a longtime interest.
Since last fall, however, I’ve been contemplating what to do
with this summer, and in January, I took the plunge into
preparing applications for what I call my “oddball
interest”—primate medicine. I was first exposed to the study of
primates as an undergraduate, researching a variety of social and
cognitive behaviors in capuchins and hamadryas baboons that were
housed on my school’s campus. I found it incredibly fascinating and
ever since have wanted to explore the veterinarian’s role in caring
for these species.
When most people hear primates, they think of zoo medicine;
however, primates fill a huge area of regulated laboratory
research. Subsequently, veterinarians are utilized to help manage
their care and headline study design and publication. This practice
is incredibly important in terms of understanding mechanisms of
disease and improving treatments for everything from infectious
organisms to pathologic disorders of the heart, all of which can be
applicable to human medicine.
My goal for this summer is to receive mentorship from practicing
board-certified laboratory animal veterinary specialists to better
learn about the ins and outs of this career path. I reached out to
four institutions with programs specifically designed for
veterinary students interested in learning more about primate
medicine and research. Each program had slightly different
requirements, and I felt like I was applying to vet school all over
again! Preparing a resume, writing personal statements to fit the
individual programs, asking trusted individuals for letters of
recommendation, and then waiting, waiting, waiting for news….
Fortunately, I have just heard back from the first of the four,
with an offer to interview over spring break! I am incredibly
excited; so please keep your fingers crossed for me!