A Summer to Remember

Last school year, I struggled to figure out what I was going to do with my summer. All of my classmates seemed to have amazing externships lined up, but all I had planned was hanging out with my family. So, I decided to take a leap and go on two international externships. I have always loved traveling and decided that this would be a great way to do something productive with my summer, while also seeing the world.

My first stop was Playa del Carmen, Mexico, for MARVET, a marine animal medicine veterinary externship. I was able to get some hands-on experience with dolphins, manatees, sharks, and sea lions. Clinicians from around the United States and Mexico spoke to us about aquatic animal rehabilitation, husbandry, and medicine. It was amazing to meet so many accomplished clinicians in the field in which I hope to work, while also being able to gain some much-needed hands-on experience.

Next, I headed to Bocas del Toro, Panama, for the CARES Project. CARES is an externship for veterinary and pre-veterinary students that focuses on wildlife medicine, conservation medicine, and One Health—a field that is focuses on the interrelationship between veterinary medicine, human medicine, and the environment. Visiting Bocas del Toro and participating in the CARES Project was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I was able to assist in many dog and cat surgeries, see a wild sea turtle, help in educating the indigenous communities about the importance of clean water and animal health, and conduct a physical exam on a white-faced capuchin monkey.

MARVET group
The MARVET group in Mexico

While I was initially hesitant about traveling to foreign countries I had never visited, I’m so glad I took the risk and decided to go. I learned so much by getting out of my comfort zone. Meeting clinicians and other students who are passionate about the same things I am was a great reinforcement to get through the next three years of veterinary school. Whenever I start feeling discouraged, I know that I can draw on those memories and knowledge.

My advice to anyone searching for something to do over the summer is to embrace your passion and do something that pushes you out of your comfort zone. You never know what experiences you’ll have!

Celebrating Senior Year in South Africa

Senior year is finally here for me!


To kick off my last undergraduate year, over the summer, I went on a pre-veterinary internship to South Africa in May. Hannah, a fellow CVM Ambassador and friend, accompanied me on this life-changing experience.

We traveled to Chintsa, South Africa, to shadow and assist veterinarians from all over the world through the program Safari 4U. It was a two-week internship that included 100 veterinary hours of experience, and we were able to interact with exotic and domestic animals of various types. From community service to game capture, we did it all!



Each day, we would drive to townships, known as underdeveloped urban areas, and go around the community to
give medical treatment to the locals’ animals, which ranged from dogs, puppies, cattle, and others. We did our
veterinary services for free for the locals and even held a spay and neuter clinic. Hannah and I received hands-on experience in giving    de-wormer to puppies and Ivermectin to animals in need.



For game captures, we were able to relocate animals for safety and breeding, and we personally were able to assist in moving a giraffe to his new home! We saw zebra, impala, blesbok, giraffes, lions, warthogs, and so much more! Each day was an adventure with a veterinarian or veterinary nurse/technician.

After a hard day’s work, we would go to the beach, ride horses, quad bike (or four wheel) up a mountain, or just gather seashells on the shore. It was a beautiful place to visit, even though it was the beginning of their winter season.


Overall, the trip greatly impacted Hannah and me in our decision to become veterinarians. Someday, I would love to return to the program as a veterinarian and teach some of the courses that were taught to me.

‘Final’ Motivation

It’s that time of the semester! The time where class days are dwindling and stress levels are growing.

Madelaine and an alpaca at a Pre-Vet Society event
Madelaine and an alpaca at a Pre-Vet Society event

Finals can be a little overwhelming, but the excitement of summer is a great source of motivation. My summer plans will be keeping me very busy; I’m really looking forward to all the different opportunities ahead of me.

Among those opportunities, I will be participating in a study abroad program through which I will spend four weeks in Thailand. I am beyond excited!

We will spend each week in a different region of Thailand as we gain a better understanding of how animal, human, and environmental health interact. I will have the opportunity to shadow a veterinarian at an elephant sanctuary, explore a new culture, and help with coral reef restoration.

This trip is going to be something I will never forget, and I am so excited to gain a broader view of veterinary medicine.

When I get back from my trip abroad, reality will settle in and it will be time to apply to veterinary school.

It is both exciting and terrifying to think about. I can’t believe how quickly my time at A&M has flown by.

The pre-veterinary resources here at A&M have already helped me so much in this process.

Recently I attended an application workshop that gave me a better understanding of the online application.

Fender smiles for the camera.
Fender smiles for the camera.

The TAMU Pre-Vet Society also has given me very unique animal experience that I never expected to receive. For example, I have been able to volunteer at alpaca farms, attend equine clinics, and help in the exotics room at Vet School Open House.

I’m very thankful that I am not going through this process alone. Applying to vet school is going to be nerve racking but I am excited to see where it takes me.

But before I can step into summer I have to face my final exams.

I am trying my best to be diligent and finish this semester strong. Things that keep me grounded include my friends, family and, especially, my dog, Fender.

Although the stress of finals is upon me, I know there is an end in sight, and I am hopeful that all of this hard work will be worth it.

Back in Texas

Kimberly holding a goatI can’t believe I’m back in the United States!

Studying abroad in Costa Rica for four months really felt like a dream now that I’m looking back.

I experienced so many things there that I could have never experienced here in Texas: trudging through the rainforest, walking through so much rain that my rainboots filled up to the brim, seeing thousands of sea turtles come up to the beaches to lay their eggs, and so much more.

It’s hard to describe how wonderful studying abroad is, and despite its ups and downs, I loved studying in Costa Rica!

Holding a cup of coffeeIt feels weird that I’m here taking classes with hundreds of people in a classroom rather than the 12 people I’ve gotten close with during the trip.

It also feels weird that I’m not surrounded by the rainforest.

As much as I want to go back to Costa Rica, it wouldn’t be the same, since I would be considered a tourist rather than someone who has lived in Costa Rica for four months.

Plus, I really missed Vietnamese food, so I don’t think I’d be able to live there.

I definitely advise undergraduates to look into studying abroad because it really broadened my mind about what’s out there.

You’ll get to bond with people as you work together to overcome the struggles of studying abroad.

In addition, you’ll bond with the professors on your trip.

For BIMS students, I definitely recommend looking into the Costa Rica Biomedical Science Semester Abroad program.

The optional two-week shadowing is a major resume booster for anyone who’s looking into either veterinary or human medicine.

I hope that more people study abroad and get to experience the same feelings I did!

Preparing to Study Abroad

Kimberly N.Several months ago, I was accepted to the biomedical sciences’ Costa Rica semester abroad program. Woo hoo!

But, now, I have to think about the most essential thing—money. How am I supposed to get the money to pay for this? As a first-generation student who is dependent on financial aid, money is a huge issue for me.

Thus, I started looking into scholarships and found one I am eligible for—The Gilman International Scholarship.

The Gilman International Scholarship is geared to Pell Grant recipients who are intending on studying abroad in a level one or two travel advisory country for more than three weeks. The application requires a statement of purpose essay (basically asks why you decided to go study abroad) and a project plan essay (which is your plan to promote the Gilman Scholarship AFTER you study abroad), along with your official transcript.

It has been a pretty easy process, other than the essay. The application is due in a few days, so I’m struggling to get my essay perfect while studying for my three exams, two of which are the day before the deadline (March 6). But I think the struggle with be worth it!

My advice to anyone considering studying abroad is this: There are resources! Study abroad sends out frequent emails about scholarships available, and you can go to the Money Management Center to work out how to save up for the trip if you need to.

Texas A&M isn’t called the No. 1 public university to send students abroad for no reason!

Taking Advantage of Opportunities

Kimberly N.Only 20 days of school left! I can’t believe time flew by so fast. Just a little over two months ago, I was starting my first semester of my sophomore year.

Because of the opportunities I found last year, I have been balancing not only school, but also working as an ambassador, doing research in the animal behavior lab, and volunteering at the Wildlife Center (it’s a class, but you’re essentially volunteering). It was a lot of work but also a lot of fun, too! I experienced so many new things this semester, and I can’t wait to experience more.

I like to think I’m a hard worker. Maybe it is the Vietnamese blood in me. Maybe it was my family’s circumstances. Maybe it is just my personality. Whatever the reason, that trait helped me get to where I am now.

About a month ago, I applied for the BIMS Costa Rica Study Abroad (which, by the way, I encourage any BIMS undergrad to apply for). In my application, I wrote a two-page essay that was peer-reviewed by four different people, along with the University Writing Center (super extra, I know). On Nov. 9, at 9:11 a.m., I received an email saying I had been accepted into the program. My heart stopped and I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t believe that I had been accepted! In disbelief, I emailed the professor asking if I was actually accepted and he said yes! Another person I know had also been accepted, but she wrote about a paragraph, so I guess I’m an overachiever. But I was extremely happy when I received that email because it showed that all my hard work paid off!

An important lesson I have learned this semester, which is advice I will now always offer to incoming freshmen, is that it is never too early to look for opportunities.

In fact, there are opportunities that have criteria you meet now and not later. I remember regretting not signing up for “Great Disease of the World” (one of the BIMS-directed electives) last spring because I found out too late that I could have gotten a certificate in public health entomology if I had taken that class. Now, I can’t, because you have to complete the class before you have 75 credit hours, which I have.

There are so many opportunities at Texas A&M, like research and study abroad programs, so you don’t have to look very hard to find something that might interest you.