Aggie Student Overcomes Odds To Graduate With Veterinary Degree

Story by Rachel Knight, VMBS Communications

Guenther in her white coat doing gig 'em
Rebecca Guenther
Photo by Jason Nitsch ‘14, Texas A&M University Division of Marketing and Communications

Rebecca Guenther has dreamed of becoming a veterinarian since she was 6 years old and has been working toward that goal for as long as she can remember. 

“Becoming an Aggie veterinarian is the first step in fulfilling my life’s purpose,” she said. “Every time I am in the clinic, working with a patient or talking to a client, I have a very profound sense that this is exactly where I am supposed to be and what I’m supposed to be doing with my life.”

Along Guenther’s path to achieving that purpose was the happy surprise of welcoming a daughter into her family, which will make her walk across the commencement stage even more special.

While her journey as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine student at the Texas A&M School of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences has been unconventional, it’s also been full of unforgettable moments that she looks forward to celebrating on May 8 at her graduation.

A Veterinary Valentine

Guenther’s education at Texas A&M began in 2014 when she started an undergraduate degree in animal science. While completing her bachelor’s degree, she also worked in the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital’s communications department and was among the first people to explore the Veterinary & Biomedical Education Complex (VBEC), which houses the school’s administrative offices and educational spaces, when it opened in 2016. 

“Every now and then, they (in the VMTH) would send me over to the Dean’s Office (in VBEC),” she said. “I remember thinking how huge the education complex was, that it was beautiful and there was so much light and artwork on the walls, every time I walked over to the new location. It was one of those things where you feel like it’s a dream to ever think you would be able to go to veterinary school here.”

When the time came to apply to vet school, there was just one choice for Guenther — Texas A&M. Acceptance letters into the program typically hit future Aggie veterinarians’ inboxes in mid-February, and Guenther said the sweetest valentine she received the year she got into veterinary school was from the VMBS. 

“It was the day my now-husband and I celebrated Valentine’s Day, and I actually hadn’t checked my email at all that day,” she recalled. “As we were about to call it a night, I thought, ‘You know what? I should just check quickly to make sure there’s nothing from the VMBS.’ When I opened my inbox and saw that I was going to vet school, I instantly started celebrating. I started jumping and shaking my husband, saying, ‘Oh, my God! It happened!’”

Making The Dream Come True

Guenther and her baby daughter
Guenther and her daughter
Photo by Jason Nitsch ‘14, Texas A&M University Division of Marketing and Communications

Before becoming a DVM student, Guenther had the opportunity to shadow a veterinarian in her hometown of Marble Falls as part of a career shadow program organized by her high school. Her time at Horseshoe Bay Veterinary Clinic with Dr. Garrett Craig ‘00 confirmed that her childhood dream was unquestionably the correct field for her. 

Fast forward to her first day of vet school, though, and like most professional students, Guenther’s excitement for her chosen field mingled with a bit of imposter syndrome during her first few days of class. 

“Those first few days were overwhelming. I was thinking that not only am I at one of the top universities for vet school but I’m with the top 150+ students who applied to get into vet school,” she said. “The thing that helped me overcome that feeling was how friendly everybody was. Our class was willing to step up and talk to each other and start making connections.

“Realizing everyone was in the same boat and trying to help each other through was what got me to the point where I felt more confident in myself,” she said. “It also helped me make lifelong friends with a core group of girls whom I plan to keep in touch with long after graduation.”

In addition to making new friends, some of Guenther’s favorite moments in vet school include the Objective Structured Clinical Exams (OSCEs), which provide an opportunity for students to be tested in a practical skill. For example, students may be taught a specific suture, given a few minutes to practice that suture on a synthetic model, and then be tested on the suture. 

“Even though the OSCEs came with a higher level of stress, they were also a really good way to see that even in a short amount of time, I can learn and do whatever I put my mind to,” Guenther said.

A Growing Aggie Family

At the end of her second year in the DVM program, Guenther and her husband — who was her high school sweetheart — learned she was pregnant. 

“My pregnancy and my daughter’s birth were such a huge change in plans; there really isn’t a single way in which they didn’t affect my vet school career,” she said. “The administration, and especially Dr. (Karen) Cornell (associate dean for the DVM Professional Program), was so supportive throughout my pregnancy and with my daughter’s needs as well. They made sure I had everything I needed and that my instructors were comfortable with any accommodations. So, while it was a huge change and a lot of stress at times, I honestly made it through very easily with their help.”

Upon her birth, Guenther’s daughter was an instant celebrity among Guenther’s peers. 

“All of my classmates are a little in love with her, and she can be a little distracting when she comes around, so she doesn’t visit the VMBS often, but she’ll be with her dad in the audience at graduation,” Guenther said. 

Navigating the intersection of her daughter’s birth — and both her and her daughter’s needs after she was born — with the requirements of the DVM program taught Guenther a valuable lesson as well.

Rebecca Guenther with her husband, daughter, and dog
The Guenther family
Photo by Jason Nitsch ‘14, Texas A&M University Division of Marketing and Communications

“Almost as soon as I found out that I was pregnant, I sent an email to Dr. Cornell and she and I had a Zoom meeting about a month or so before the semester started,” Guenther said. “She let me know that if I needed anything, all I had to do was ask her, and she’s been true to her word. There’ve been a few things that I’ve gone to her about and she’s said, ‘No problem. We’re going to make it work for you.’”

Guenther said she’d advise anyone in a similar situation to work with administrators as soon as they find out about a major life change and not to be afraid to advocate for themselves. 

“When you have something you need or you have an issue that pops up, let someone know and they’re going to do everything they can to make sure you’re supported and able to continue your dream,” she said.

Living The Dream

Guenther’s affinity for learning will continue to serve her well after graduating in May, when she joins one of the small animal veterinary clinics in Marble Falls. She said her family is looking forward to having them back home, and Guenther’s looking forward to raising her daughter close to her grandparents. 

“It’s the one thing that I’ve been working on for my entire life,” she said. “It’s probably going to be a little bit like a dream walking the graduation stage.”


For more information about the Texas A&M School of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, please visit our website at or join us on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

Contact Information: Jennifer Gauntt, Director of VMBS Communications, Texas A&M School of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences,, 979-862-4216

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