I would like to express my gratitude to the sponsors, board, and committees that make the Targeting Excellence Scholarship possible. The support of this scholarship is invaluable to the students of animal agriculture and the continued success of the industry. I am incredibly thankful and honored to have been selected for this award and for the opportunity to continue pursuit of a veterinary career. Thank you once again for your generous support!
My dream career has been a veterinarian from a young age, but I struggled for a long time to decide with which animals I wanted to work until my college animal experiences. I had prior familiarity with small animals, so it was unsurprising that I thoroughly enjoyed working with them as a veterinary assistant. To diversify my experiences and engage with other species, I began volunteering at Carolina Waterfowl Rescue, which accepts all manner of animals. I have always felt an affinity for livestock species, despite lacking opportunities for interaction. I chose to work primarily with these and discovered how much I loved caring for the goats, sheep, pigs, chickens, ducks, cows, and donkeys that came through the livestock area. I further pursued my large animal interests as an intern at the swine farm of our university campus. There, I could actively participate in all aspects of swine production, from artificial insemination to farrowing to processing piglets to shipping pigs to auction. This opportunity was especially enlightening and exciting as it was my first in food animal production. I enjoyed it so much that I continued to work at the swine farm as an employee after my internship, and I looked for more opportunities to get involved within the production industry. Our campus dairy farm caught my interest, and I began volunteering. I now have the pleasure to learn about cows and dairy production processes, primarily as a worker in the milking parlor but also as a calf feeder. I am incredibly grateful to have had these opportunities. Because of them, I cannot picture a future career that does not involve food animals. I have fallen for everything that the farm environment has to offer, including the animals it houses, the opportunity to be outdoors, and the fantastic employees. These experiences firmly set me along the pathway of a mixed animal veterinarian. I want to get out of the city, and I would eventually like to operate my own practice. A mixed animal track offers variety in daily work regarding both scenery and animal species. I could treat any domestic species that requires assistance as a mixed animal veterinarian. I love the challenge of learning as much as possible about all of the species and the production processes around them. The problem-solving aspect of veterinary medicine is fun for me as well; I get to put the puzzle pieces together and help both people and animals. The human element and ability to help and impact others are some of the most worthwhile aspects of veterinary medicine for me. I would be able to assist in the public sector as well as the private by working to ensure the welfare and safety of our food animals. I could work directly with farmers as well as individual pet owners. This track can be uniquely shaped to suit your specific interests, and I am excited for the opportunities it holds for my future.