I would like to express my gratitude to the sponsors, board, and committee 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 support!
I have always had a passion for animals and their welfare, and I was fortunate to have many experiences with companion animals from an early age. I sought to diversify the species with which I worked upon beginning college, and I chose to volunteer caring for the livestock at the Carolina Waterfowl Rescue. I discovered a great enthusiasm for these species as I tended to the cows, pigs, goats, sheep, chickens, and donkeys that came through the rescue.
At NC State University, I was able to further pursue my interest in large animals as an intern at our university swine farm. There, I could actively participate in all aspects of swine production, from artificial insemination to farrowing to processing piglets. This opportunity was invaluable for me as it was my first true exposure to food animal production. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience, and so continued to work at the swine farm as an employee after my internship. I hoped to broaden my involvement in the animal production industry, so I began volunteering at the university dairy farm as well, later becoming an employee. I now have the pleasure to learn about cattle and dairy production processes as a milker working with the cows in the parlor, a feeder working with the young calves, and a pusher working with the herds of the free stall barn to manage movement, manure, and feed. Over the summer, I had the opportunity to ride with a large animal veterinarian, assisting with examinations, surgeries, and treatments and learning about animal agriculture from a medical perspective.
I am incredibly grateful to have had these experiences. Because of them, I cannot picture a future career path that does not involve food animals. I have fallen for everything that the farm environment has to offer and the many wonderful members, both animal and human, of the animal agriculture industry. These experiences have firmly set me on the path to becoming a mixed animal veterinarian. A mixed animal track offers variety in daily work regarding scenery, problems, and animals, and it provides me with the flexibility to assist any domestic species that I may encounter. I would like to work in a rural area to directly support the operations of farmers, and I hope to eventually operate my own practice. I am looking forward to the challenge of learning the intricacies of the many species and the unique production processes of each. One of the most worthwhile aspects of veterinary medicine for me is the ability to make a positive impact on my community. Veterinarians of the animal production industry in particular have the unique opportunity to support the public sector in addition to the private sector by ensuring the welfare of our food animal stock and the safety of our food supply. The veterinary track can be shaped to uniquely suit one’s own interests, and I am excited for the opportunities it holds for my future.