Thank you so much for the time, effort, and money that is put into organizing this scholarship. Receiving this scholarship makes such a huge difference for me personally as I will be able to use it to cover a significant portion of my housing costs next year while I am completing my second year of veterinary school.
My very first day at veterinary school I received an email from a woman in Massachusetts to whom I had sold two baby goats in 2012. One of the wethers had a urinary calculi, and her vet was away. She was in great distress because the only other large animal veterinarian she could reach was from Connecticut and wasn’t licensed in Massachusetts. This is just one example of the difficulties that are faced by someone trying to find a large animal veterinarian in New England. I remember as a young child bringing our goats into small animal clinics because we couldn’t find any large animal veterinarians. Eventually I hope to open my own large animal practice in New England and make it a little easier for farmers and backyard enthusiasts to find veterinary care.
I have a particular interest in working with family-run farms to improve herd health. For several summers post high school I worked at a cow-calf ranch in Montana. During this time, I was essentially living as part of the family, and I gained a huge appreciation for the trials and limitations that they face. Many practices that can help improve herd health and productivity are simply unattainable to farms that are shorthanded and have limited funds. I am interested in working with farms individually to come up with methods that are attainable for their individual production system. The past few months I have been communicating with veterinarians at Tufts Field Service and we have submitted a proposal for me to do research with them over this summer involving a new piece of semen analysis equipment. The goal is that it can be used to increase reproduction rates in small ruminants.
During my Master’s research at URI, I learned that health improvements methods don’t always work as planned. My research involved taking a well-established in vitro concept and testing it in vivo on parasite control in sheep. The results did not turn out as expected, and I learned an important lesson about how at every stage of incorporating health improvement plans the results may not be what you expect, even if you have an extensive amount of research backing up your expectations. This is why I would like to incorporate an applied aspect of research to my work with producers in improving herd productivity. A method that is successful with one herd may not prove so on another, and the more we can learn about these dynamics the more successful we can help these farms become.
The major limitation that I expect to face as I move forward is due to lack of finances. While I don’t mind taking a job after graduation that doesn’t pay overly well, I will have serious hesitations to do so depending on the size of my educational debt. My hope is that when I graduate I will be able to choose a position based on how well it will fit my goals without being limited by finances. Because any scholarships that I receive will greatly enhance my ability to do this, I greatly appreciate any financial assistance that I receive.