Kendra Zelachowski

Kendra Zelachowski

Thank you so much for awarding me with this scholarship. It is a great honor to know I was worthy of something like this when there were many other eligible candidates. The scholarship will be very helpful in pursuing my dream of becoming a veterinarian. It is nice to know I have people who believe in all of my hard work. Thank you again.

Hometown: West Chester, OH

School: Ohio State University

Major / Species: Veterinary Medicine

Career Goals: Beginning in autumn of 2017, I will be attending The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine. I always knew I wanted to be veterinarian. Every year for Christmas I received hidden picture books and a jigsaw puzzle because I craved puzzle, logic games and problem solving. As I grew up, these games turned into a necessity for me, becoming my primary source of stress relief and distraction from the real world. In short, I have to problem solve in order to live in reality. My love of animals paired with my need to problem solve is why I want to be a veterinarian. As to why I want to focus on swine, that all began with my job at the Ohio State University (OSU) swine barn. Pigs were the first large animal that I had the opportunity to work with closely. They challenged me. While they may not seem as big as cattle or horses, they can be just as terrifying coming at you at full speed. I learned to get over my hesitation with them. When they refused to cooperate or they unintentionally hurt me, it just gave me the drive to keep going and find a way to fix the problem. Working with other species had never given me this feeling. It is easy to get frustrated with animals and anyone who works with them understands that. However, something about working with pigs calms me more than it frustrates me. They have such a simple demeanor. Their level of curiosity fascinates me. In a way, I think I can relate to them. They want to be happy and content, but they also want to know every little detail and learn new things. In my swine production class, I was able to learn about the pork industry on a global scale. The amount of opportunities within the swine industry, whether it be location, size of operation, phase of operation, production methods or products produced, there will always be something new to try. I am excited to continue my journey in the swine industry with Smithfield Foods this summer as pork production intern. One other very important thing that stood out to me while working in this industry were the people. People of the agricultural world often crossed my path, always exuding kindness and helpfulness. A feeling of home and comfort set in for me while working at the OSU swine center, and I could see myself working in agriculture for the rest of my life. Moving forward into veterinary school next year, I see myself specializing in a food animal or mixed animal track. I also plan on using my elective courses to learn more about swine diseases and swine medical techniques. With a career that combines community service, education, challenges, diversity, problem solving and a passion for animals, I am thrilled to pursue veterinary medicine.