I’d like to extend a heartfelt thank you to the Targeting Excellence Sponsors, Board, and Committees for their dedication to providing financial support to agricultural students with this scholarship program. Targeting Excellence has helped me connect with industry professionals and the scholarship helps alleviate some of the financial burden and stress of school. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for working so hard to create opportunities for students. I cannot wait to earn my degree and enter the veterinary profession to help farmers provide a healthy and safe food product for the global population.
My passion for livestock and food animal medicine was not one curated at a young age, but rather an ambition I developed after I moved to Ohio from Detroit, Michigan at a young age and became involved in the local 4-H program. During my eight years of 4-H I raised every species from poultry and goats to sheep and swine, but fell in love with the dairy heifer project and subsequently began feeding calves on a local dairy farm. My 4-H experience and exposure to agriculture catalyzed the discovery of my calling to be a food animal veterinarian, which led to my choice to major in Animal Sciences at The Ohio State University and spend multiple years employed in the dairy and beef industries. Meeting the veterinarians who came for herd checks while I worked on a dairy farm gave me insight to the life of food animal veterinarians who express true compassion while giving expert advice in an admirable way. Along with my hours of veterinary shadowing experience, this gave me the valuable opportunity to truly understand what a career in food animal veterinary medicine means and helped me realize that I want to be the professional that 4-Hers and farmers turn to for advice with their livestock. My favorite part about food animal medicine is that it is pragmatic, purposeful, and community-oriented. Food animals serve an essential role in feeding the world’s population, and routine veterinary care is crucial to maintaining herd health. Farmers and livestock owners truly care about the health of their animals but are forced to make difficult decisions. As a veterinarian, I will be an empathetic source of guidance to assist farmers in making the best choices for their herd health. My current future career goals are to work in general practice at a large animal or mixed animal practice in an area well-populated with dairy farms. While this is my current goal, I am aware that there are countless opportunities in the field of veterinary medicine and I plan to continue exploring other options in food animal medicine while in veterinary school. My overall goal is to serve farmers and make an impact in the agricultural community, thus I am determined to remain involved with livestock, whether that is through general practice, an animal health company, or perhaps a government position with ODA or the USDA. Furthermore, while much of my experience is with cattle and backyard poultry, I look forward to the opportunity to work with a variety of livestock species while maintaining expertise in cattle. My 4-H experience and employment in food animal industries have absolutely changed my life and given me a purpose. I aim to be a proficient large animal veterinarian with a specialization in cattle to give back to the farming community that shaped me into the determined individual I am today.