Thank you so much for the honor of being selected as a recipient of a 2018 Targeting Excellence scholarship! My education is incredibly important to me and your generous support is playing a pivotal role in making it possible. I did not grow up on a farm but I found my passion for livestock, specifically the dairy industry, through the 4-H program and it was reinforced by my involvement in the OSU Buckeye Dairy Club and my jobs on dairy farms and a calf ranch. With my love for the dairy industry and my appreciation for animal health, I strive to give back to the agricultural community that built me by becoming a Food Animal Veterinarian and serving the farming community that made me who I am today. This scholarship will be a huge help as I take on the next four years of veterinary school at The Ohio State University starting this fall. I look forward to continuing to be involved with Targeting Excellence events now and in the future. Thank you again for the opportunity, encouragement, and support; it means the world to me!
My passion for livestock and food animal medicine was not a calling discovered at a young age, but rather an ambition I developed after my family moved to the agricultural community that is London, Ohio. Before living in Ohio, I knew little about farm animals, having been raised in a Detroit suburb. The start of my eight year, life-changing 4-H career began when I joined 4-H in Ohio at the age of ten with a flock of six hens that I named and could feed from my hands.
Raising chickens required daily responsibilities and gave me my first exposure to the successes and heartbreaks of farming. The sense of fulfillment and happiness I achieved from my 4-H poultry project catalyzed the discovery of my calling to become a food animal veterinarian as I was inspired to try nearly every other 4-H livestock project and major in Animal Sciences at The Ohio State University. Each year in 4-H, I undertook a new challenge which resulted in cumulatively raising nearly every type of livestock. My specific passion for dairy cattle was founded by leasing 4-H heifers from a local dairy farmer. After raising and halter-breaking my heifers, as well as feeding calves at the dairy, I fell in love with the dairy industry. Since then, I have worked on several dairies and a calf ranch where I have had the opportunities to do everything from feed calves, milk cows, administer vaccines and IV fluids, practice palpation, pull calves, observe surgeries, and more. Meeting the veterinarians who came for herd checks also 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 farm 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 combined background of teaching in 4-H, a fascination with science and agriculture, and experience with numerous farms and large animal veterinarians has reinforced my confidence regarding the decision to pursue a career in veterinary medicine. Although I am not initially from a farming background, I found my passion for agriculture through 4-H. My 4-H experience and employment in the dairy industry have absolutely changed my life, and I strive to give back to the farming community that shaped me into the determined individual I am today through a career in veterinary medicine.
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Targeting Excellence PO Box 759 RoseHill, NC 28458
For questions please call: Rachel Virden 678-448-2368