I am humbled and honored to be a 2023 Targeting Excellence Scholarship recipient. Thank you to the Targeting Excellence sponsors, board members, and committees for making this scholarship possible. Your continued support helps students like me achieve their dreams. My career goal is to work as a mixed animal veterinarian in rural Northwest Ohio after I graduate from Ohio State. Northwest Ohio is home to my entire family and our farm of three generations. I will return to that area following graduation to serve my community, 4-H program, and local FFA Chapter. These organizations helped shape me into the woman I am today, and I hope to inspire the love of agriculture and animals among generations to come. As a food animal veterinarian, I will work closely with producers (dairy, cattle, poultry etc.) to design and implement sustainable production practices and ensure food chain safety. A Targeting Excellence scholarship is providing me with the financial stability to focus on my veterinary studies during my clinical year, so I can one day better serve my hometown and the entire agricultural industry.
The voice of an auctioneer with a thick Pennsylvania Dutch accent rang in the distance as a group of Amish boys and men hurriedly moved dairy calves through a narrow wooden chute. One child roughly struck a downed calf with his plastic sorting paddle. Dr. Yoakam, an Ohio Department of Agriculture veterinarian, stepped in and kindly showed the boy how to lift the calf by its flank to move it along, “Hey buddy, you have to be gentle.” Dr. Yoakam knew it was her duty to take advantage of this educational opportunity. On that hot July day at a livestock auction in Farmerstown, Ohio, I learned a veterinarian’s role in the agricultural industry: improving animal welfare and ensuring food chain sustainability to feed our country and world.
When I began veterinary school in Fall 2020, I thought I wanted to pursue a career in regulatory veterinary medicine. However, a major life event shifted my perspective, and I became passionate about the idea of returning home to Northwest Ohio to serve the rural community who made me the woman I am today.
One chilly November evening in my biology lecture, I received a text from my mom that changed my life forever: “The house is on fire.” I felt helpless being away at college, as I was forced to focus on academics and studying during such a devastating time for my family. All I really wanted was to go home and help, but my job was to chase my dreams and become the best future veterinarian possible. Eventually, I did make the drive to see the remains of my childhood home. If I close my eyes, I can still envision standing in the middle of my burnt room. Despite a sense of overwhelming sadness, I did not cry. That was not my room… it was simply four torched walls and a pile of charred rubble where my bed once was. In that moment, I realized my life was not defined by the trophies, ribbons, and plaques which once donned those walls. Rather, I am a product of my lived experiences, and physical possessions pale in comparison.
Today, my career goal is to work as a food animal veterinarian in rural Northwest Ohio. Northwest Ohio is home to my entire family and our farm of three generations. I will return to that area following graduation to serve my community, 4-H program, and local FFA Chapter. These organizations helped shape me into the woman I am today, and I hope to inspire the love of agriculture and animals among generations to come. As a food animal veterinarian, I will work closely with farmers (dairy, cattle, poultry etc.) to design and implement sustainable production practices and ensure food chain safety. A Targeting Excellence scholarship would provide me with the financial freedom to focus solely on veterinary school throughout the remainder of my education here at The Ohio State University, so I can one day serve my hometown and the entire agricultural industry.