By five years old, I already knew exactly what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I was going to dedicate my life to saving as many animals as I could. Raised by two police officers in Southern Indiana, I had the unique experience of growing up alongside police dogs. Three beautiful, European-bred German Shepherds acted as my father's partners in the pursuit of justice for a span of 18 years. These dogs were heroes who absolutely loved doing what they did best, chasing down the bad guys. My father's second canine partner, and my best friend, even lost his life trying to save people. At five years old, I lost my furry best friend, and it changed my life forever. This single event set me on the path to becoming a veterinarian.
My life has revolved around animals for as long as I can remember. Throughout school, anytime I was assigned a project, it was about animals. In high school, I took as many advanced science classes as possible to prepare me for a career in medicine. During my senior year I had my first job in a veterinary clinic. Being a kennel attendant would be a less than glamorous job for most teenagers, but having the chance to work with dogs/cats everyday after school was, in my mind, the best job ever.
Throughout my time in college I continued spending as much time with animals as possible. From one internship to the next, I gained a wide variety of experience with animals. I tried to make myself well-rounded for my veterinary school applications. Throughout all of these experiences, I always kept my memories of my police dogs, my motivation, in the back of my mind.
Once I was accepted into UIUC's College of Veterinary Medicne, I knew I was one step closer to my dream job. During my first year and a half of school, I have joined several organiztions and obtained many new leadership roles, including president-elect of the Illinois Student Chapter of the AVMA. I have continued to volunteer as much of my free time to helping animals, I am currently a volunteer in our Wildlife Medical Clinic on campus. The Wildlife Medical Clinic takes in local injured/sick/orphaned wildlife to diagnose, treat, and, hopefully, re-release. Volunteering in the WMC has definitely been one of my favorite parts of vet school so far.
During the summer of 2017, I am looking forward to volunteering with RAVS in Standing Rock. I am happy that I can put my skills to good use and benefit a community of animals that would otherwise never receive veterinary care. I am looking forward to this experience, because it is nothing like my previous volunteer opportunities. I will be able to apply knowledge and skills that I have obtained over my first two years of veterinary school, while also helping others.
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