Lindsey (Hayes) Jett ‘12 and Elizabeth (Lizzie) Miller ’12 both knew from an early age that they wanted to be veterinarians. For Jett, it was her passion for animals. For Miller, it was a natural progression from her inclination towards the sciences and insatiable love of animals.
Both agree that although a love of animals first piqued their interest in the field of veterinary medicine, it was ultimately discovering their passion for biology, clinical medicine and human connection through science courses at Messiah that really drove them to this career path.
Jett, a molecular biology major, who is now a student at Western University of Health Sciences in Upland, Calif., says, “Veterinary medicine has both the unique challenge of investigative medicine, and a wonderful human connection that I strongly identify with. Veterinarians have some of the most varied clinical jobs—we can be surgeons, pediatricians, radiologists and dentists all in the same day, and we work on a variety of species. This variety within the career was very attractive to me and largely impacted my decision to pursue veterinary medicine.”
On the other side of the country, Miller, who was a biochemistry and molecular biology major, is attending the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, specializing in the study of small animal medicine.
For both Miller and Jett, the opportunity to complete undergraduate research and work as lab and teacher assistants at Messiah made a huge impact on their preparedness for veterinary school.
“Now that I am in the rigorous academic environment that is veterinary school, I am realizing how excellent my education at Messiah really was,” says Miller. “I am excelling in my classes and finding I really learned the material well at Messiah. I contribute that success to the similar rigor of the biology and chemistry programs at Messiah as well as the dedication and expertise of my Messiah professors.”
Jett also adds that her time spent on cross-cultural and medical missions trips to Zambia, Nicaragua and Costa Rica contributed to her success in veterinary school. “In addition to the quality academics, the faculty and extracurricular experiences also had a deep impact on my career goals and understanding of veterinary medicine,” says Jett. I traveled to Macha, Zambia, as part of the Healthcare in the Developing World course which really opened my eyes to the important role that animals play in the health of human communities. It completely changed my perspective of veterinary medicine from an animal-centered view, to a community/public health view, where humans are an integral part.”
Although both Jett and Miller say that transitioning to veterinary school brings many challenges, such as managing school with family time and moving from a small college like Messiah to a larger university, they both emphasize that pursing a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree is well worth the challenge if that is where your passion lies.
“Veterinary medicine is a competitive field, but you can set yourself apart by pursing challenging, upper-level science courses,” advises Jett. “As a molecular biology major, I had exposure to upper-level classes that really deepened my understanding of the hard sciences. This has helped me tremendously in my first two years as a veterinary student. I continue to be amazed at how well my education at Messiah prepared me for veterinary school.”
-Erin Bray ’10
Posted on December 13th, 2013