Three questions for … Auburn’s Erica Bickel, VBMA president-elect

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Although it may seem as if my “Three questions for …” series is just for spotlighting veterinary students, there are some very interesting established members of our veterinary community that I will be featuring next month. In the meantime, I loved having the chance to interview Erica Bickel  of the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine (Class of 2018).

Erica is the currently the VBMA president-elect, and she characterizes herself  “a true Floridian, who grew up in North Palm Beach, currently living in the loveliest village on the plains in Auburn, Alabama.”

VBMAEricaBickelWhat drew you to veterinary medicine?

At a young age I was always so fascinated with biology, especially anatomy. Growing up as a Floridian, I was lucky to spend so much time exploring the outdoors, and fishing on the ocean with my Dad. The ocean was my earliest inspiration, and when I was five years old, I declared that I would be aquatic animal veterinarian (although that goal has since changed!).

Do you think new veterinarians will face different challenges than in previous generations and if so, what are you doing now to meet those challenges?

I think one of the biggest challenges new graduates face is being pressured to complete an internship, especially those who wish to work in equine-only practices. The previous generations of veterinarians are aware of the significant debt that we carry (which is another challenge we deal with on a larger scale than previous generations of colleagues), yet we struggle to find that first job that truly embodies the mentorship we desire. Being involved with VBMA empowers me to meet all of these challenges by carving out a strategy for becoming a competitive, educated, and appealing new graduate. I want my future mentor to see me as a young veterinarian who understands the dynamics of business, and has the competence and confidence to create more momentum in the practice.

Can you tell us one thing about you that would surprise your future veterinary colleagues?

Two of my pets are named after other animals. My 7-year-old Thoroughbred is named Turtle, and my 5-year-old Golden Retriever is named Mahi (Hawaiian word for dolphin – the fish, not the cetacean).

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Thanks, Erica! Looking forward to seeing you at the NAVC conference!