Three questions for … Mississippi State’s Leslie Reed-Jones (2021)

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Another week, and more wonderful veterinary students to feature! Today is Leslie Reed-Jones (2021) of the Mississippi State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, chosen by Nationwide field veterinarian Dr. Tonya Sparks.

Will you please share something unexpected you discovered or learned on your path into veterinary medicine?

I took a meandering route to vet school so I had a few years to learn some things along the way. The most unexpected thing I discovered was the extent to which veterinary medicine is involved in many aspects of how the world works. This is something you quickly figure out once you’re in vet school, and the options for this profession seem limitless. However, my notions of a veterinarian were very confined to the idea of the neighborhood vet around the corner until I started figuring out what I wanted to do with my life.

The more research I did about the profession, and the more I talked to veterinarians in all different fields, I realized that being a veterinarian could fulfill all of my interests, animal-related or not. Since entering into vet school I have been pleasantly overwhelmed by the diverse abundance of career options. I am inspired by vets who have taken advantage of that by changing career paths if they feel burned out by the work they are doing. It makes me excited to be a part of a profession that will evolve with me.

What is your vision for the future of veterinary medicine and how does it influence the way you’re preparing?LRJ1

I think this is a very exciting time to become a veterinarian. Not only do people value their pets now more than ever, but also the One Health approach is helping veterinarians become more involved in the “big picture” of the scientific community. From the small animal perspective, I think there are a lot of medical advances that will start to be used now that people view their pets as true family members. Many surgical and medical approaches used in human medicine can potentially be extrapolated into the veterinary field. Being involved in the VBMA has exposed me to people who are starting their own companies using these advanced techniques and to vets using technology to work remotely in order to reach patients that would otherwise be missed. The opportunities to advance science using technology are influencing me to potentially stay in academia in order to pursue clinical research. No matter what career path I choose, though, I definitely feel encouraged to stay open-minded and creative about how the profession could change.

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

After graduating from college I spent the following academic year teaching English in a French high school in Lyon, France. I was an exchange student in France before going to college, and I had minored in French during school so I wanted time to go back and live abroad. It was a great time to travel and really figure out what I wanted out of my professional life before committing to vet med. I was able to work on adapting to new situations and learning good communication skills — key parts of veterinary medicine — all while eating great food and drinking good wine.

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Thank you, Leslie and Dr. Sparks!