Three questions for … Stephanie Willney, VBMA Illinois CVM

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I have some treats for the holidays and beyond with three top veterinary professionals agreeing to be part of our “Three Questions for … ” series. I want to give credit where credit is due to our Nicole Numbers, who helps me with excellent suggestions for all our featured professionals and students.

And to Dr. Kristi Yee, who has chosen many of the students, and has promised to write blog posts for NationwideDVM in 2016. I am putting you on the spot, Dr. Yee!

Here’s our latest three questions piece, featuring Stephanie Willney, the president of the VBMA chapter at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine (Class of 2017).

What drew you to veterinary medicine?

Veterinary medicine is a wonderful profession with many facets. Growing up, I loved taking care of our family pet, a golden retriever named Jewel. As I got older I began to understand the human-animal bond and enjoyed seeing how pets could connect with people. Being in veterinary school now, I love relating with people through their pets. Many think veterinary medicine is for animal-lovers, but I think it’s just as much for people lovers too!


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?

When I was in high school I loved hearing about what veterinary school was like for our family veterinarian. He would tell us how he only paid $300 a semester for tuition and how every class was graded on a curve. Now, the sad ratio of student debt compared to our starting salaries is a reality most new veterinarians will have to face. Being a part of the Veterinary Business Management Association (VBMA) has provided me with tools for personal budgeting and has taught me how to combat debt as a student and a future veterinarian.

Additionally, hospitals are starting to get more clients that are interested in preventive medicine. This is great for our profession, but definitely provides some challenges for us in designing and implementing preventive-care packages. Researching what various hospitals are doing and educating myself on third-party options, such as Nationwide’s P&WS, has helped me better understand the preventive care model and brainstorm ways to implement it in future employment opportunities.

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

I’m a huge classic rock fan! One of my favorites is Led Zeppelin!