Will you please share something unexpected you discovered on your path to veterinary medicine?
The most surprising thing I discovered is how this career can feel so broad yet so connected at the same time. I grew up in a small town, and the three paths I knew of in veterinary medicine were small-animal, large-animal, or mixed-animal. When I moved to Auburn to start college, I had the opportunity to explore other fields, including research and specialty medicine. Upon starting veterinary school, I learned about public health and industry veterinary opportunities. The possibilities really are endless! I really value that everyone can find their niche in the veterinary field. Despite the vast array of career options, I’ve been amazed by how tight-knit and collaborative this community is. I credit the Veterinary Business Management Assoc. with many of the opportunities and connections I’ve found, including one of my externships this past summer. I feel very fortunate to be joining a career where so many people are willing to be mentors and share their knowledge.
What is your vision for the future of veterinary medicine, and how does it influence the way you’re preparing?
Pets play a vitally important role in people’s lives. Many of my friends proudly call themselves “pet parents” and truly view their pets as family members. Veterinarians love to joke about “Dr. Google”; I believe we have an obligation to fight misinformation with compassion and education. Therefore, communication will continue to play an important role in patient care. Because pets are treated as part of the family, clients seek out high-quality care, and the demand for specialty medicine is rising. With this in mind, I aspire to specialize in veterinary ophthalmology.
Will you tell us something about yourself that would surprise your colleagues?
In addition to studying animal science, I also earned a minor in music while in college. I have played piano since first grade, and I participated in the women’s chorus and gospel choir while at Auburn.
Thank you, Grace and Dr. Sparks!