Our Nationwide field veterinarians have been wrapping up the academic year lecturing at our nation’s veterinary schools and colleges. Recently, our Dr. Cyndie Courtney visited the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine. As always, we ask our field veterinarians to choose a student to feature, and Dr. Courtney chose Lyle Wielenga of the Class of 2022.
Will you please share something unexpected you learned on your path into veterinary medicine?
Something that surprised me on my path into veterinary medicine is the extent to which veterinarians are lifelong learners. I mean, I knew to a degree that veterinarians are always learning, but I figured that after school it would subside for the most part. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Veterinarians are always learning and adapting to an ever-changing field. That’s why it’s so important for us to have a growth mindset. This is both a tremendous challenge and incredibly exciting as the medicine we practice today will not be the same five years from now.
Animal welfare has become a key topic of discussion, particularly in production animal medicine. In recent years consumers have questioned how their food is raised by bringing up concerns regarding cages for chickens, farrowing crates for hogs, and the use of antibiotics. I believe as veterinarians we have an opportunity to help facilitate the conversation and bridge the gaps between consumers, producers, corporations, and legislatures. We need to carefully consider the areas of concern from consumers regarding animal welfare while also educating the consumers regarding animal production and veterinarians’ role.
In order to prepare for this societal discussion, I wrote my senior undergraduate research paper on best cattle handling practices. By serving on club leadership teams here at the Iowa State, I also am developing my professional leadership and communication skills so that someday I can join veterinarians facilitating this discussion.
Will you tell us one thing about yourself that would surprise your veterinary colleagues?
I really enjoy swing dancing! I started while in college at a school club that taught me almost everything I know. I have since had the privilege of teaching some lessons at our club as well as various other teaching opportunities. What I appreciate most about the swing dance style is that is can be adapted to many styles of music and is a great way to have some fun and meet amazing people!
Thanks Lyle and Dr. Courtney!