Three questions for … 2015 national VBMA president Hatley McMicking

I’m in training all week, so I thought this would be a great time to introduce what I hope will become a popular series here on my blog: “Three questions for …”

The idea hit me while traveling, as I was thinking about how little time any of us have, and how much great information is out there that we never get to. And then I was thinking that if I called to interview someone I’d be taking time away from their busy lives, too.  Was there a way to share a little bit of good information about interesting people in our veterinary community?

I think there is. I came up with the idea of asking interesting people just three questions. The  questions will vary depending on subject, but it seemed to me that three questions didn’t ask too much from the people I wanted to share with the veterinary community, and the answers wouldn’t take too much time to read.

Please let me know of people you’d like to see featured here.  Drop me a note at And it’s OK to nominate yourself, by the way.

I’m starting with Hatley McMicking, the incoming national president of the student VBMA. She lives in Southern California and attends the  Western University College of Veterinary Medicine.

Hatley McMicking, 2015 national VBMA president
Hatley McMicking, 2015 national VBMA president

What drew you to veterinary medicine? My parents tell me the desire to become a veterinarian began when I received a doctor’s kit play set when I was four. I had no interest in treating anyone in the house except for my very compliant cats.  As a grew older, not much changed, and I continued to find myself drawn to the profession. Aside from a love for medicine and problem-solving, I really enjoy working with people. It can be scary for clients who don’t know what is wrong with their pets, and I particularly like serving as support to people when their four-legged family member can’t tell them what’s wrong.

Do you think your class’ challenges nationwide will be different than those faced by new veterinarians 20 years ago? If so, how do you intend to meet those new challenges and help others to do the same through your work with the VBMA? The veterinary profession has gone through many changes in the past 20 years, and mostly for good. Concern for animal welfare is now a regular conversation, people view their pets as family members which means they are more likely to pursue advanced care, and the one health initiative brings the realization that veterinarians play a critical role in global health. Amidst all the positives however, current graduates are finishing school with an encumbering amount of debt that can take 20+ years to pay off. While eliminating this issue is far beyond my capabilities alone, my goal is to ensure that future veterinarians are aware that there is a substantial monetary commitment to receiving a DVM and are also equipped with the skills to financially succeed. The VBMA is at the forefront of providing much-needed business education to students by providing the funding and resources to bring speakers that discuss professional success to veterinary schools. VBMA members graduate with skills such as successful communication methods, balancing a budget, and interview tips that not only help them land that first job, but also thrive in it.

Can you tell us one thing about yourself that would surprise your classmates nationwide and all your future veterinary colleagues? Most people know that I’m an avid lover and advocate of pit bull type dogs (I live with three), but what they don’t know is that I use to think they were “bad dogs.” It wasn’t until I met my first pittie that I realized I had made an uninformed judgement about something I knew nothing about. Since then I have continued to meet pit bulls who are model citizens, and it was a big lesson to me to form opinions based on first-hand experience.


Thanks, Hatley! VPI has long been a supporter of the VBMA, and we offer a couple of interesting opportunities for veterinary students. Find out about our annual competition, our Southern California externship and our career-planning tools on our student page.