Senior Puts Bio Major on Fast-track to Veterinary Career

April 16, 2014

Katelyn Vannoy chose to attend Washington & Jefferson College because of the school’s premier reputation for developing future physicians. What she did not expect was the opportunity to work directly in her field before graduation—putting her biology major on the fast track toward her ultimate goal of becoming a veterinarian.

Vannoy, a senior, was accepted to six veterinary schools, including the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University - the only veterinary school in the six-state New England region - and the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. She will attend Tufts University in the fall of 2014.

“When [I] first came in, there were only two vet students across four years,” Vannoy said. “W&J has great academics that fit perfectly with the prerequisites required to get into vet school. [My classmates and I] really just wanted to try to establish a concrete pre-veterinary program so more people would know about it.” 

As a two-time participant in W&J’s Magellan Project, Katelyn received funding to complete two important internships that took her, in the span of one summer, from the heart of Kentucky’s thoroughbred country to the center of a wildlife habitat in Pennsylvania.

Katelyn’s internship at the Kentucky Equine Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation Center allowed her to work alongside some of the best equine veterinarians in the world, assisting with the recovery and conditioning of world-class racehorses. Examining, doctoring and rehabilitating the animals gave Katelyn practical skills and experience far beyond her undergraduate years, including the intuition to determine some of a horse’s needs just from observing its gait.

Later that summer, at the Animal Rescue League’s Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, Katelyn was able to apply her knowledge to the care of much smaller creatures, independently examining and treating animals that had been ill, injured or orphaned.

Katelyn hopes to one day operate her own animal practice and shelter so that she can be “a voice for the animals.” “I want to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves,” explained Katelyn, who dedicates her time outside of class to serving as a resident assistant on campus and perfecting her golf swing. In fact, the two-year letter winner for the women’s golf team was one of just 12 female student-athletes across the country selected to represent her sport on a national advisory committee for the NCAA Division III.

“I think Division III student-athletes have a big advantage, as we are able to play a sport and not have to sacrifice a great education,” said Katelyn, who values the one-on-one attention she receives on a close-knit campus like W&J. “I’m able to play golf and study without worrying about one interest getting in the way of the other, allowing me to excel in both areas at the same time.”