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Reach Your Pet-ential

We’re willing to bet that almost everyone reading this wanted to be a veterinarian at least once as a child. It’s not an easy path, however, so how do you know if veterinary medicine is right for you?  

We’re willing to bet that almost everyone reading this wanted to be a veterinarian at least once as a child. It’s not an easy path, however, so how do you know if veterinary medicine is right for you?  

 Mandy Shelby graduated from the Tuskegee School of Veterinary Medicine and is currently doing a small animal rotating internship at Carolina Veterinary Specialists and two of their other hospitals in the Charlotte, North Carolina area. We talked to her about what she loves about her work and what tips she’d pass along to students who may want to work in veterinary medicine too. 

Mandy says, “As soon as I understood what a veterinarian was, it was always my primary career choice. It may be a cliché answer to some people, but it was my connection with animals that brought me down this path rather than one profound experience. My grandmother’s passion for helping people is also what contributed to me wanting to pursue a career in the medical field, so those two influences together are why veterinary medicine was the correct place for me.” 

Mandy’s main specialties are surgery, internal medicine, and emergency, but she also gets to work alongside cardiology, neurology, and ophthalmology. She says, “There are a few rewarding things that come with being a veterinarian. The first one is actually being able to put what I learned in veterinary school into practice and being able to witness patients benefit from the education Tuskegee University provided me.”  

The second, she says, is working with people as well as animals. “Some may think we are in this field so we do not have to directly communicate with people, but that is far from the truth, as client communication is one of the main skills we must develop. It is satisfying knowing there are other people in the world who are just as concerned about the welfare of animals as you are. Most of all, I enjoy being able to collaborate with other doctors to help develop a treatment plan for each patient in regards to their own individual case.” 

When it comes to school choice, Mandy says to students who choose Tuskegee, “I would automatically say they are making one of the wisest decisions they’ve ever made in their lives. There are many opportunities that Tuskegee provides for its students that I’m thankful for now, including networking with alumni, traveling experiences, and great mentorship. I will always thank Tuskegee for contributing to a large portion of who I am today…and it will always be my second home!” 

When asked for what advice she would give aspiring veterinarians, Mandy said, “Gain experience! The key is not just being able to obtain as much textbook information as soon as you can, but actually gaining physical involvement with different cases. If I could go back in time, I would tell my younger self to dedicate less time trying to memorize information and get physically involved with a variety of clinics because that is how I genuinely retained what I know now.” 

DID YOU KNOW that Tuskegee University offers a Pre-Vet Med Honors Program? PVM scholars can choose from two pre-vet degree options- the Science Option (4 year undergrad curriculum) and the Veterinary Sciences option(3 year undergrad.) For more information visit www.tuskegee.edu 

QUICK FACTS 

2016 Median Pay 

$88,770/yr   •  $42.68/hr 

Typical Entry-Level Education 

Doctoral or professional degree 

Job Growth Through 2024 

9% (Faster than average) 

Source: www.bls.gov 

 

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