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  • Writer's pictureKristen Herring-Asleson

Living Every Little Girls' Dream!

So, a nurse, an agricultural business major and a veterinarian all walk into a bar . . . hold on, back up, they are walking out of college and across the stage for graduation. This isn’t a joke!

Part III of this series introduces a future, fabulous veterinarian in the making, Alyssa. I can say fabulous, as I have experienced her bedside manner with animals up close and personal. While still in high school, one of our barn cats acquired a blood-sucking tick.

Unfortunately, my daughters and I discovered the head was still embedded after pulling it off, and we all stood there wondering how to handle it. Haley blurted out, “I’m calling Alyssa.” Within minutes, Alyssa was there and had it removed. I recall her smiling, brushing off her hands and acting as if it were no big deal.

This is just a tiny glimpse of what brought Alyssa to the conclusion she wanted to pursue being a veterinarian. She shared, “I have always had a passion for animals. From a very young age I would spend hours pretending with my farm animal toys. As I got older, I became more involved with raising my own animals, starting with two pygmy goats. Shadowing local veterinarians only cemented my love for veterinary medicine.”

This spring, Alyssa will graduate from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls with a bachelor of science degree in animal science with an emphasis in meat animal science and a minor in dairy science. Her favorite college experience came in the form of an opportunity to learn about new artificial insemination technology and its use in sheep. In addition, she enjoyed time spent at the University’s Lab Farm and in the Dairy Club.

Becoming a veterinarian is a lengthier process, and one she is very committed to. Come fall 2021, she will start at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities College of Veterinary Medicine to pursue a doctor of veterinary medicine degree in food animal medicine.

If I were to guess, this won’t involve taking wood ticks off cats unless called by the locals in an “emergency” situation.

Looking toward the future, Alyssa has put much thought into all aspects of life as a veterinarian.

“I believe the most important aspect of my future career is working closely with farmers to help keep their livestock healthy," she said. "Because I have a strong interest in reproduction, I also hope to use my veterinary degree to assist farmers with increasing their animals’ reproductive efficiency.”

When interviewing young women who are about to enter the working world, asking them to share advice they feel would be key for those about to graduate high school is helpful. In my opinion, if someone can glean even one tiny thing from what they’re reading, there is a positive impact. Alyssa’s advice is this, “Try everything and ask questions. The best way to know if you are truly interested in something is to try it. I have found that shadowing is a great way to learn about a career you are interested in, and it will help you make connections with other professionals in your field of interest. When it comes to questions, there are truly no bad questions, and it never hurts to learn more about the choices in careers that you are about to make.”

Finally, when it comes to her dream job, Alyssa’s goal is to be a rural veterinarian working with food animals such as cattle, sheep and goats. Knowing Alyssa, she has the internal drive and spirit from within to stay on track and make her dream a reality!

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