Personal Statement

It’s finally ready!  I have hit the “submit” button on the VMCAS main application, so no turning back now!  I’ve had a few requests from friends and family to read my personal statement, so I figured why not post it on my blog?  😀

Discuss briefly the development of your interest in veterinary medicine. Discuss those activities and unique experiences that have contributed to your preparation for a professional program. Discuss your understanding of the veterinary medical profession, and discuss your career goals and objectives.

“Runner’s high” is euphoric. At that point in time, the world has stopped and everything is in slow motion, except for me. My legs defy physics; driven by an unexplainable force, I glide forward, feeling no tiredness, and no pain. I can’t stop. I won’t stop. I feel whole. Until recently, I thought that this feeling was something I could only experience during athletic races and training. I was wrong.

I did not always want to be a veterinarian. My life has been driven by purpose and goals, but it has not always been filled with furry creatures. I became a triathlete at UC Berkeley first as a member and eventually as president and race director; these leadership roles taught me discipline, organization, and how to blend individual achievement with team spirit. My appreciation for the multisport lifestyle led me to a position at Ironman where I quickly rose from contractor, to merchandise manager, to global buyer and product developer in 4 years. While I enjoyed my time there, I always had a restless feeling that I was meant to do something else—simply growing our product line and continually meeting the high sales goals was not enough. Something was missing.

My life changed in 2009 when I received a taste of what a career in veterinary medicine would be like. Scout, my Rhodesian Ridgeback, tore both cranial cruciate ligaments in her rear limbs and required dual tibial-plateau-leveling osteotomy surgery. As Scout recovered, I fed and administered medication to her, and I used a sling to teach her how to walk again. I witnessed the profound impact surgeons and veterinarians had on my life; Scout’s surgeon in particular, was an absolute inspiration. Her attention to the finest detail and her ability to be both comforting and firm, reminded me of myself. After exposure to this driven and compassionate new world, I envisioned a new career—one that would help channel my energy towards helping other people like me, and other dogs like Scout.

While I had a bachelor’s degree, I did not take the required prerequisites for veterinary school, so I enrolled at Colorado State University in 2011. That fall, I attended “Pre-Vet Day” through CSU and the first lab I participated in was a sheep necropsy. While I was in lab, I felt a familiar feeling. Time had stopped around me and I was in my own exhilarating world—animal anatomy and the processes we performed were absolutely fascinating. It was interesting, it was challenging, and it required detail. It was my first experience of “runner’s high,” outside of sport. I felt like I was flying. At that moment, I knew. I was meant to be a veterinarian. I felt whole.

Since this day, I applied for and still hold a research assistant position at the CSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital, working with Dr. Dean Hendrickson to develop equine and canine biosimulated organs and models for veterinary students. I also participate in equine hippotherapy programs, as well as volunteer with small ruminants in various settings. I wanted experience with large animals since I had little previous contact and while I certainly have a love for all animals, my volunteer experience has solidified to me, that dogs will always have my true heart.

Once I become a veterinarian, my primary goal is to give back. I have thought deeply about how I can use my previous work experience, penchant for detail, and ability to work under immense pressure, in my future work. These past three years, I have realized my ultimate calling—I hope to join the military and work with the US Army’s military working dogs, with a specific focus on canine orthopedics and internal medicine. I sincerely believe I possess the drive, determination, physical strength, and mental tenacity required to be successful. As an athlete and team member at my core, being an Army veterinarian is the perfect marriage of both my skills and career goals.

After completion of my military service, I plan to work in academia, building upon my current research at the CSU VTH. I hope to develop a curriculum for an undergraduate gross anatomy lab that combines both cadavers and synthetic organs and models to give students a better and more tactile understanding of animal anatomy. I want to introduce undergraduates to proper surgical technique, the fluid dynamics of bloodflow during incisions, and suturing. This combination of synthetics with animal cadavers would ultimately result in the early development of proper surgical techniques, with savings in both monetary cost and animal lives.

If chosen for veterinary school, I will launch into the coursework with the same enthusiasm and energy that has defined the past 28 years of my life. I will be a friend, advocate, and caretaker of our most loyal military working dogs in the US Army, and afterwards, I will work tirelessly to improve the educational system in biomedical sciences to give back as much as possible, honoring and respecting animals as they have selflessly given so much to my family, friends, and me.

And as always, a picture of my inspiration:




     It’s strange if you think about it, really—we communicate in gestures, tones, and facial expressions with furry creatures that we don’t even share a language with. We welcome them into our homes, our beds and under our dinner tables with secret treats, all of which somehow communicates to them, “Hi there, I love you and I will take care of you. You make me happy. Please join my family.”  Strangely enough, agreeing to spend our lives with them forever, often only happens after meeting them for a short while at a shelter, or seeing a picture of them online. It is a shotgun marriage that you two have embarked on and in most cases, the bond is far stronger than one with any other family member, best friend, or partner.




2 thoughts on “Personal Statement

  1. Beautiful Shaggy!!! I love how you tied together all of your favorite things into a cohesive, beautifully written statement. ❤

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