Well prepared for lifelong learning
Alex wanted a college where she would be more than a number in the science department. As a student, she realized how personalized her science education was and how many additional opportunities she had to enhance her learning. Building upon her Northwestern education, Alex recently graduated with a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Iowa State University and a Master of Public Health degree from the University of Iowa. She is completing an internship with the Texas A&M University School of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences.
How did you get interested in veterinary work?
I have always been an animal lover. When people asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, my answer was always a veterinarian. That never changed, but I did gain a much better understanding of the veterinary field during my time at Northwestern. I worked at the Orange City Veterinary Clinic throughout my four years, and I learned a tremendous amount about what a veterinarian does on a daily basis. Along with that, I gained a love for science—for discovering new things and conducting research—while at Northwestern. Research skills are critical for a veterinarian and especially in veterinary school. It's my goal and passion to help as many animals and people as I can, and the veterinary field provides an incredible opportunity to do that.
How well did Northwestern prepare you for veterinary work?
I don’t think I could have been better prepared. As a biology-health professions and chemistry double major, I had a pretty rigorous science course load. The science classes at Northwestern are tough and the professors expected a lot of us—but they also cared about us as people and that we truly gained the best understanding of the material. The most beneficial thing I gained from my science professors was the ability to think. That may sound strange, but it is so easy to fall back on memorizing the material, regurgitating it for the test and then forgetting it shortly thereafter. That will not get you far in the upper-level science classes at Northwestern, and it will get you almost nowhere at veterinary school and as a veterinarian. Northwestern prepared me well for being a lifelong learner, developing a strong work ethic, and learning excellent time management skills in a very busy life and work environment.
What would you say are Northwestern’s strengths?
One of Northwestern’s greatest strengths is its mission to “engage students in courageous and faithful learning and living.” Through rigorous academics, countless service opportunities, faith-based learning, community-promoting activities, encouragement to participate in co-curricular activities, and the entire supportive community of people, Northwestern creates students who care about learning, who care about other people, and who care about going out into the world and making a difference.
What did you appreciate most about Northwestern’s faculty?
My professors helped me grow personally and spiritually. I appreciate that they encouraged me to form my own beliefs and opinions. They were all incredible at explaining the course material, engaging students’ interest and giving students opportunities outside class to grow and learn. All of the faculty at Northwestern cared about me as a person first and a student second, and I can’t thank them enough for that.
What do you do in your current role?
I am a full-time veterinarian with primary case responsibility. This means approximately one-third of my year is spent on emergency receiving, with the rest of the year rotating through internal medicine, surgery, neurology, cardiology, ophthalmology, oncology and radiology.
What are your future plans?
After completing my internship, I plan to move to Minneapolis, Minnesota, and pursue a full-time job in emergency veterinary medicine.