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Vet Gazette

Oregon State University College of Veterinary Medicine eNewsletter

Winding Path Leads Student to Her True Calling

November 19th, 2013


Shelby’s path in life didn’t always point toward becoming a Veterinarian. She began her journey to this realization by earning her Associates degree from Mt. Hood Community College, and then went on to finish her Bachelor of Science in Anthropology at Portland State University. Back in those days, she aspired to be “the next Jane Goodall or Diane Fossey” but soon realized that her paralyzing fear of snakes wouldn’t bode well living in the Amazon.

For ten years, Shelby worked in a chic Portland boutique designing, manufacturing, and selling jewelry. Then one day, Shelby says, “It just hit me… that Veterinary Medicine was to be my life-long career. It is a combination of my two favorite things: solving puzzles and making others feel better as the end result.” She then returned to PCC to earn the rest of her pre-requisites to be eligible to apply to Vet School.

Shelby is now just two short years away from becoming a fully practicing Veterinarian and couldn’t be happier with her journey. When asked what her most exciting experience as a Vet Student has been so far, she responded: “It is impossible to pick just one. The entire journey so far has been mind-blowing in so many ways. I have never been as tired, inspired, frustrated, enthralled, confused, hysterical, or discombobulated in my life – and that was the first week! Being a veterinary student in and of itself is like nothing I had ever imagined and I would do it all over again and again in a heartbeat!” Shelby’s “long and winding path” to veterinary medicine is truly an inspiration and proves that finding one’s life career has no timeline.

Within Oregon State’s College of veterinary medicine, Shelby is more than just a student: she is a leader. Shelby and a few of her peers are the founding officers of a new club known as the Integrative Veterinary Medicine Club (IVMC). The main purpose of this endeavor is to provide an opportunity for other interested Vet students to learn more about alternative, Evidence-Based Therapies. For Shelby, the idea was sparked from her interest in complementary therapiesfor her own and her companion animal’s health. The hope for a club was furthered when she encountered successful experiences with such treatments. When she found other students who felt the same, they worked together to proactively take charge of their veterinary education. Shelby stressed that she and the other officers agree that a foundation in conventional veterinary medicine is absolutely essential to success in this field; however, she finds complementary therapies interesting and worth learning about.

The advisors of this club are Dr. Jana Gordon and Dr. Jacob Mecham who are both professors at OSU-CVM. Dr. Mecham has recently become a certified veterinary acupuncturist and has a lot to offer the club. They hope to host at least one lunch seminar and officer meeting monthly to help spread the word about alternative animal therapies.

Still not convinced you should join? According to Shelby, their club will provide numerous educational opportunities including seminars, wet labs, and other hands on experiences. Also, the IVMC has the national support of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association (AHVMA), and at least one member will be sponsored to attend their annual conference held in Portland, Oregon. Also, there’s a potential of chair massages for Veterinary students during finals week, so don’t miss out! In Shelby’s words, “if we don’t take care of ourselves, then we won’t be able to fully take care of our patients—and let’s face it, finals can be brutal!”

Guest Post by Josey Sechrist, CVM Social Media Assistant.

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