An excerpt from Jacqueline's winning essay:
Growing up in the rural community of Carrollton, Illinois, I have always had a passion for both large and small animals. My love for science fit hand-in-hand with my love for treating animals, leading to my aspiration to become a veterinarian. Veterinarians are extremely important to society as vectors of animal healthcare, wildlife preservation, and disease prevention.
To ensure that veterinary medicine is truly the field that I wished to study, I have completed two unpaid summer internships at veterinary clinics near my hometown of Carrollton. Over the course of the summers, I learned a number of important lessons. I learned how devastating it can be to treat an animal but still loose it. I watched as a dairy cow suffered and died from toxic metastasis. Since the cow was running a 180 degree temperature there was not much anyone could do for it except try to lessen her suffering. On the other hand, I learned how rewarding it is to treat an animal and watch it thrive. I will never forget the frail black lab, Ice, who was infected with heartworms. After the first treatment of adulticide therapy, Ice experienced a bout of severe depression and anorexia. I hand fed her aspirin to help ease the pain. I watched her begin to eat and regain her strength. While her recovery process will take some time, Ice will soon be back to hunting again. I also learned a firsthand lesson on safety. After castrating a 600 lb. bull calf, it charged the veterinarian and me, knocking us both over and fracturing my radius. I learned the importance of being prepared for the unexpected in the veterinary profession and taking extra safety precautions.
One may say that a doctor of veterinary medicine is not an actual medical doctor, I beg to disagree. While humans can describe their symptoms to a healthcare professional, veterinarians must rely on instinct and discover the cause of the animal's discomfort for themselves.
As a veterinarian there are a variety of ways that I would contribute to the medical world. On average most households own at least one pet. The American pet population alone is enough to place increasing demands on the services of veterinarians, not including the other roles that veterinarians play. Veterinarians are not limited to providing primary health care to both large and small animals, they also provide wildlife preservation, control the spread of animal diseases, maintain the health of food animals, and in essence, ensure human health.
In the case of an emergency I would be called upon to provide emergency relief for wild and domestic animals. Examples of these types of emergencies are the recent Hurricane Katrina, a natural disaster, and the Exxon Valdez oil spill. In the case of Hurricane Katrina, veterinarians are expected to provide treatment to wounded pets. During the Exxon Valdez oil spill, veterinarians helped to clean wildlife polluted with oil. With care and rehabilitation, veterinarians were able to save a large number of these animals whose fate would have otherwise been doomed.
Because of the ability of zoonotic diseases to transfer back and forth from animals to humans, it is crucially important to prevent their spread. There are currently over 300 known zoonotic diseases, such as rabies, brucella, Lyme disease, and West Nile virus to name a few. As a veterinarian, my job would be to stop their spread through preventive efforts. This can be accomplished by maintaining healthy animals through the enforcement of regular vaccination programs by veterinarians.
To have such vaccination programs in place studies must be performed by research veterinarians. Research conducted in veterinary medicine aids in the development of vaccines. Vaccines protect animals against disease, along with preventing the spread of disease to other animals and humans. In addition, studies conducted in veterinary medicine have implications for human medicine. Research of diseases and cancers in animals can aid in the development of pharmaceuticals and treatments for both animals and humans.
My aspiration that I held as a young girl of becoming a veterinarian has not changed. My veterinary experiences have given me a taste for the lifelong appetite that I have had for animal welfare, education, and medicine. Most importantly, they have added to my determination to pursue a career in veterinary medicine and contribute to the medical society.