Dr. Cheryl Scott is a wildlife veterinarian and director of the Calvin Schwabe One Health Project at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. She is also involved with the Western Institute for Food Safety and Security and has recently taken on a formal role helping the vet school recruit students with more diverse backgrounds and career interests.
Sounds like the epitome of an uncommon veterinarian, right? But there’s more!
Dr. Scott actually started out as a nurse and then became a nurse practitioner, working with the Peace Corps and the International Red Cross all over the world. In her mid-30s and with a five-year-old daughter, she decided to pursue the dream of applying to veterinary school. She maintains both her veterinary and nursing licenses, making her one of the few strictly defined “One Health” practioners!
Dr. Scott graduated from vet school in 1994 with $90,000 in student loans, so she understands the financial realities for today’s veterinary graduates. She shares how she paid them off ahead of schedule and explains why she doesn’t think this factor should affect most students’ career goals. Yes, it is a burden, but not an insurmountable one by any means.
What You Will Learn in This Episode
- Why you shouldn’t believe all the negativity that sometimes comes from family, friends, and professors when they hear about your uncommon veterinary goals
- Why she highly recommends small animal clinical experience for everyone interested in becoming a wildlife veterinarian
- How she managed to do 20 externships covering various aspects of wildlife health during vet school
- How a two-week contract with a wildlife biologist in Texas to help trap ocelots turned into an constant stream of paid field wildlife work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Agency
- The #1 quality she looks for when choosing student externs and new hires (hint: it’s not academic performance!)
- Why she chose the Master of Preventive Veterinary Medicine (MPVM) program rather than a more widely recognized traditional Master of Public Health (MPH) degree
- Why you shouldn’t let people talk you out of pursuing your dreams as an uncommon veterinarian
You’ll notice that the voice of the interviewer sounds a little bit different this time around. That’s because this is my first guest podcast! UC Davis pre-vet student Mark Cayabyab has been volunteering as my Uncommon Veterinarian digital intern for the last few months, and he proposed and conducted this interview. You probably remember Mark’s previous contributions to the blog, in which he discussed his undergraduate internships in turtle medicine and fish pathology.
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Do any of you have uncommon vets in your life that you are dying to share with the rest of us? Let me know in the comment section below and we’ll see if we can figure something out!
Here’s the audio file, which you can listen to here or download for more convenient listening in the car, at the gym, or while you’re out walking the dogs. This episode is about 30 minutes long.