Student Stories: Animal Science major prepared for next step

Over spring break of her junior year, while many students relaxed or traveled, Penn State Animal Science major Emily Benner found herself in the barns assisting in health checks and veterinary rounds.

Through her externship with the New Bolton Center, associated with the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, the senior from Mifflintown, Pa., got her first look at the life of a vet student.

"We shadowed fourth-year vet students, went to lectures and then went on 9 a.m. rounds when we presented any new cases that appeared overnight while on call," she said. "There were a variety of cases, and every day was different. It was really interesting to see the animals' progress during the week."

Because she grew up around cattle, many of those cases were familiar, but she got a wider perspective when cases like a sick alpaca came in. "I was really able to take what I have been learning at Penn State and apply it to learn more about large animals."

Living on a farm with dairy and beef cattle, vet school always has been on Benner's radar, and she hopes to work in a rural, mixed-animal practice someday.

"I hope that I can make my way back home to work, and maybe I will go into academia – but not right away. I am looking forward to working in the field first," she said. "Spending a week at UPenn really put it in focus.  Maybe I will expand my horizons and tend to both small and large animals."

Previously, Benner also externed at Hanover Shoe Farms, which raises Standardbred horses. She was there during prime foaling season and worked mostly with the full-time vet on staff. They drove between the 17 farm sites, checking the health of foals and mares.

On campus, Benner is a member of Block and Bridle Club and currently works at the Swine Center, where she assists in farrowing, breeding sows and general maintenance. She is also on the Dairy Reproductive Research Team and volunteers at the Animal Diagnostic Lab.

Currently in the process of applying to veterinary schools, Benner plans to start next fall after graduating in May.

Learn about the Animal Science major.

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Last Updated March 05, 2014