Student Stories: Majorettes captain looks to veterinary career

Working with animals can be as unpredictable as being captain of the Penn State Majorettes, according to Shahkila Daniels.

The senior Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences major has been able to make a surprisingly helpful connection between her studies and her role as captain to aid in her future career plans.

"You have to be able to adapt," the Canton, Ohio, native said. "Pretty much everything changes when working with the Blue Band. I'll write the routines to the music, and then we'll get outside and the Blue Band changes the music, so then I have to rewrite to the new music."

Daniels emphasized the importance of knowing when and how to change things, knowing how to make it work, and learning to have patience under stressful circumstances. Interestingly enough, these skills also are helpful to have when working with animals.

"You can't really expect animals to do what you want them to do," she said. "The animals are wild. You have to learn how to adapt and stay calm for the safety of the animal and yourself."

Daniels' interest in animals began at a young age when she developed a desire to work with large exotic cats. She gives credit to Disney's "The Lion King" for that. But that's not why she came to Penn State.

"I started twirling with my baton group at home when I was 6 years old," Daniels said. "As I got older, a girl I twirled with my whole life went to Penn State, and I would watch her at nationals twirling with the majorettes."

Thanks to the majorettes, Penn State has been on Daniels' radar since the fifth grade. When it came time for her to apply to colleges, she noticed Penn State offered a veterinary science major. The variety of clubs and programs having to do with animals also attracted her.

"Not only does Penn State have a really great Blue Band and twirling program, but it also has a very good Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences program," said Daniels. "All those things put together were perfect. It solidified my decision to come here."

Learn about the Veterinary and Biomedical Science major.

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Last Updated July 01, 2014