Student Stories: Vetward bound -- Honors student preparing for future

Jess Linder, a veterinary and biomedical sciences major from Cedar Grove, N.J., has always been inspired by health professionals. “When I was 9, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune eye disease called uveitis. Since then, I have seen how my doctors not only care for my physical health, but also my emotional and mental health.”

The experiences left a deep impression on Linder, influencing her to pursue a career in veterinary medicine. “The empathy they have shown me has inspired me to incorporate the same characteristics into my passion, caring for animals,” she said.

Throughout her time in the College of Agricultural Sciences, Linder has found a variety of enriching opportunities to help her achieve her goals. Along with honors classes, she is fulfilling the Schreyer Honors College thesis requirement with a project focusing on lab research on antibiotic resistance.  

“I think my involvement in research played a significant role in my early acceptance to Purdue’s vet school,” Linder said.

She participates in Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences (MANRRS), Ag Advocates, and the pre-vet club. Linder has also been able to go beyond Penn State with a series of summer programs: a two-week veterinary program for multicultural students at Purdue, Michigan State’s seven-week “Vetward Bound” program, eight-weeks working with large animals at the University of Pennsylvania’s Veterinary College in New Bolton Center, Philadelphia, and two weeks in Belize doing hands-on vet work.

“Being able to learn about how animals are cared for in another country and actively participate in their care was an unforgettable opportunity,” she said.

These experiences were made possible with support and funding from several sources. In addition to her Penn State Schreyer’s stipend, Linder was also selected for the USDA’s Multicultural Scholarship program. The College of Ag Sciences matched her USDA funding and partnered with Michigan State to create a scholarship program agreement so she could attend Vetward Bound.

Linder has no intention of slowing down. She plans to attend veterinary school after graduation and pursue a career working with large animals, possibly for a government or public health agency. “I want to keep an open mind and see all that there is to experience.”

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Last Updated September 10, 2015