Animal Science student sets her sights on veterinary school

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Four years of hard work finally is paying off for Penn State senior Molly Rogus, of Doylestown, who will be starting veterinary school at Cornell University in the fall. She had a tough choice to make — Rogus applied to six schools and was accepted at four of them.

"Your attitude is really important, and so is perseverance," Rogus said, looking back on her undergraduate years. "Your dream isn't just handed to you. You make a lot of sacrifices and work really hard to get what you want — but in the end it's all worth it."

Rogus, who is majoring in animal science with an equine science minor in the College of Agricultural Sciences, worked in the surgery department of a small animal hospital in high school, and that experience solidified her desire to pursue a career in veterinary medicine.

"I always knew I wanted to be a veterinarian," she said. "When you think of those 5-year-old kids saying they want to grow up to be a vet — that was me. I've always loved animals, but I'm also fascinated by biology and science."

Since Rogus knew she wanted to be a veterinarian when she began applying for colleges, she spent a lot of time looking at animal science programs at a number of universities. She did a lot of her own research but also spoke with several veterinarians from her hometown. The recommendations kept coming back to one school: Penn State.

"A lot of people that I talked with said Penn State was a good feeder program for vet schools and that the program here was really strong," she said.

When Rogus came to tour the the University Park campus, she spoke with a number of people in the Animal Science Department and visited the facilities. "I saw that there would be a lot of unique opportunities for me and I'd be able to make the most out of my time," she said.

Making the most of her time at Penn State included two internships. Rogus worked on a large dairy farm the summer after her freshman year. "I'm from a suburban area, so I didn't have a good idea of what a busy dairy farm was really like. It was eye-opening for me to see the amount of work farmers do and what kind of sacrifices they make."

Rogus spent the next summer in Maryland working for Select Breeders Services, an industry leader in equine frozen semen and reproductive services. Rogus worked with veterinarians and horses at the facility. "It really taught me what it means to be a veterinarian, especially a large-animal veterinarian," she said.

"I saw just how much work and commitment goes into the job, and it only served to strengthen my passion for the career."

Something else that Rogus cites as important to her success at Penn State is the Equine Research Team, often referred to as PSERT. The team conducts various research projects every year with the goal of helping students get firsthand experience with research. Past projects have included studies on gastrointestinal health; mare and foal health; and exercise physiology.

The group's adviser, Burt Staniar, associate professor of equine science, also has acted as a mentor to Rogus.

"Molly has been an incredibly organized and engaged president of PSERT. She interacts with all the members and is a reliable participant in our research projects. She's really taken advantage of the opportunities to become a part of the academic community and make the most of her time at Penn State," Staniar said.

"One of Molly's great strengths is her open and accepting nature. I've seen this in her role as an officer in PSERT, as an Ag Advocate, and even in her interaction with fellow scientists."

Outside of the club, Rogus conducts research on dairy cows for Joy Pate, professor of reproductive physiology, and currently is working on her senior thesis with Pate.

Rogus also is an Ag Advocate for Penn State. The group acts as ambassadors, representing the College of Agricultural Sciences with current students; future students and their families; alumni groups and faculty members. Rogus explained that while promoting the college, the group stresses the important role agriculture plays in everyday life.

"I'm excited to begin vet school in the fall," she said. "I know the opportunities I've had at Penn State have set me up to succeed in the future."

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Last Updated March 28, 2018