Laura and Callie Croom come from a long line of UT Martin alumni and, when their turns came to go to college, they were happy to carry on the tradition.
“We didn’t really realize how many people in our family came to UT Martin,” the sisters said. “Our mom, dad, uncles, brother… it’s a big group.”
Laura, the older of the two, graduated in December 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in agriculture and a concentration in animal science. She continued taking courses in the veterinary health technology program through the spring 2015 semester while waiting to hear back from her veterinary school applications.
“For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a vet. I don’t really recall a time where it came to be; it was just kind of always my dream,” she said. Laura credits the UT Martin animal science program and her participation in the Tennessee Governor’s School for the Agricultural Sciences (housed at UT Martin) with giving her a firm foundation on which to build her graduate school dreams. She elected to begin veterinary school classes at Auburn University this August.
Laura chose Auburn University partially because of the town’s “small, Martin-ish feel.” As Greenfield natives, Laura and Callie have always called Weakley County home, and Laura’s decision to move away is a big step for both of them. “She was always here, so if I had any questions on classes or anything she could give me advice,” Callie said. “It’s is going to be very different (when Laura is gone).”
Callie is a junior majoring in agriculture with a concentration in agricultural business and hopes to attend law school after graduation in 2017. “I would like to represent farmers and agriculture companies because I think it is important for such cases to have an attorney with an agriculture background,” she said.
Callie recently finished a unique internship opportunity with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture in Nashville, which gave her a variety of professional experiences as well as lessons on personal responsibility and priorities. “I guess the most valuable thing I learned was responsibility. I lived on my own in the big city of Nashville and getting to work what I call a ‘big girl job’ gave me a taste of what it is like in the real world. I learned that I have responsibilities both at home and at work,” she explained.
The Tennessee Department of Agriculture contacted Callie directly to ask that she fill their internship position, and she was excited to accept. “It was something different every day that I went into work, whether it was a meeting about the highly pathogenic avian influenza, doing research for the commissioner and assistant commissioners, working with legislators at the capitol and discussing issues going on with the Department of Agriculture, traveling across the state touring facilities or just representing the department at different events,” she said. “It was truly an awesome experience and I learned so many things that I can carry on with me throughout my life.”
The Croom sisters have no hesitations about sharing their UT Martin experiences with others and often encourage friends and younger family members to become Skyhawks as well.
“Everyone who asks me about college, I always recommend them to UT Martin because it’s just a great campus with great faculty and students,” Callie said. “(UT Martin is) such a friendly environment and all the professors I’m working with are very helpful. That helped draw me here because they are on a personal level with you. They really help you understand and work with you.”
Attending UT Martin may be part of the Croom family tradition, but these sisters made up their own minds – decisions they are proud to pass on.
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