Kamryn Gitchell, of Ripley, hopes to attend veterinary school after graduation. In the meantime, she’s gaining experience on the opposite side of veterinary health – research.
“I feel like working in a vet clinic, you mostly get the treatment side, but working at NEOTECH, I feel like the most important thing is the prevention of all the things you see in a vet clinic,” she said.
NEOTECH, LLC, is a vaccine production company in Dresden that produces the nation’s most effective vaccine against canine parvovirus, a highly fatal gastrointestinal disease often seen in puppies.
“I do a little bit of everything. I help them fill the vaccine, crimp it – which is putting the seal on it – and then I help them label it and package it,” Gitchell said. “You learn about vaccines in class, but getting to be there and get the hands-on (experience) and have them explain it to me, I feel like I soak it in more.”
Having an internship or job before graduation is essential in the animal science field, especially for vet-school hopefuls. Applicants to veterinary schools are required to show proof of 500 or more hours of professional experience, whether in a clinic, research laboratory or other setting. However, Gitchell points out the value of internships for students in all career fields.
“It gives you a network of relationships,” she said. “I know that even if I don’t work at NEOTECH in the future, I could come back and Dr. (Ben) Hatler could probably find me something else. … I feel like you get an advantage when you do an internship before you get a job because when someone is sitting there looking at resumes, they’re going to pick the person who has more experience over the person without experience.”
Gitchell, a junior, plans to graduate in May 2018 and attend the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine to specialize in livestock reproduction and embryology.
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