Rachael Wolters grew up on a farm in northern Idaho and as she got older, Wolters began to consider pursuing agriculture, specifically animal science for her future career. For Wolters, the choice was obvious, and ultimately, she wants to be a livestock veterinarian.
At UT Martin, Wolters has had the opportunity to work on the farm and with the animal disease and diagnostic lab. She says, “It is a job that is really giving me a lot of experience and a really great resume line. What I get to do in my job, I absolutely love. I get to work with the livestock on campus and gain experience through that. I get to work with fellow students and get to learn alongside with them. My faculty mentors, my academic advisors, they come out there with me and teach me as we’re working. I work in the diagnostic lab and learn about animal anatomy hands-on, and that’s something that I would not get at another university, and that’s something that has made my choice to come to UT Martin so worth it.”
Wolters jokes that during finals week, she enjoys squeezing in time to work at the Sheep and Goat Center to help her relax between exams.
However, the farm isn’t the only reason Wolters feels at home at UTM. Wolters says, “I chose UT Martin for several reasons. The main reason I really settled on UT Martin was because it feels like home. Several of my older siblings attended UT Martin and so I met the faculty and staff here, and I was so blown away with how much they care about the students. When I finally did come here, I was a little nervous about being the “little sister” but that’s not true. They know me for who I am. I’m not just a number or a face in the classroom. They recognize me as an individual and they’re here to make sure that I can succeed.”
Wolters is a stand-out student on her own as she continues to be involved in the College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences. “UT Martin has a lot of opportunities for students to compete in things in our specific interest groups,” Wolters said. “This last year, I competed in the UT Martin Farm Bureau Agriculture Issues Discussion Meet." Both Wolters and fellow UTM student, Rachel Ralston, competed in the state competition this summer at the Young Farmers and Ranchers Conference.
This year, Wolters walked away from the competition as the state winner and soon will be participating in the national competition alongside Ralston, who earned second place in the state competition. Wolters said, “As we go to Nationals, we’re going to try to represent UT Martin and maybe bring home a national title!”
Wolters has also obtained a coveted spot as a McWherter Innovator in the Ned Ray McWherter Institute (NRMI) for Collaboration and Innovation. The NRMI is a three-year, progressive, interdisciplinary program customized to the individual student. At capacity, 30 student participants, six from each of the five Colleges at UTM, will be active in the program. Each student participant will be paired with a personal mentor from their desired industry who will guide the student as they progress and reinforce the programming of the Institute while connecting them to the world outside of the University.
Wolters said, "It's going to really be something that is setting me apart as I start applying to vet school, applying to programs, jobs and internships. It's something that I'm new in right now, but something that I'm super excited about."
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