Gabi Villanueva Student Profile

Gabi Villanueva


  • Sc.B. in Human Biology with Honors, Brown University, 2012.

Student Groups:

  • Veterinarians for Global Solutions
  • Tufts Student Chapter of the American Veterinary Medical Association
  • Wildlife, Aquatic, Zoo Animal, and Exotic Medicine Club
  • Spanish Club

Choosing the Cummings School:

My decision to come to Tufts was largely based on this school’s unique dual DVM/MPH program. While I’m someone who always knew I wanted to be a veterinarian, I’m also interested in the role humans play in veterinary medicine—especially in terms of wildlife medicine and conservation, the future of many of the world’s species is dependent on the surrounding communities of people. Through my major at Brown, I was able to focus on both biology and anthropology, which led me to the idea of One Health. Tufts’ strengths in wildlife medicine, conservation, ethics, and One Health all drew me to this school and its commitments to these principles are visible throughout the school in both its curriculum and the students it attracts. Given my background and interests, Tufts was the perfect place to prepare me for the kind of future I envision.

Before Entering Veterinary School:

After graduating from undergrad I decided to take a year off before coming to vet school. I had studied Italian for three years at Brown but never actually went abroad, so after completing my vet school applications I spent three months living in Rome and traveling around Italy. I came back home around Christmas and spent the rest of the year working at a 24-hour small animal hospital as an assistant while also working at my former high school every so often as a substitute teacher in the science and language departments.

Career Path:

While my interests within veterinary medicine are still fairly broad, they are primarily centered around international veterinary medicine, wildlife medicine and conservation. Hopefully, with my combined degree, I’ll be able to leave Tufts in a position to work at the intersection between human and animal health and welfare both in the U.S. as well as abroad. In the meantime, I’d love to explore shelter and emergency medicine.

The Year Ahead:

This year I’m most looking forward to meeting other vet students and faculty at Tufts, and discovering all sorts of new opportunities that I haven’t even considered yet. Everyone here comes from different backgrounds and has their own interests within veterinary medicine and it’s just exciting to learn more about this profession through other students’ experiences. But also, working with animals--the more hands-on experience, the better!

Favorite Vet School Experience So Far:

Clinical skills is by far my favorite class and, as someone who came to Tufts with almost zero experience with large animals, it’s been so great getting to handle horses, cows, piglets, and sheep! When we’re not in Clinical Skills however, one of my favorite things about vet school has been the number of cute animal pictures that pop up during all sorts of lectures. As interesting as our classes are, having cute penguins and puppies pop up every now and then makes them that much better.

Favorite Thing About Campus:

As I mentioned above, I think the people at Tufts is one of its greatest strengths. The community aside, I love being able to go hiking any weekend whether it’s 15 minutes or an hour away from Grafton. The landscape is beautiful here and there’s no better place to spend fall than in New England.