Finding Her Path
Cummings School Program: Doctor of Veterinary Medicine - Master of Science in Laboratory Animal Medicine
Undergraduate Studies: University of Massachusetts Amherst, B.S., pre-veterinary science
Favorite Courses: Cardiology
Externships: Westford Veterinary Emergency and Referral Center; Division of Comparative Medicine, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Yoonjin Moon, V22, VG22 (DVM/MS-LAM), has an atypical story. Unlike most of her classmates, she did not dream of becoming a veterinarian at a young age. “I decided as an undergraduate at UMass Amherst,” she admits.
Born in South Korea, she moved to the United States at the age of five and lived in several places but settled in Massachusetts 11 years ago. “I went to UMass as an undecided major, but I had some research experience early in my undergraduate education and became interested in veterinary medicine and laboratory animal medicine,” Yoonjin explains. She earned a B.S. in pre-veterinary science with a minor in biology.
Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine provided the opportunity she sought. “Part of the reason I chose Cummings School was so I could pursue both a DVM (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine) and a Master of Science in Laboratory Animal Medicine (DVM/MS-LAM) at the same time. This program allowed me to complete it in four years.”
A self-identified introvert, Yoonjin challenged herself by joining several clubs and organizations on campus to meet people at Cummings School, including service as president of both the Tufts Chapter of the American Society of Laboratory Animal Practitioners as well as the Student Association of Veterinary Ethics.
On campus, she also served as an assistant in the Webster Family Library and a teaching assistant for the Peer-Assisted Clinical Excellence organization. In recognition of her academic achievement and contributions, Yoonjin was selected as the Henry L. Foster, DVM, Scholar for 2021-22.
In addition to those experiences, Yoonjin believes that her four years as secretary of the Class of ’22 Class Council made the most significant difference. “It gave me an opportunity to interact with my classmates, to get to know them better, especially outside of the classroom. It was important to my personal growth because I felt that it really pushed me out of my comfort zone and helped to develop my social skills,” she acknowledges.
“Personally I think the most important thing when it comes to veterinary medicine is your ability and willingness to connect with people … sympathy, empathy, and tenacity are very important.”
Yoonjin’s educational interests broadened during her time on campus. “I was originally planning on doing a residency, but I developed a high interest in small animal general practice, which grew during my clinical year and I am pursuing it next year,” she explains, having accepted a position as an associate veterinarian at Reading Animal Clinic in Reading, Massachusetts.
She has a deep appreciation for the individuals who have helped her achieve at Tufts. “I met lots of amazing people, many of them my classmates. And my mentors have been so supportive and understanding as I navigated what I wanted to do next year.”
Yoonjin points to the guidance she received from MS-LAM Faculty Members Dr. Angeline Warner and Dr. David Lee-Parritz, V83, as well as Dr. Mike Esmail, an adjunct MS-LAM faculty member from Tufts Medical School. “I’m very grateful that my mentors are realistic with me,” she confides. “They’re honest, candid, supportive, and give me guidance when I need it.”
Looking back, she recalls the challenging times of her education with a different lens. “I think it’s often the hardest, most distressing cases that eventually become the most memorable,” she explains.
“In the moment it can be scary, but they really stick with you. Things like diagnosing a new diabetic when I’m worried that the diagnosis may be fatal, or witnessing severe aspiration pneumonia that led to sepsis … I learned a lot from those cases and they will stay with me for a long time. I think there’s a lot of value in that.”
Yoonjin is also thankful for collaborating with Dr. Stephanie Pumphrey, V08; Dr. Jenelle Francis, Adjunct Assistant Professor Misty Williams-Fritze, and Dr. Lee-Parritz on a project that was published in the September 2021 issue of the Journal of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science.
Titled “Duration of mydriasis produced by 0.5% and 1% tropicamide in Sprague-dawley rats,” the study used tropicamide to dilate the pupils in rats and measure how long the effects took. “In the future, if someone wanted to do an ophthalmic study on rats and they wanted to use tropicamide they would know about the duration of its effects and would have a starting point for that research,” Yoonjin explains.
As she completes her time at Cummings School, Yoonjin is eager to gain more experience at Reading Animal Clinic and see where that leads her. “They have great mentors there so I hope to develop good habits and keep learning,” she summarizes. “I have an interest in general practice or surgery in the future, but most importantly, I want to feel fulfilled.”
Yoonjin was also profiled by Tufts University as part of their Profiles in Inspiration series spotlighting 2022 graduates.
“Tufts Now invited all the university’s schools to share the names of members of the Class of 2022, so that we can convey to our readers the creativity, intelligence, and drive of some of Tufts' newest (soon-to-be) alumni. We hope you enjoy meeting some of this year’s graduates. Prepare to be surprised, delighted... and inspired.”