My position involves overseeing international projects and deriving policies aimed at improving biosurveillance, biosecurity, and pandemic preparedness. This is addressed from a One Health perspective, an approach that I first learned of through my IVM curriculum at Cummings School.
The Post Graduate Certificate experience allowed me, as an individual that developed an interest in a non-traditional career path in veterinary medicine, to gain exposure to the various types of career paths that one can pursue. It delved into scientific, cultural, and economic aspects of medicine practiced globally, and broadened my perspective to be more inclusive of ideas and approaches to problem-solving that are different than my own.
My life changed when I spent a summer in Ethiopia working on foot-and-mouth disease policy research. I now look back on my earlier life as a relatively sheltered kid from the northeast who descended from dairy farmers.
I had had a very easy life, one which my risks were very small in the grand scope of things. I took a chance on traveling to East Africa, something very much out of character for me to that point. It opened up an entirely new horizon of experience to me, one which I will be forever grateful for.
Despite the difficulties in logistics of research, the true difficulties were those of everyday activities and adapting to a whole new environment and culture. It was a revolutionary time for me, and has changed my life for the better ever since. In addition, my time there opened up future career doors, with there being a very distinct connection to that summer and the career I find myself in today.
My advice would be to find something you are passionate about within the program or field, and pursue it relentlessly. Whether it is to travel and gain cultural awareness, to investigate a certain disease or process, or to soak in as much knowledge as is possible, it doesn’t really matter in your early stages of school, or beyond. What matters is that you take an active role in your education, and that you step forward for new adventures/experiences with an open mind. Don’t let opportunities pass you by assuming that they will be there later!