Kristen (Borsella) Arango, D.V.M., a small animal surgery resident at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, was recently promoted to the rank of Major in the United States Army.
Commissioned as a U.S. Army veterinary corps officer after earning a D.V.M. from Oklahoma State University, she completed the First Year Graduate Veterinary Education Program at Fort Benning, Georgia. Her assignments have included Dover (Delaware) Air Force Base and Baumholder, Germany.
She recently shared some insights about pursuing veterinary medicine and military service.
What drew you to enlist in the Army?
My father is a K-9 police officer in New York. Growing up I lived with working dogs and witnessed that partnership dynamic firsthand. Seeing the training they go through, the bond they share, and the impact they can have on the local community always stuck with me. When I was in veterinary school and learned more about the Army Veterinary Corps I jumped at the opportunity to apply through the Health Professional Scholarship Program.
As an Army Veterinary Corps officer we serve the Department of Defense with a board mission set. Whether through animal medicine, food protection, public health missions, or research, each day is different. It’s a great job, with a variety of responsibilities and one that lends itself to many unique opportunities.
Could you share a professional highlight of your military service?
My last assignment with the 64th Medical Detachment in Germany offered me countless meaningful real-world experiences. A highlight for me was being part of the inaugural international K-9 Tactical Combat Casualty Care course. We conducted intense, realistic training for partner nations on canine point of injury battlefield trauma care.
What does the promotion to U.S. Army major mean to you?
It’s an honor that the military has faith in my abilities as a leader and entrusts me with the increased responsibilities of this promotion. It was a very proud moment for me.
Why did you pursue a residency at Cummings School?
Cummings School was appealing to me for a variety of reasons, including the program’s reputation, clinical facilities, and surgical caseload. As an Army-sponsored resident, we have a non-traditional route to residency and applying outside of the match has its own advantages and challenges. Starting conversations early and often with Cummings School faculty and personnel piqued my interest in the program and my desire to come here.
What are your initial impressions of working here?
It’s been great! I’ve enjoyed my time here thus far and can’t believe that my first year of residency is ending. I am grateful for my resident mates and faculty, as I’ve learned so much from them. I’ve really enjoyed collaborating with other specialty services and all those who work in the hospital. I am looking forward to the next two years.
What are your plans for the future?
Once I complete my residency, I will continue my time on active duty with the Army for at least another four years. Beyond that, I’m not sure. I love my job and want to continue to serve our military working dogs, military families, and my work alongside some of the best soldiers in the U.S. Army.