Isabelle Pellegrini with her 2 dogs

Isabelle (Izzy) Pellegrini, VG23


Covington, Louisiana

B.S. in Animal Science, University of Rhode Island

Why did you choose to pursue this degree, and why did you choose Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine to pursue this degree?

I was initially drawn to the MCM program because I have an affinity for marine mammal conservation, research, and medicine. When comparing various advanced degree programs in conservation, I discovered that the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University is the only institution in the U.S. that offers a degree in conservation medicine. I ultimately chose to enroll at the Cummings School because I gravitate toward programs and leaders who utilize various teaching methods, welcome multiple perspectives, offer experiential opportunities, and most importantly, emphasize inclusion and collaboration.

What are your interests and/or experiences relative to your program?

The animal science program at the University of Rhode Island, particularly the pre-veterinary track, afforded me many experiential learning opportunities and allowed me to gain practical skills. My favorite memories include interacting with cannulated sheep, assisting with beluga whale ultrasounds, and preparing and assessing cytologic samples (obtained from avian patients) alongside an exotic veterinary technician. Additionally, I was one of twelve students chosen to complete a rigorous and competitive marine mammal research course with travel to Roatan, Honduras. Outside of the classroom, I participated in several activities relevant to my specific area of concentration including researching beluga whales, accepting an aquarist and education internship, securing a paid position as an aviary zookeeper, and becoming a full-time veterinary technician.

What are your career goals after completing the program?

My experience to date has helped confirm my commitment to caring for animals as a career and to pursuing both a Masters in Conservation Medicine degree and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree. Although many facets of medicine intrigue me, I have a particular interest in aquatic animal medicine. I would love to become an aquatic veterinarian at a zoological institution or conservation center. I plan to focus on marrying conservation medicine with aquatic animal research to facilitate a large-scale impact on endangered populations.