Hands-on Experiences and Alumni Connections Lead Kayla Miller '17 to Grad School

Lebanon Valley College alumna Kayla Miller talks about veterinary school as she plays with animals

As a graduate of The Valley, Kayla Miller ’17 attributes her preparation for veterinary school to her experiences as an undergraduate student.

Miller attends the University of Wisconsin, whose veterinary medicine program is ranked among the top five in the nation. She chose their program for its prestige and its relevance to the dairy industry, as Miller holds an interest in large animal care.

Growing up in Lancaster County, Miller has always been around farm animals, which sparked her interests in pursuing a veterinary career. When it came time to choosing an undergraduate program, she was drawn to LVC because of its strength in sciences and the opportunities available to students.

“I had looked at several schools for college and ended up trying to decide between Penn State and LVC,” Miller said. “I ended up choosing LVC for multiple reasons; I loved the smallness of the school and ability to get to know my professors. LVC felt more personal.”

While at LVC, Miller truly embraced the inclusiveness of the College’s curriculum and opportunities, while also building long-lasting relationships with her professors. One program in which she truly flourished was Project Close-Up, where she was assigned a professional mentor to help her build connections and gain experience in her field of interest. Miller worked with Dr. Tammy Stone, LVC Class of 1992, from the Veterinary Medical Center of Lebanon, who opened the door for her in many ways.

“Dr. Stone encouraged me to learn more about the different aspects of veterinary medicine,” Miller said. “She put me in contact with Dr. Nan Hanshaw [LVC Class of 1988] who works for the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. I was able to also spend the day with Dr. Hanshaw and learn about the government and legal side of veterinary medicine.”

As a student, Miller had Dr. Stacy Goodman, chair and professor of biology, as an academic advisor. With Dr. Goodman’s guidance, Miller obtained multiple internships, including at Annville-Cleona Veterinary Associates Inc., ZooAmerica at Hersheypark, and even international experience. Miller also shadowed veterinarians at Hershey Medical Center’s Department of Comparative Medicine.

“Shadowing the vets at the med center gave me the opportunity to learn about the role of a veterinarian in research,” Miller said. “I got the opportunity to watch an open-heart surgery on a lamb testing an infant left ventricular assisting device, as well as go on rounds with the veterinarians throughout the hospital checking on all the animals.”

When it came time to applying for graduate studies, Lebanon Valley gave Miller a competitive edge, not only by providing her with countless hands-on experiences, but also mentoring her through the application process for veterinary school.

The graduate application process is known to be long and stressful, but the Pre-Health Professions Committee helped prepare Miller for every step of the way, including the GRE exams, drafting personal essays, and hosting mock interviews. Her professors also kept tabs on how she and other students were feeling emotionally throughout the grad school process.

“[The LVC professors] cared about the goals we had and were always checking in during the application process,” Miller said. “My LVC professors have all made a big impact on my life and I am extremely thankful for my time at LVC.”

 

 

-Maria Scacchitti '18, Marketing & Communications Intern