Alison Bush, who graduated in December, says her involvement in scientific research with animals shaped her career goals, and her campus activities gave her a fulfilling experience at UConn. Here’s what she said in an interview.
What was your major? Why did you choose this major? I was a pathobiology and animal science major. I chose these two majors for different reasons. What interested me about pathobiology was the study of diseases, especially of animals. They are my main focus; and I eventually plan to become a veterinarian. The draw towards animal science came from my research experience in the animal science field, which I began my freshman year and continued for over three years.
Name two or three activities, internships or jobs that have enriched your studies. The research enhanced my interest in working with large animals as a career. With a team, I studied the effects of poor maternal nutrition on the development and growth of sheep offspring. We presented our research at national scientific conferences. This experience shaped what I want to do as a veterinarian and enriched my study of animal science.
Starting in my freshman year at UConn, I was a member of the Pre-Vet Club. I was able to hear from vet school recruiters who came to UConn as well as visit vet schools. Also, the Club has an annual dog wash that is fun to participate in.
Which one of these endeavors was the most memorable? Why? The research I have been doing with sheep has been the most memorable and the one in which I have learned the most. Learning how to handle large animals has been an invaluable experience that will greatly help me in my future as a vet. The first two years of my research, I worked directly with the animals and became skilled in animal restraint. After that, I worked in a lab analyzing gene expression of fat tissue of animals. I was able to present my research at a national conference this past summer, and it was the most memorable experience of my three years of research.
What was the biggest challenge in your UConn career? Balancing both pathobiology and animal science was the biggest challenge of my time at UConn. Getting actual hands-on experience in both majors was difficult because most of my time was spent in the animal science field. However, I finally got experience in pathobiology in my last semester by doing an independent study on fish disease diagnostics. So, in the end, it worked out, but it was a challenge at first.
When did you graduate? What are you doing now? I graduated in December of 2013 and am now working at two vet clinics, one that handles small animals and one that handles large animals. I am also finishing my research and planning to go to vet school next year.
Is there anything else you would like us to know about you? I got a dog recently and love to go hiking with her. In the winter, I go snowboarding at Mount Snow every weekend. In addition, I was part of the UConn dance company for a semester.
By Claire Morris