Veronica Pleasant is a senior majoring in animal science and pathology. She has been heavily involved in CAHNR since she started at UConn, assisting with research in a lab in animal science, being involved in the College Ambassador’s program and a member of the Sigma Alpha Professional Agricultural Sorority. Next fall she will be attending the University of Illinois for veterinary medical school. Here is what she said about her time at UConn.
What attracted you to UConn? I live in Shelton, Connecticut, and I had never visited UConn before I was accepted. I was hesitant at first, but the minute I stepped on campus, I fell in love! I found the atmosphere of campus very engaging, and the animal science program here is exceptional. It was too good of an offer to refuse!
What is your major, and why did you choose it? I am a double major in animal science (primary) and pathobiology (secondary). I was actually admitted under speech, language and hearing sciences, but that didn’t sit right with me. After doing some soul searching, I realized that I wanted to become a veterinarian. So, I switched my major to animal science and never looked back. The animal science department is my home away from home, and I will always be grateful to the department for creating such an incredibly supportive atmosphere. I added my secondary pathobiology major after learning about One Health- the theory that human health, animal health and environmental health are interconnected. Pathobiology is centered around this theory, and the classes seemed the perfect way to further develop these interests.
Which one of your UConn activities, internships or jobs was the most memorable? Why? I do research in Kristen Govoni’s laboratory in animal science. I started in fall 2016, and it has been an absolutely wonderful three years. We have worked on so many different projects, I’ve had multiple opportunities to present our findings both domestically and abroad and have gotten to work with pretty amazing animals and people along the way. This one activity has spiraled into two other jobs, altered my graduate applications and career paths and truly shaped the positivity of my undergraduate career.
Name two other experiences that have enriched your studies. I have been a part of Sigma Alpha Professional Agricultural Sorority since my first semester of college, and I am currently serving my second term as First Vice President. These women have kept this large university from feeling too large because Sigma Alpha is not just a sorority; it’s a family.
In addition, I started as a College Ambassador for the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources during fall 2016 and am now serving as an undergraduate teaching assistant for the program. College Ambassadors has allowed me to develop my confidence as a leader, public speaker and a more dynamic individual. This program has provided incredible personal and professional connections and absolutely positively shaped my UConn career.
What was the biggest challenge in your UConn career? My biggest challenge has been both chemistry (5 semesters plus biochemistry- it was a lot), and overcoming my own personal struggles. It is easy to feel overwhelmed by all the academic, personal and professional pressure, but if there is anything I have learned at UConn, it is how to pick my head up and keep going. UConn taught me grit, and I am forever grateful for that.
When do you expect to graduate? What then? I graduate in May 2019, and I will be attending the University of Illinois for veterinary medical school in August. I plan to become a public health veterinarian with a focus on wildlife/exotics and infectious disease. I am interested in both becoming a clinician and doing research on the impact of zoonotic disease transmission in various populations.
Is there anything else you would like us to know about you? I would just like to take this opportunity and space to thank the University of Connecticut for becoming a home away from home, due to the incredible faculty, staff and students gathered here. The power of education humbles me not only on the individual level but as a community. I am proud to be a part of UConn Nation, and I look forward with glee to watching my peers, mentors and the university thrive in the coming years.