Veterinary student Mary Weatherman named Class of 2017 valedictorian
Not everyone can say they followed a childhood dream to fruition, but Mary Elizabeth Grace Weatherman, of Roanoke, Virginia, who will earn her doctor of veterinary medicine degree from the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech in May, will do just that.
Weatherman, who will also graduate as the 2017 Richard B. Talbot Memorial Award recipient and college valedictorian, described being a veterinarian as “pretty much the only job I wanted to have.”
Weatherman completed a bachelor’s degree in animal and poultry sciences from Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences in May 2013. In August 2013, she started at the veterinary college, where she pursed the college’s food animal track, one of five options in the tracking curriculum.
“I like working with the producers. I like being able to troubleshoot problems for them,” said Weatherman, who plans to continue her work with food animals after graduation.
In addition to her course work, Weatherman is also a member of several clubs and organizations, including the Food Animal Practitioners Club, Theriogenology Club, and Christian Veterinary Fellowship, which she describes as the “highlight” of her college experience.
Weatherman partnered with the Christian Veterinary Fellowship to travel to Kenya the summer after her first year in the DVM program, where she vaccinated and dewormed sheep and goats, and to Honduras during spring break of her third year, where she spayed and neutered cats and dogs. The missionary trips made her value her experiences at the veterinary college and in the local area even more.
“It definitely opened my eyes since I’ve been in Southwest Virginia for a while,” she said. “It opened my eyes to the struggles that other places are having and just made me more aware of how me as a veterinarian can give back to those in need.”
Weatherman credits her success at the veterinary college to “staying focused” and “staying dedicated on the end goal” and to her professors who were “really looking out for you and your well-being and just making sure you’re learning what you need to learn."
After graduating, Weatherman hopes to find a job in a mixed animal practice, with a focus on food animals. She already has two job offers with organizations in Missouri and Pennsylvania but is waiting to see all of her options before making a final decision.
“The good thing about our job is we have so many different facets we can go off and do,” said Weatherman, who added that government work has also always been in the back of her mind, though probably later in her career.
Wherever she ends up, Weatherman hopes to continue with the international and local veterinary missionary work she began at the veterinary college.
“It’s definitely something I want to incorporate into my career since I’ve been pretty blessed to get where I am, and I can just give back the little bit that I can doing veterinary work in other places,” she said.
Written by Kelsey Foster, a master’s degree student in the Department of Communication in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences