Jessica Plunkard, DVM, MPH
“I stumbled into the world of laboratory animal medicine while trying to widen my veterinary experiences and diversify my vet school application. During an undergrad summer internship, I had the opportunity to work with non-human primates and was fascinated with their behavior and complex care.
“I have not looked back since and am currently a second-year laboratory animal medicine resident at Johns Hopkins University with an emphasis on clinical medicine. As part of the program, I spend time on different rotations providing the primary clinical care for a wide range of species. We also participate in research, community outreach, and didactic training to prepare for boards.
“The public/corporate track was integral in setting me up for a laboratory-animal medicine program. With the flexible clinical requirements, I was able to visit multiple academic, corporate, and government research facilities. From net catching and treating baboons in Florida, to helping implant genetically modified mouse embryos in Boston, my externships gave me valuable hands-on experiences and a solid foundation in laboratory animal medicine that would not have otherwise been possible. The externships were also helpful during the residency application process: they allowed me to visit multiple programs I was interested in and made me a competitive candidate during the match process.
“The flexibility of the PC track allows you to tailor your education to your interests, whether you have an exact position in mind (like I did) or you are simply exploring the multitude of non-traditional career options available. If you are unsure if the PC track is right for you, I recommend setting up a meeting with one of the PC faculty mentors or previous students. My mentor, Dr. Rist, was a great resource and support during vet school, and I am very grateful to have had such a dedicated mentor.”