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Veterinary Medicine

CVMBS grads are helping animals, people and the planet

September 4, 2013

A new academic year is under way, leading many students - and families - to wonder, "What can I do with my bachelor's degree from the CSU College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences?"

To provide examples, we’re highlighting several young alumni who have recently graduated and launched careers. These are but a few examples of how our grads are fulfilling the college goal of helping animals, people and the planet.

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Steven Bruckbauer, microbiology, 2013

Bruckbauer graduated in May with a bachelor’s degree and now will enter the microbiology Ph.D. program at the University of Wisconsin. He credits faculty in the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences for providing the tools and support he needed to earn his bachelor’s degree and move on to grad school.

“I feel like the advisers and professors cared enough to really make sure we knew what our options were, and they helped prepare us to continue in whatever we saw ourselves doing in the future,” Bruckbauer said.

Lindsay DavisLindsay Davis, environmental health, 2011

Davis got off to a shaky start in her career – by completing an internship in hazard mitigation at the Southern California Earthquake Center. With a bachelor’s degree in environmental health, she has since worked as a gas geochemist at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, where she received a grant to study volcanic plume evolution at Kilauea Volcano.

Now Davis is entering the Peace Corps in El Salvador and will use her experience to complete a master’s thesis on geological hazards tied to youth development.

“I am using my environmental health degree to help solve problems in my community,” Davis said. “I do what I do because geologic hazard mitigation allows me to combine aspects of the subjects I am passionate about – environmental health, geology, and social science – to help people around the world.”

Ashley DenneyAshley Denney, biomedical sciences, 2009

Denney has worked for the past few years as a genetic researcher at the National Cancer Institute. Now she’s starting the Medical Scientist Training Program at the University of Colorado to earn an M.D. and Ph.D., with plans to practice as a doctor and to conduct research.

“It is a pretty incredible feeling when you discover something that nobody knew before,” Denney said. “I could use my medical training to diagnose and help patients in an immediate sense as well as strive to help them through new discoveries in the future.”

Environmental health grads

Mopping up after wildfire is a big task. Ask Caitlin Ceasar (2013), Robert Warwick (2012), Alex Clemments (2011), and Melissa Lovato (2013). They were hired to work for El Paso County Health in southern Colorado by another CSU alumnus, Tom Gonzales (1995).

The team worked to ensure safe re-entry for the 32,000 people who were evacuated from their homes during the Black Forest Fire, which scorched a region near Colorado Springs in June. The environmental health alumni tackled many needs, from disposing of spoiled food to maintaining water safety by covering open wells.

“It is the most unprecedented and rewarding project I have been part of in my career,” said Gonzales, director of El Paso County Public Health Environmental Health Division.

Nicole GarneauNicole Garneau, Ph.D. in microbiology, 2009

As curator of human health at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, Garneau designs and executes research and community outreach projects.

“It allows me to do the two things I enjoy most – science and talking with people. I think there is a lot of work to be done in the area of helping scientists be better communicators,” Garneau said. “I hope to inspire current scientists to be better engaged in their communities and provide mentorships and training programs for the next generation.”

Emily JensenEmily Jensen, environmental health, 2013

Jensen graduated in May with a bachelor’s degree and already is working for Children’s Hospital Colorado as a research assistant in the pediatric otolaryngology department, which focuses on health issues related to the ears, nose and throat. Jensen helps develop, conduct, and review clinical studies to improve medical treatments for children.

“The environmental health program led me to a summer internship in Florida, where I got my first experience working in research and was able to build a strong foundation for how to write research study protocol,” Jensen said.

Ryan KnodleRyan Knodle, microbiology, 2013

Knodle earned a bachelor’s degree and graduated with honors in May. Like many of the college’s alumni, Knodle now will attend medical school and is interested in pursuing a specialty in emergency medicine or infectious disease.

“It's clear to me that the rigor of the CSU curriculum in microbiology, faculty expectations, and incredibly unique opportunities that were afforded me during my time at CSU have set me up for success,” Knodle said.

Anupama Mehrotra, environmental health, 2012

While working toward her bachelor’s degree in environmental health, Mehrotra completed an internship in Uganda that set the stage for her career.

She worked during summer 2011 as a project and administration leader for the Uganda Village Project, a non-governmental organization that strives to improve public health in a region with high rates of HIV/AIDS, dirty water, and critical sanitation problems. Mehrotra analyzed health needs, conducted community trainings, and connected villagers to key resources.

“The experience was absolutely incredible. I learned so much from my team, my village, and the people of Uganda,” said Mehrotra, who is from Fort Collins. “Public health is no easy field, but it is absolutely necessary to not lose faith in its progress.”

Since earning her degree, Mehrotra has been accepted to the Public Health Associate Program run by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and will complete a two-year fellowship at Michigan State University.

Laura Jo PfaffLaura Jo Pfaff, environmental health, 2008

After graduating with a bachelor’s degree, Pfaff went the distance – some 9,000 miles to Antarctica. She is an environmental health and safety senior engineer for Lockheed Martin and helps lead environmental, health, and safety programs at three major U.S. Antarctic research stations: McMurdo, Palmer, and the South Pole.

“I have always imagined that I would find myself working in a position in which the work would be somewhat outside the box of what the profession would traditionally encompass,” she said.

Kellie ThompsonKellie Thompson, biomedical sciences, 2010

After earning her bachelor’s degree, Thompson spent two years working as a health volunteer for the Peace Corps in a village in Ecuador. Witnessing poverty in developing countries led Thompson to work as a bilingual outreach advocate and bilingual parent educator.

“I’m getting good experience, and I hope to pursue more study in public health,” Thompson said. “I want to help fix the problems that cause inequalities abroad and in the U.S.”