Gretchen Henry DelcambreDirector of Veterinary Admissions, Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Ft. Collins, CO| BS (Chemistry) 2005, Louisiana State University | DVM 2009, Louisiana State University | MS (Veterinary Science) 2015, University of Florida
Veterinary Medicine opens more doors of opportunity than anyone can imagine. Through other experiences, I ruled out may career choices, but still could not decide what to be when I grew up. With family roots that exposed me to teaching, medicine, a love of animals, and a willingness to be an adventurer, I chose veterinary medicine to continue my exploration! I focused heavily on research and equine medicine, but in the end teaching, microscopic anatomy, leadership, and communication have become the things that make me happiest and allow me to serve the profession in a unique way.
Being the odd-ball who wanted to do something non-traditional in the profession proved challenging. I never wanted to go into clinical practice. Many questioned my motivation, my reasons, and my ability along the way. I was told I should quit by some or change my core values by others. I am forever thankful to those who were willing to take great chances on me and give me an opportunity to find my way to where I am today. I learned early that the opportunity to fail, or feel like a failure, also gives you the opportunity to find your strengths.
My high school chemistry teacher is still one of my superheroes today. She made science fun, challenging, and intriguing. She was tough, fair, kind, and so engaging! Somehow her teaching unlocked a very analytical side of me that I knew needed to be put to good use. Because of her, and probably the 4 of my family members who are teachers, I knew I was destined for a career in academia.
My Typical Day
On a typical day, I will advise several pre-veterinary candidates on ways to prepare for vet school. I will also likely have an hour or so dedicated to academic service through committee work, student mentoring, roundtable discussions, and outreach. I also have lots of technical administrative duties to take care of and depending on the time of the year, could have some teaching to do too! I do a lot of talking and emailing with students, staff, faculty, administrators, and the public. I personally have a horse, a dog, a cat, a rabbit, and fish so that I get my daily animal fix too!
My job is heavily focused on communications. I can get stressed by overthinking about what I say or how I say it. I can get really stressed out by going into an overthinking-it spiral. I manage it by sticking to the facts, keeping my emotional/empathetic side in check, allowing myself to make mistakes, and staying open to feedback.
Every conversation I have is connected to animals, animal care, animal health, and public health. How fun is that? You get to talk about animals all the time! Veterinarians have the most interesting and gross (fun!) conversations even at the dinner table.