Alexia Riley

Alexia RileyInterest areas: Cattle and swine
Hometown: St. Peter, Minn.
Undergrad, major: U of M Morris, biology; U of M Twin Cities, animal science
Year in vet school: Second


What made you interested in veterinary medicine?

I lived on my grandparent’s dairy farm in my early childhood and cattle and horses were always a big part of my life. In high school, I started shadowing a veterinarian and I really enjoyed talking to farmers that we worked with. I wanted a career that would allow me to work with these farmers and help them improve their livestock, which is their livelihood. Being able to help someone improve their livelihood is a very rewarding career. Food supply affects everyone so it’s also a good place to be to make a difference in the world.

I am still deciding on my focus. Originally, I thought I was going to work primarily with cattle but after my internship this summer I am really enjoying working in the swine industry. Eventually, I would like to practice around my hometown, so hopefully I will be able to find an opportunity to work with swine and some cattle too.

How did you hear about VetFAST?

I mostly heard about it by word of mouth. There were some women from my county that had gone through the program. I also heard about VetFAST from my FFA advisor in high school when I was in her classes.

What made you want to apply?

I really enjoyed that it only required three years of undergrad instead of four because that lessened the financial burden of undergrad. I enjoyed my years in undergrad, but I was ready to move on and get into vet school, too. I also loved how the program offered lots of connections to make, as well as opportunities to shadow veterinarians and gain more experiences in the food animal industry.

How was your education affected by the VetFAST scholarship?

The financial burden of veterinary school can be distracting at times and the scholarships that are provided through the program have allowed me to focus more on my education. Because of the scholarships, I had the freedom to choose my summer internships based off of the experiences I would gain rather than the income I would receive.

What is your favorite part of the program?

I have really enjoyed the networking opportunities the program has provided, as well as getting to know the professors involved in the program.  My other favorite part is getting to know my peers in VetFAST and helping undergraduate students that are interested in applying to the program.