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Kelly Wiggen is a veterinary school student at University of Illinois #

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The prairie at Green Oaks Biological Field Station.

Kelly Wiggen '11

Veterinary School Student, University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine

Major in Biology

Kelly's honors project studying domesticated zebra finches helped her prepare for veterinary school.

Kelly Wiggen is a veterinary school student at University of Illinois

How did your Knox experience prepare you for veterinary school?

For the past six weeks, I've been doing clinical rotations throughout the hospital, instead of being in a lecture hall all day. We've had to think on our feet, use our existing knowledge to assess a novel situation, and analyze the effects that our decisions would have, which are all things that Knox emphasizes in its education and helps students to learn throughout their four years there.

Tell us about your honors project.

I got to figure out how to design an experiment with all my bases covered. I learned how to control for variables that I wasn't initially expecting. I got to experience general frustration with research. Animals are very unpredictable and tend to be uncooperative, which was frustrating, but was a great learning experience. Just because I planned to start trials on Tuesday didn't mean the birds were actually going to want to start trials on Tuesday. I had to learn to be flexible with my subjects and adjust as I went. I got literally hundreds of hours of animal experience by working with zebra finches. It was nice to be able to put on my application that I'm not only doing research, which is a big plus, but I'm also getting animal experience.

What are your future goals?

I love the idea of being an eventual practice owner, where I treat small animals -- cats and dogs. But I've also gotten involved in exotics and wildlife while I've been here. I'm toying with the idea of eventually specializing, but I still want to experience more of the veterinary world before I make a decision.

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Printed on Saturday, November 18, 2017

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