Spotlight on: Maddie Panyard ’21

I am a Senior Animal Science major and a Peer Leader within the Health Professions Interest Group at the Career Center. I have been a part of health-related peer mentoring at the UVM Career Center for three years now and will deeply miss all the friends and counselors that I have connected with through this role. When I joined the Career Center team initially, I was a sophomore pre-med student who was majoring in Biochemistry. I thought I was interested in cancer research and wanted to become an oncologist. However, after taking a biochemistry class and shadowing a pediatric oncologist, I realized that was not the job for me and I did not want to limit myself to just cancer-related things. In my first year as a pre-health peer mentor at the UVM Career Center I learned that there is an incredible amount of healthcare jobs besides the typical physician. I also realized that my childhood passion for animals was not going away in my college life as I worked as a stable hand and kennel assistant. Therefore, I decided to explore the world of veterinary medicine and discovered that I absolutely loved it. I ended up switching into the Animal Science major to be able to take animal health specific classes and grow close with professors who hold DVMs (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine).

I learned invaluable networking and job-related information from the Career Counselors and my peers at UVM which allowed me to attain a wide variety of experience in my undergraduate years. Specifically, my advisor at UVM helped me land an amazing veterinary assistant internship abroad in South Africa for the Summer of 2019 where I was able to learn about the importance wildlife population health on human health. After that experience, I networked with local clinics and landed an ICU overnight technician job at Vermont Large Animal Clinic for my junior year. Following that, I attained a Veterinary Technician position at River Cove Animal Hospital in Williston, VT where I am currently employed. After graduation, I will continue working there full-time as a veterinary technician while I apply to veterinary school. As of right now, my career goal is to own a practice that focuses on creating personal relationships with both my patients and their human owners. 

For my undergraduate peers debating on a career in healthcare, the best advice I can give you is to explore everything that University of Vermont has to offer. These four years are not the time to “check box” your requirements for a professional experience, rather they are for you to figure out who you are, what you love, and meet individuals who will help you get to your goals. Join the club that you want to, change your major if you need to, and invest in your hobbies. If healthcare is for you, I promise that everything will fall in place for you. These experiences, health-related or not, will expose you to new people and new things that will let you know whether this “thing” is for you. Personally, I changed my major three times in college and do not regret it.

My career goals jumped from medical school to PA school to veterinary school in the past four years. Yes, all these career goals were in the realms of healthcare but my experiences and interactions with UVM faculty, peers, and alumni helped me narrow down my focus to something that fit me. I am extremely thankful for my experiences (good AND bad) in all the different healthcare fields because it just makes me feel reassured that I chose the right career path. Have fun, experience as much as you desire, and most importantly be YOU!

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