When she was three years old Chelsea Anderson told her mother she was going to be a veterinarian when she grew up. Next fall, Anderson will begin studies at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. Dream nearly fulfilled.
A ‘Presidential Scholar’ when she arrived on campus four years ago from tiny Haddam-Killingworth High School in Higganum, Conn., Anderson soon realized that the trick to succeeding at UConn would be effective time management. As a double major in animal science and pathobiology, with a minor in wildlife conservation, all in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, she quickly learned to balance her studies and extracurricular activities. The latter included a three-year stint on the club volleyball team and becoming an officer, now president, of the PreVet Club. That organization, which had only 10 members when Anderson was a freshman, has grown to one with more than 60 active members during her tenure.
Despite a rigorous academic schedule she says, “Once I learned to manage my time, I could tackle pretty much anything. My advisor, Dr. Zinn, has been great. He helped me choose my courses and told me which ones not to take in the same semester because of the work involved. He’s been a phenomenal help.”
Steven Zinn, professor of animal science, has equally high praise for Anderson. “Based on my first meeting with Chelsea at freshman orientation, I had high hopes and expectations for her academic career. As I look back on her four years at UConn, she has not only cleared the bar, she’s done it with plenty of room to spare. She’s an excellent student, a joy to have in class, and she has been a great mentor to freshman students.”
Anderson has acquired some unusual skills to include on her resume. She learned how to restrain seals as part of her rehabilitation work with marine mammals at the Mystic Aquarium – “Basically, you have to sit on them and pin them down. They look cute, but they do bite.”
She also has hands-on experience working with Bob Baffert, one of America’s premier trainers of Thoroughbred race horses. This experience was made possible through the efforts of associate professor of animal science, Robert Milvae, who offers an independent study course during winter break.
Anderson was one of two students chosen to shadow a veterinarian acquaintance of Milvae’s at California’s Santa Anita and Hollywood Park Racetracks in January 2009. This experience led to her summer work with the Baffert racing stable at Santa Anita and at Malibu Valley Farms horse breeding farm in Calabasas, Calif.
She says, “I was looking for an afternoon job because working at the track takes place primarily between 5 a.m. and noon. At Malibu Valley Farms, I was involved not only in horse care, but I also worked in the office. I learned about horse syndication and all sorts of legal issues that go along with horse racing. I’ll be going back this summer to work there again.”
Anderson says she’s grown to appreciate all the opportunities that are offered at UConn: “I’ve had some amazing experiences, thanks to the people I’ve met while I’ve been here.”
Anderson will be the student speaker for the May 2010 CANR/RHSA Commencement ceremony.