North Clayton High students Robynn Hadley (left), a sophomore, and senior Quyanna English discuss an experiment that Hadley was working on in chemistry class.
COLLEGE PARK — North Clayton High School sophomore Robynn Hadley has discovered firsthand that there is a learning experience in every opportunity that at times will take you by surprise when you begin to study for a career in veterinary science.
The inquisitive 15-year-old was astounded when she was named the 2012 class valedictorian at the Tuskegee University School of Veterinary Medicine, where she spent a week in the Vet-Step Program to learn how to become a veterinarian. Twenty-five students were accepted to the program.
“I was simply flabbergasted,” she said. “I didn’t know that this award would be presented to anyone. Everybody in class seemed to be smart. I took lots of notes and studied, and studied, and studied some more. But I didn’t know that I was going to get an award.”
Rick Mosley, the Vet-Step coordinator at Tuskegee University, said, “Although she called home to complain a few times about the long hours she spent in class conducting experiments and taking notes, she managed to receive the highest academic average award. She is too humble to tell you that she reached her hand inside of a cow to feel the unborn calf, drew blood from a horse, vaccinated a bull, and rode a camel.”
Although there were challenges, there were lighter moments, too, Hadley recalled. “After we were dismissed from class at the end of the day, we saw a cat that was stuck in a tree as we walked to our dormitory.” Hadley said. “I don’t know how I was selected to get the cat out of the tree. Fortunately, someone lifted me high enough to reach the cat and set it free.”
Although Hadley has owned many small animals, she said she is looking forward to the challenge that large animals will present when she establishes a career as a veterinarian.
“Taking care of small animals is important but I want something that will give me a thrill when I wake up each morning,” she said.
Hadley heard about Tuskegee University’s Vet-Step Program when she began a computer search for a program that would offer training as a veterinarian. “When the Vet-Step Program came up, I analyzed it and decided to apply,” she said.
This was Hadley’s first time being accepted into a structured veterinary program. “There was a lot to learn,” she said, “and we were exposed to a different professor each day who lectured on diverse careers in the veterinary field. We went into microbiology, anatomy, treatment procedures, and hands-on projects. It was fun — disgusting at times, but fun.”
Hadley plans to continue her training to become a veterinarian while in high school and after she graduates. She wants to apply to the Vet-Step 2 Program before graduating high school and eventually earn a bachelor’s degree from the veterinary program at Tuskegee, Hampton or Auburn Universities.
I will study much harder if I am accepted into the Vet-Step 2 Program,” she said. “Rumor has it that it’s no joke.”
To sum up her week-long experience learning veterinary science, Hadley puts it this way: “Vet-Step was actually an inspiration and a step toward the career that I want to have. It has helped motivate me to perform better in my classes.”