MONTICELLO, Arkansas -- In today's world, higher education is becoming increasingly important to succeed in any field. Veterinarian medicine is no exception, with the coursework being rigorous and demanding. However, students can get a head start on this challenging coursework by taking college-level classes in high school.
Two students from the University of Arkansas at Monticello , Codie Jo Tupa of Sparkman and Katelynn Lewis (of Beekman, LA), have benefited from taking college-level courses while in high school. Both have been accepted to veterinary schools. Tupa is considering her options between Louisiana State University and the University of Missouri. Lewis has been accepted and enrolled at Louisiana State University. Tupa and Lewis are only in their third year at UAM in the College of Forestry, Agriculture, and Natural Resources but will graduate as academic seniors in May.
Tupa knew she wanted to be a veterinarian since childhood, so she has been preparing for this path for a long time. The University of Arkansas at Monticello has provided her with various opportunities, such as working with large animals like cattle and sheep. She credits Dr. Rocky Lindsey, an associate professor of Animal Science at UAM, for helping her through the process. Lindsey has been a great mentor, and Tupa says he has answered a thousand questions in the past two semesters alone.
Tupa is quick to credit her parents. Sacrifices have been made to get Tupa to veterinary school. "I have a brother that's in medical school. I grew up on a farm. If my mom could have every kind of animal, she would." She loves all the weird animals we have, including little mini donkeys, chickens, ducks, and cattle. She now wants a peacock and an emu," said Tupa. She credits her interest in animals to her mentor Harry Clemons. He owns LiL h Quarter Horses.
Tupa noted, "he's probably the main reason that I'm becoming a vet. He allowed me to follow my dream of riding and caring for horses." Tupa helps take care of about 40 horses for Clemons.
Tupa is particularly interested in breeding cattle with artificial insemination and embryo transfers. She has also been working on calf castrations and is interested in Dr. Lindsey's work researching a drug called flunixin meglumine. The drug is given to help reduce pain and aid animals in gaining weight. Tupa said her ideal job is to be a veterinarian specializing in horses and large animals. Not coincidentally, Tupa has spent the last three years on the UAM Rodeo Team. Tupa said, "College rodeo is different from high school rodeo because these are thetoughest rodeo athletes competing against one another. The horses and riders are top-notch, and there is no slacking at the rodeo or in practice. It has been an amazing experience, and I couldn't have done it without a coach as encouraging and helpful as Rusty Jones."
Tupa has maximized her time at UAM by joining several clubs, including the Pre-Vet Club, the Cattleman's Club, and the Collegiate Farm Bureau club. She is also involved with the Baptist Collegiate Ministry. Tupa has gone on two trips to Belize with pre-vet associate professor Dr. Rocky Lindsey and 35 others involved with Christian Veterinary Missionary, where she learned how to spay and neuter animals. Tupa believes her overseas experience will give her an edge when she enters the job market.
Tupa credits her faith for leading her to her chosen path. Tupa believes that veterinary medicine is her calling and that she was led to UAM.