Penguins, horses, whales, and reptiles—graduates of Washington College’s pre-veterinary program are doctoring a lot more than cats and dogs.
Lauren Marini ’02 didn’t know Allison Tuttle ’98 while she was studying biology at Washington College with intentions of becoming a veterinarian. But she knew of her.
“I knew her name very well when I was in school at Washington College. She was kind of my trailblazer,” Marini says. “But I had never met her until I moved up here.”
Here is Providence, Rhode Island, where Marini is now a specialist in neurology at Ocean State Veterinary Specialists. One state over, in Connecticut, Tuttle is director of animal care at Mystic Aquarium, and the two WAC alums have now worked together a few times on cases pertinent to both of their specialties. For instance, Marini says, Tuttle’s team has had to send some of the aquarium’s penguins to Marini for MRIs.
They are just two examples of the small but powerful pre-veterinary program based in the College’s premedical track that has turned out students who’ve attended some of the nation’s top veterinary programs—Cornell for Marini, North Carolina State for Tuttle, UPenn and Tufts for other graduates.
After studying biology and psychology at WAC, Marini went on to four years of veterinary school at Cornell. She followed that with a one-year internship in small animal medicine at Washington State University, and a three-year residency in neurology at the Veterinary Neurological Center in Phoenix.
“I focus on anything to do with the brain and the spinal cord and nerves,” she says. “So with small animals that’s going to be seizures, spinal trauma, disc ruptures, those kinds of things.”
Tuttle graduated from WAC and headed immediately for North Carolina State University where she earned her DVM, then did a post-graduate internship at Mystic Aquarium. After returning to NC State for her residency, Tuttle’s mentor at Mystic, preparing to retire, asked Tuttle if she’d like to come back to Connecticut to take over the job.
“The mentorship of Kate Verville was amazing,” Tuttle says of the chair of the College’s premedical committee and an associate professor of biology. “She got me into job shadowing at a local veterinary hospital,” which helped her gain the hands-on experience she needed to apply to veterinary school.
Other recent grads of the program include Michelle Crosier ’94, who works at Lums Pond Animal Hospital in Bear, Del., and frequently supports WAC students by offering them job-shadowing opportunities at her hospital; Katie Laury ’12, who is now at UPenn’s School of Veterinary Medicine, Tonie Domino ’08, who graduated from Cornell and now practices large-animal veterinary medicine at Valley Equine Associates in Ranson, West Virginia; and Amy Peterson ’97, who graduated from Tufts University’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine and is a veterinary epidemiologist with the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center.