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Biology Major to Study Veterinary Medicine at Purdue


When biology major Monica Vogel ’17 of Pittsfield, Mass., walked across the Commencement stage earlier this month, she knew exactly where her path will take her. This fall, she will attend the College of Veterinary Medicine at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., with the goal of returning to the Berkshires to open her own practice.

As a child, Vogel always had a pet at home with whom she connected, and since she was 10 she knew she wanted to work with dogs.  At age 14 she got a job at the Animal Inn, a large capacity kennel in Pittsfield, where she worked with as many as 90 dogs at a time.

“I walked them, fed them, medicated them, and quickly fell in love with the job,” she said. “I realized I could see myself doing this forever.”

At MCLA, Vogel went on to serve internships at the aquarium at the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, where she cared for exotic animals like fish, tarantulas, turtles, snakes and lizards. She served another internship as a veterinary assistant at Greylock Animal Hospital in nearby Williamstown, where her duties included prepping animals for surgery, and observing numerous procedures.

Still at Animal Inn, Vogel also works at the kennel at nearby Greylock Animal Hospital. “I am able to observe the veterinarians and technicians, and help them if needed. This job, along with the internship I served here, really solidified the idea of becoming a veterinarian for me. I always leave feeling inspired, excited and wanting to learn more.”

Her professors truly want her to succeed, Vogel said.

“There were always plenty of study sessions, office hours and other available hours for help outside of the classroom. Along with that, the professors were always very welcoming to questions, even if I saw them in the hall,” she explained. “I never felt as though I was on my own when I needed help.

“During class, I was always encouraged to ask as many questions as I needed, and to engage in activities,” Vogel continued. “Despite how challenging a class may have been, I always felt as though I had the resources to tackle it.”

MCLA, she said, helped her to become a scientist by teaching her the skills she will need for a successful medical career – such as good lab techniques, a thorough understanding of scientific articles, and the ability to analyze data.

In addition to her internships, jobs, and good grades, Vogel took advantage of a variety of high impact experiences on and off campus that made her a competitive applicant for vet school. This included serving as a LEAD Academy leader, and her membership in the National Residency Hall Honorary, which enhanced her leadership skills.

In spring 2016, she participated in the Alternative Spring Break trip to Belize, where she helped reconstruct a medical center in a small village, and spread awareness of HIV/AIDS. Her undergraduate research focused on olfactory learning in embryonic Zebrafish, which she presented at MCLA’s Undergraduate Research Conference.

She recommends MCLA to others because of the “endless opportunities” provided by the campus.

“There are not too many other places that are so devoted to student success,” Vogel said. “MCLA allows you to truly create your own path in life and leaves you with all of the tools you need to face the real world.”