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Heather Walker

Heather Walker, senior Animal and Veterinary Science major, attained an internship with Cobb-Vantress Incorporated working on research and development.

How did you choose your major?

I chose AVS as my major because I wanted to develop a stronger bond between human health and animal health. I wanted to research ways to make the lives of animals better, which will in turn make our lives better.

Heather Walker headshot in front of Poole and green tree.

How did you attain the internship you had?

I went to the International Poultry and Processing Exposition in Atlanta, GA in January of 2016. At this expo I had the opportunity to interview for internships with different companies within the poultry industry. Cobb-Vantress, Inc. happened to be one of the internships I interviewed for, and they called me asking if I would like to work with their research and development department for the summer of 2016.

What is the biggest lesson you took away from your internship?

This internship experience gave me an inside look at the poultry industry and how important it is to the daily lives of many people. I learned that the poultry industry is a very unique field of food science and it is one that responds to the consumers' needs before any other meat-related field.

What is your dream job?

As of right now, my dream job is to become a veterinarian epidemiologist- an scientist that studies how diseases are spread throughout animal populations and even into human populations. Ultimately, I want to be able to protect the human population from harmful zoonotic diseases. After graduating from Clemson, I plan on going to veterinary school to get a DVM with a specialty in preventative medicine. From there, I would like to get a doctorate degree in microbiology.

Who in your field do you admire?

One person I admire is Dr. Jeryl Jones, an academic adviser for the Clemson AVS department. She has so much knowledge and experience from the many different roles she has taken on within the field of veterinarian medicine. Now she shares all her first-hand experiences with students so she can guide them in the right direction. One day, I hope to be able to pass down my knowledge and experiences to others and help teach them about the importance of the animal science field.

What is something you enjoy about outside of the classroom?

I am also very passionate about community service and getting other people involved in volunteering. I want everyone to know how important and necessary volunteering is, and I truly love helping others in need. I enjoy listening to and learning from people within my community, and I am happy to show them that they are valued members of the community.

Any advice to current or prospective students?

My advice would be to always keep your mind open to new opportunities and to never be afraid to join or start something new. You will never know where that opportunity may take you and how it can change the way you look at you future forever.

This has been edited for length and clarity.