Sona Panchal ’20 could not ignore her love for zoological and exotic animal medicine while completing her preclinical studies at Ross Vet. Beyond caring for dogs and cats, her passion for birds, small mammals, wildlife, and reptiles evolved as she accelerated through the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) program.
When she learned that she would be able to gain experience in her zoo, exotic, wildlife rotations during her clinical year at North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine, she knew the stars were aligned.
“I was excited to be able to gain more experience in my area of interest for five months. Hands down, my exotics rotation was my favorite. We did some neat surgeries including one with a snake where we took out many retained eggs!”
For Sona, balancing her studies and her involvement in the community helped her to succeed in her program on the island and during her clinical year.
“Time management is very important, and it has helped me to succeed. Veterinary school is not easy and was extremely imperative to stay on top of your notes. I made sure I always had my notes done for classes so when it came time for exams it was not overwhelming. To this day, I remain proud to be a recipient of the Dean’s List Awards for three semesters.
I’m also involved in my community. While in high school, I learned Latin for four years and I can speak fluent Gujarati. I also understand Hindi - a skill that helps me when I volunteer periodically at a local Hindu temple in New Jersey!”
Sona shares that her background and experience on the island allowed her to embrace more diversity in her life.
“Our field can only further develop if we remain open to new cultures and people. I learned so much about the Kittitian culture during my time on the island. I am Indian American and always shared things about our tradition and my Hindu religion with my colleagues. I’m happy with what I was able to learn culturally and how my culture was embraced.”
Sona is preparing to start her experience as an exotic and small animal veterinarian close to her hometown in Northern New Jersey. It’s an opportunity that she remains excited about.