Megan Tyrrell, DVM ‘23, Wins North Carolina State University’s Donald R. Howard Award

Aug 14, 2023
Megan Tyrrell

One month prior to her graduation from Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine (Ross Vet), Megan Tyrrell, DVM ‘23, was among the honorees in attendance at North Carolina State University’s 39th Annual College of Veterinary Medicine Awards Ceremony. There to accept the Donald R. Howard Award for Surgical Excellence, Dr. Tyrrell’s natural enthusiasm for her education and development as a veterinarian culminated in a prestigious recognition among peers during her clinical training.

“Ross Vet sets us up well for anything that could come our way in our clinical year,” said Dr. Tyrrell. “We’re all proactive in our learning and are just here to do our best, ask everything that we can, and take advantage of every opportunity available so I could look back on this year knowing I did everything I could during the time we have in rotations.”

After students at Ross Vet complete their preclinical core curriculum in St. Kitts, they spend the next three semesters at one of 29 affiliated AVMA-accredited schools of veterinary medicine in the United States, Canada, Ireland, United Kingdom, or New Zealand. Students spend 45 weeks completing core rotations and a variety of electives and externships to continue gaining exposure to diverse skill sets across various specializations in clinical settings.

“It’s nerve-wracking at first, but as the rotations move on, I became more comfortable,” Dr. Tyrrell recalled of her clinical experience. The Donald R. Howard Award represents the outstanding achievements for which she was recognized by her educators and peers. Her surgical prowess was noticed often through her equine castration lab and various opportunities throughout rotations in the hospital an externship with a spay and neuter clinic in Southern Pines, North Carolina, and castration labs in her specialty field – equine general practice.

“I was comfortable and confident in everything I was asked to do. I could go with the flow and know what I was doing with confidence in my skills.”

Dr. Tyrrell’s journey to veterinary medicine began at the University of Kentucky where she studied animal science and biology. Long before then, she grew up in Milford, New Hampshire where her neighbors raised horses and was fortunate to eventually own her own horses and compete them all throughout the eastern United States. “I always loved horses and always had the dream of being a veterinarian,” she recalled. “I was very excited to be able to bring my two passions together."

She’s quick to admit being able to bring her own horse with her to Kentucky was a big part of the decision to enroll there, but wherever she was, her sole focus was on working to become a veterinarian. She competed for the University Eventing Team and was a working student for Alexandra Knowles Eventing in Lexington after she graduated. She intended to apply to U.S. schools for veterinary school, but Ross Vet’s location in the Caribbean caught the attention of the traveler in her and brought her to St. Kitts to see a new part of the world while she pursued her dream.

Now that she’s graduated, she leaves with fond memories of the friendships she made and what she and her peers were able to accomplish together.

“I had an amazing group of friends, and we would not have gotten through school without each other. We always pushed each other as study buddies as much as we did to have free time and have fun together. That was a super important part of my education to have an outlet and so many different things to do on the island.”

Though her clinical experience culminated in an award for surgical excellence, Dr. Tyrrell’s intended field is equine general practice. After rotations, she will start an equine general practice internship and will remain in North Carolina for the next year. She has not ruled out a potential residency down the road, but no matter where the journey continues, Dr. Tyrrell is appreciative of the opportunity she has to begin her career as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine with the education she received at Ross Vet and North Carolina State.

“It was difficult living so far away during the pandemic, but the experience was unmatched. I was surrounded by amazing peers, taught by highly experienced doctors, and learned more than I ever thought possible."

Learn more about the clinical year at Ross Vet here.

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