According to the American Veterinary Medical Association’s (AVMA) latest economic reporting, about 27% of graduating survey respondents new graduates secured positions to continue their education through an internship, residency, master’s, and doctoral programs. Pursuing these opportunities comes strongly recommended by the AVMA, especially for those students seeking career advancement in veterinary specialties.
DR. BRITTANI D'AMICO
Brittani D’Amico, DVM, ’19 and Isaiah Wardsworth, DVM, ’20 graduated from Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine one year apart, but both have found their paths after graduation intersecting at New York City’s prestigious Schwarzman Animal Medical Center (AMC), the world’s largest nonprofit animal hospital with over 120 veterinarians providing the highest quality medical care across more than 20 specialties and services. Drs. D’Amico and Wardsworth are among a group of eight Ross Vet alumni that have all continued their veterinary education at AMC.
“AMC is a really strong program,” said Dr. D’Amico, a third-year neurology resident. “The diversity and volume of cases has allowed me to feel confident in a wide range of neurologic diseases. I am lucky that I get to fine tune my skills and just practice being a neurologist as I enter into my final year of residency.”
Dr. D’Amico came to Ross Vet from the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada where she studied zoology and bioscience. Veterinary medicine was not something that she immediately pursued, but the medical field was somewhere she knew she always wanted to be thanks to her parents’ careers as chiropractors. It was not until she was in college where the coursework in zoology seemed much more interesting than any other field of study. She would join the pre-veterinary club with a couple of friends and began volunteering at animal clinics and hospitals to supplement her academic studies.
DR. ISAIAH WARDSWORTH
At the opposite end of one’s veterinary dream beginning, Dr. Wardsworth knew he wanted to be a veterinarian from the very first time someone asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up. “Nothing happened. There is no amazing story of me saving an animal or having a pet that was a big inspiration. It is what I have always known I wanted to do. I think I was just born to do it,” said Dr. Wardsworth, who will start this summer as a first-year emergency and critical care resident after first completing his rotating internship at AMC.
His academic training goes back to the University of Louisiana-Lafayette where he majored in animal science, but continuing education even beyond Ross Vet is something he has never grown tired of.
“It has honestly been life-changing to end up at an institution like AMC for my internship and be able to stay for residency. I think long term so many doors will be open just simply by saying this is where my postgraduate training has been and having been mentored by some of the smartest veterinarians in the country is amazing. There is always something to learn here.”
Although a larger percentage of new graduates go straight into practice, both Drs. D’Amico and Wardsworth believe veterinary students should consider postgraduate training to advance their career and skillset. In fact, both were originally part of the larger percentage that went into practice, coincidentally both as Emergency Room veterinarians back in their respective homes of Calgary and New Orleans, Louisiana. “Working overnight in the ER for six months was probably the most terrifying thing to date that I have ever done in veterinary medicine because I was just kind of by myself and had to fly by the seat of my pants learning and treating at the same time,” said Dr. D’Amico
“I have always wanted to be a specialist and am driven to be a successful member of this field. A collaborative working environment is essential for veterinary medicine, and I look forward to working with and educating local referral veterinarians on this specialty in the future.” To pursue neurology as her specialty, Dr. D’Amico left the ER in Calgary and was accepted to the University of Tennessee’s rotating internship program prior to matching with AMC’s neurology program.
For Dr. Wardsworth, he already had one year of a rotating internship at AMC before it came time to apply to the match program for AMC’s emergency and critical care residency. His academic training goes back to the University of Louisiana-Lafayette where he majored in animal science, but continuing education even beyond Ross Vet is something he has never grown tired of. “Doing both a rotating internship and residency comes down to a personal decision, and I always want to keep learning and keep going further,” said Dr. Wardsworth. “I liked working in private practice, but I kept thinking to myself this is not enough, this cannot be it. Tthere was so much more for me to learn and so that is what drove me to apply. There are so few minority veterinarians, and it is important for me now becoming a specialist to be able to bring representation for African Americans and minorities to the forefront.”
As Drs. D’Amico and Wardsworth can demonstrate from their own journeys into veterinary medicine, no two paths are the same. Both will tell you that extending your education is hard, long, and lots of work, but the right motivation and passion for bettering themselves and the veterinary field are more than enough fuel to commit to postgraduate training.