Rebekah Devins, Lumbee, DVM, was a sophomore in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Michigan State University at the time this profile was written.
Working Hard to Be a Veterinarian
Devins grew up with many pets and with a role model who loved animals - her mother. Devins' interest in veterinary medicine was further piqued when she was 7 and her family moved to the farm of close friends (“aunt” and “uncle”) who owned 6 horses. She says, “Watching my uncle, a retired equine veterinarian, care for his horses and listening to him talk about his profession inspired me to become a veterinarian.”
“I was a good student,” Devins continues. “I knew if I wasn’t, I’d be in big trouble when I got home. I like the sciences and had a good biology teacher. When I got to Michigan State, I knew I wanted to be a vet, but I didn’t know what major to take. I picked zoology because it had something to do with animals.”
“In my sophomore year of college, I took my first animal science course and fell in love with large animals, particularly the food and production aspect of agriculture. I switched my major to animal science. I worked with a PhD student who was doing her theses on dairy cattle. Every day I was able to go to the dairy farm. I learned how to draw and handle blood. I fell in love with dairy cattle. I also volunteered for a small animal vet in my hometown.
“Every year they tell you what the mean GPA of the new class in vet school is. It was always around 3.8, so I knew there was no messing around. I had to do well. I lived at home and commuted back and forth. I’m an only child and had a room to myself, so I could usual study in quiet. My junior year I applied and got into the vet school at Michigan State.”
Devins skipped the traditional fourth year of college, but received her bachelors in veterinary science at the end of her first year of veterinary school. When she completes her basic education, she will have had three years of undergraduate education and four years of veterinary school. At that time, she will receive her doctorate in veterinary medicine. Rebekah likes both small and food animals, so in time she wants to have her own mixed animal practice.
This article was originally published in the Autumn 2002 issue of Winds of Change. (The cover artist is Virginia Stroud, United Keetoowah Bank of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma.)