College of Agriculture & Natural Resources
Institute of Applied Agriculture

IAA Internship Stories: Victoria Bryant

Barbara Sikorski

Imagine being a college sophomore and performing a necropsy on a cat for course credit. Institute of Applied Agriculture student Victoria Bryant did just that, during her summer internship at Dunloggin Veterinary Hospital in Ellicott City, Maryland. Bryant is completing the final year of her two-year certificate in Agricultural Business Management, and will continue working toward a bachelor’s degree in Animal Science. After graduation, she plans to attend veterinary school.

A typical workday during her internship was very hands-on; but according to Bryant, she learns the most by accomplishing things herself. During the day, she cleaned cages in the kennel, tidied exam rooms between appointments, mopped floors, cleaned countertops and equipment, ran blood tests, observed surgeries, and helped restrain the animals during appointments. Although this may seem tedious to some, Bryant greatly enjoyed handling and working with the animals as well as socializing with their owners. When asked what her favorite part of the internship was, Bryant exclaimed, “Everything!”

Bryant’s supervisor, Melinda Vaccaro, took notice of her charisma and character and offered her consideration for a second internship. Vaccaro viewed Bryant as an “excellent intern that adjusted very well to the community,” where each person had an assigned job. 

In a veterinary office, surprises can happen at any moment on a given day. Since Dunloggin is not categorized as an emergency vet clinic, unexpected emergencies proved to be the most interesting part of Bryant's job. For example, one emergency resulted in the owners deciding to euthanize, or put down, their cat. During this troubling time, Bryant sympathized with the owners and understood the difficulty of making such a decision. Since the owners did not want the body, the hospital performed a necropsy, which is an autopsy performed on animals. The necropsy revealed that the cat’s lungs had been torn and its sternum was broken. Bryant said it was definitely a new kind of learning experience for her.

Bryant also described the different intensities of emergencies; they range from minor emergencies, such as animals eating objects they shouldn’t, to major emergencies, like animals having difficulty breathing. Bryant found the emergencies to be the most intriguing part of her internship experience.

The internship was tremendous in helping Bryant shape her future plans, and also furthered her passion for animal care and assisting those in need. For now, she has narrowed her focus to small animals and lab animals. She stated in her internship blog that “this [experience] will help me decide if I want to work with small animals in a clinic like [Dunloggin], or if I want to work with lab animals.” She plans to still keep in touch with her acquaintances at the hospital, because “networking is always a great idea."

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