Will Hehemann | School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences
Lizney Rudds, a May 2019 alumna of animal science at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB), was recently accepted into the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine. She will begin her studies at the university in August 2020.
“When we learned about my acceptance into the program, my parents were happy for me,” Rudds said. “My mom was especially excited since she knew I had been anxiously waiting for word from Purdue since my interview in February. My best friend was also ecstatic because she’s known this has been my dream since we were little girls and has always supported me.”
To some degree, Rudds already knows what to expect from her new academic surroundings. Following her graduation from UAPB, she participated in Purdue’s Vet Up! College Program, a six-week-long residential summer program at the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine designed to prepare students to be competitive in the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) applicant pool.
The funds for her travel and stay at Purdue University were provided through a collaborative grant between UAPB and Purdue University, which was funded by a U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture capacity building grant awarded to Dr. Jayant Lohakare, associate professor of animal science at UAPB and Rudds’ mentor.
Over the course of the Vet Up! Program, Rudds and her peers experienced a mixture of course work, exams and lab practice from all four years of the veterinary program. They received mentorship from faculty and current DVM students and also completed modules to increase awareness of cultural diversity and inclusion in the veterinary medical field.
“I was excited to learn of my acceptance at the university because Purdue has been my top choice since attending the program,” she said. “However, I still had a tough decision to make since I had also been accepted to Michigan State University. The deciding factors were the feelings of inclusiveness and belonging while at Purdue’s campus.”
After completing the Vet Up! Program, in September 2019, Rudds moved to Kalamazoo, Michigan and started working as a research technician at Charles River Laboratories. In this position, she learned a variety of clinical skills and different aspects of laboratory animal medicine.
“Since working at Charles River, I’ve really sparked an interest in laboratory animal medicine,” she said. “I’m not sure what career path I will choose for my future, but I do know that I want to use my time at Purdue to explore as many options as possible. I’ve missed the structure of academia. I look forward to learning more clinical skills and working more closely with a larger variety of animals.”
Rudds said she has been passionate about animals since she was a child.
“When it came time for me to pick my major, I only considered two paths – music and animals,” she said. “I chose to major in animal science because I felt it was the more practical option of the two and that it provided many different opportunities as far as what I can do with a veterinary degree.”
During her studies at UAPB, Rudds was one of eight students nationwide selected for the 2018 Extension Service Apprenticeship at Mississippi State University. She also participated multiple times in the annual International Production and Processing Expo in Atlanta, Georgia.
At UAPB, Rudds was a member of the Collegiate 4-H Club, Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences Club, STEM Scholars Academy, Carolyn F. Blakely Honors Program, Spirit Team, Vesper Choir and Sigma Alpha Iota International Music Fraternity.
The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff offers all of its Extension and Research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.
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