I graduated from Vincent Massey in 2006 with Honours. Upon admittance to Brandon University in the fall of 2006 I received the Brandon University Board of Governors Entrance scholarship. After that year I was placed on the honours list. The following year I left university and worked. I returned in the fall of 2008 to pursue an undergraduate degree in the biomedical stream with a Zoology Major and a Chemistry Minor. I received my second honours recognition for my 2009-2010 academic year. In the fall of 2010, my final year, I was awarded the James A. McLeod Memorial scholarship. I hope to graduate this year.
Tell me about yourself / your background / your history.
I was born and raised in Brandon, living just outside the city limits on an acreage. I was a very active child competing in gymnastics at a pre-national level and receiving many awards especially with regards to floor and beam where I excelled. After leaving gymnastics I immediately took up Tae Kwon-Do where I competed and trained to the level of Red belt. Soccer then became a major interest in my life. From grade seven until grade eleven, I competed at recreational, travel, and provincial levels. Participating in a team sport and being involved with different teams introduced a whole new dynamic to my sport experience. Each level was important for personal growth. I found the team aspect very different from my previous sports which were for the most part very individualistic. Some of my fondest memories are from my soccer years and the unbelievable experiences that were shared between myself and my teammates.
Pets have always been an integral part of our family. My little beasties sometimes feel like my children! I can’t imagine not having animals in my life. We have had turtles (two), guinea pigs, multiple dogs (Terra, Simba & Skye), a couple of outdoor cats, and for the last twelve years, a rescue iguana (Iggy). Skye and Iggy are living today. Skye, an Airedale terrier (about 60 lbs.) and bred to hunt, and Iggy (4.5 foot long, 6 lbs) have reached a tentative truce…. Iggy will chase Skye until I save her. Not much of a truce really. . .
How did you become interested in your field of study?
I was planning on pursuing medicine until quite recently when I decided to volunteer at some of the local veterinary clinics and the Westman Reptile Gardens. I don’t know how else to put it other than I feel in love with the work. I realized after working at the veterinary clinics and the Gardens that that is where I belong. When considering Medicine I never felt drawn to it as I now feel towards the field of Veterinary Medicine. So this year ,instead of applying to Medicine, I have applied to the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
To this end I have also enrolled in a study-abroad program called Vets in the Wild. This is a three week program run out of the University of Pretoria, South Africa. It is designed for students and anyone else who wants to learn about wildlife conservation and veterinary work in Africa. This will be an unbelievable experience which will finally allow me to fulfill one of my longtime wishes…. TRAVEL!
What is your philosophy in life?
Balance. It’s hard when you are focused on studies to take time to actually go out and experience life. Many students especially in heavily textbook oriented disciplines spend an unbelievable amount of time in places like the library. I think it’s important, no, vital to expand and allow yourself the freedom to go and experience new things when you have the chance and ability to do so. This summer will finally give me the opportunity to gain some real life / world experience.
Where do you see yourself in the future?
Its murky and unclear just like everyone else’s! This summer I have my trip to South Africa to look forward to, as well as a trip to Scotland with my mother to visit family (another first for me, and a second travel opportunity all in one summer!).
Hopefully my vet application goes well and I can start my studies again in this fall. If not, I’m not 100% sure where my year will take me. I will likely be seeking employment in a job that will hopefully expand my knowledge in the field of veterinary medicine and make me a more successful applicant. Whether that work will be in Brandon or somewhere else I can’t say. Right now, I’m just going to focus on surviving this semester with my marks intact and I’ll see where that takes me.
Kristen is an energetic and eclectic personality. She is a superior student academically, who spends long hours and boundless energy on task. Kristen is an athlete of note in local soccer leagues. While maintaining excellent grades, Kristen also serves as an executive member of the Brandon University Zoological Society, and finds time to tutor first year Anatomy and Physiology students, and be a Teaching Assistant in biology labs. Kristen is a vet school hopeful.