[Archived bio. For updates on Caroline, please check her LinkedIn profile, linked at the bottom of the page.]
From my first recollection of playing with our family cats, Jordan and Pippen, I knew I would dedicate my life to taking care of animals. I became a determined young girl with high dreams of becoming a veterinarian. Growing up in the western suburbs of Chicago, I spent much of my teenage years working at the humane society, taking Saturday classes at The Anti-Cruelty Society, and playing AAU basketball. Attending the University of Illinois for undergrad, I graduated with a degree in Animal Science. In my four years at the university, I had many opportunities for hands on learning relating to the food/animal industry. Whether it was as a member of the meats judging team, attending a cattle conference in Australia, being a teacher’s assistant for a dairy handling class, interning as a summer research assistant for a food company, or conducting a senior research project on dairy cattle, I was fortunate to learn many lessons outside the classroom.
The ‘plan’ to graduate and go directly into vet school slowed down a bit my sophomore year, as I tried to balance being a sorority president and a tough science load. Once the term was over in January of junior year, I became very involved in the dairy nutrition research labs. I loved the hard work, reminding me of my athlete days, and looked forward to being around the cows. Furthermore, the complexity and environment of the rumen fascinated me. Senior year, knowing I would have a year in between applying and hopefully starting vet school, I approached Dr. Cardoso for advice “on best ways to spend my gap year”.
My last semester as undergraduate was also my first semester as a graduate student in Dr. Cardoso’s Dairy Focus Lab. I have successfully submitted my veterinary applications and will be waiting to hear back this spring. In the meantime, I have been conducting research, working towards publishing my findings, and ultimately earning my advanced degree. The rumen still fascinates me today and I am enjoying every opportunity I have to learn more about the dairy cow and how we can take better care of them. I am looking forward to the spring and what the future holds!