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Class of 2018 Story: An Unforgettable Experience

Cathy Mittenson, class of 2018
Cathy Mittenson, class of 2018. Photos by John Joyner/NC State Veterinary Medicine

Name: Cathy Mittenson
Hometown: Durham
Focus: Equine medicine
Post-graduation plan: Large animal associate veterinarian

On the first day of vet school, I remember thinking, “this feels right.”

I had found my way back to my kindergarten career day goal of becoming a veterinarian. I was surrounded by classmates with similar passions and enthusiasm for science, not to mention a communal love for any and all things furry. I had found my people.

I am most thankful for my parents, who supported a love for animals from an early age. They allowed dogs, cats, birds and hamsters into the house and, against their fears and only with suitable protective padding, let me ride horses.

Throughout these formative years, I experienced the immense joy and heartbreaking loss that comes with being around animals. I also realized that I could enhance this human-animal bond through veterinary medicine.

Vet school has been the most gratifying and most arduous four years of my life. I have grown tremendously as a student, a professional and a person, thanks to my CVM family.

Cathy was also the recipient of the 2018 Equine Memorial Scholarship this past year.

From getting our bus stuck in the sand on a Cowabunga trip to post-finals Flying Biscuit runs and watching friends walk down the aisle, I am so grateful to NC State for the friends and memories that I will take away — not to mention my dog, Rigatoni, who happened to be my second-year surgery patient.

My advice for future classes is to embrace this experience the best that you can; recognize that vet school is really hard and is supposed to be hard. Reach out to those around you for help because they’re in the same boat. Get to know the faculty and seek out opportunities for mentorship.

And don’t be afraid to ask (what sometimes might feel like) stupid questions during clinics. And, most of all, enjoy your time here. It goes by way too fast.

  Cathy was the recipient of the 2018 Equine Memorial Scholarship this past year.

The $4,000 scholarship is awarded to a student passionate about equine veterinary medicine and is designed to help ease financial burden post-graduation. Mittenson plans to join the practice of 2013 CVM alum Nikki Schweizer, who runs Hickory-based Henry River Mobile Veterinary Services.

The scholarship is part of the Equine Memorial Program Fund, launched in 2015 by Southern Pines Equine Associates veterinarians James Hamilton and Thomas Daniel Jr. in coordination with the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Foundation.

The program is funded by participating veterinarians who donate to the NCVMF in memory of horse that was in their care. The scholarship part of the program was first awarded last year.

For more information about the Equine Memorial Fund program, contact the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Foundation here or call 919-513-6660.