Featured Students

Featured Students

  • Student Success: Conner Van Dyken


    Conner Van DykenConner Van Dyken, currently a second year veterinary student in the WIMU Regional Program in Veterinary Medicine, is interested in pursuing private practice in general large animal medicine. It is hard to pinpoint whether it was the litter of puppies his household raised during his childhood or the family’s multigenerational history in beef and dairy production that cultivated his interest in animals. Regardless of the cause, his fascination and enjoyment of animals started at a young age when his first dream job was becoming an animal trainer. As he grew up, his experiences with large animals motivated him to pursue a career in veterinary medicine. He graduated from Montana State University with a degree in Animal Science and certification through the MSU Leadership Fellows Program. He is currently serving as co-president of the WSU Christian Veterinary Fellowship and is an active member of Theriogenology Club and Agricultural Animal Club. After graduating in 2021, Conner plans on returning to his rural Montana roots in order to serve livestock producers and horse owners but is also open to seeing what other opportunities may be in store for him. For recreation, he enjoys spending time cooking, baking, playing volleyball, and most any activity outdoors.




  • Student Success: Nicholas Lani


    Nicholas LaniNicholas Lani (’21 DVM) a second year veterinary student at Washington State University, is interested in Equine Surgery. Originally from Nevada, Nicholas has always known that he wanted to become a veterinarian. During his undergraduate degree at the University of Nevada, Reno he started working at an equine hospital and it just further sparked his desire even more. Nicholas applied a year early for veterinary school and when he got accepted, he sent his first year of credits from WSU back to UNR and graduated with a bachelors of veterinary science. As a WSU veterinary student, he works in the teaching hospital and takes after hour on call as well. He also serves as the treasurer for the orthopedics and sports medicine club at WSU. When he graduates in 2021, Nicholas plans to pursue an equine internship and then possibly a surgical residency. When he gets some spare time, he spends as much of it as possible hunting, hiking, and exploring wilderness areas far away from lots of people.




  • Student Success: Sarah Hefferan


    Sarah HefferanSarah Hefferan (’21 DVM), is a second-year veterinary student at Washington State University, interested in shelter medicine and feline medicine. Originally from Tucson, Arizona, her passion for veterinary medicine began through volunteering in the medical clinic at a local animal shelter. She received a bachelor’s degree in Physiology from the University of Arizona before continuing on in the DVM program at WSU. At WSU, Sarah is the fundraising chair for the Feline Club and is a member of the Shelter Medicine Club and Pathology Club. She also serves as a student representative for the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association (HSVMA) and is involved with a research project regarding the pathology of feline kidney disease. Sarah was the recipient of the Sandra Ballantine Scholarship in 2017 and the Betty J. Jones & the Cassius Cat Foundation Scholarship in 2018. In addition to her studies at WSU, Sarah is pursuing a graduate certificate in Shelter Medicine from the University of Florida. When she graduates in 2021, Sarah plans to pursue a shelter medicine internship with the hope of achieving board certification in the future. In her free time, she enjoys taking photos, playing soccer, and hanging out with her cat, Storm.




  • Student Success: Natalie Hurst


    StudentProfileNatalieHurstNatalie Hurst (’21 DVM) a second year veterinary student at Washington State University is interested in pathology and infectious disease research. Natalie grew up on a small cattle ranch in Central Washington and become interested in the field of veterinary medicine while working with local ranchers and veterinarians. While obtaining her bachelor’s degree in Animal Science, she worked on a research project and discovered her passion for science and nontraditional veterinary medicine. As a WSU veterinary student, she is a member of the Research Scholars Program and received a College of Veterinary Medicine Summer Fellowship in 2018. Her project on cold sterile tray use and bacterial contamination rates was funded by Pet Smart Charities to be presented at the National Veterinary Student Scholars program at Texas A&M. She is also a member of the Veterinary Business Management Association and the Pathology Club at WSU. Upon graduation, Natalie hopes to be accepted into an anatomic pathology residency with a combined PhD program. Through this further training she hopes to enter industry or academia as a pathologist contributing to infectious disease research and prevention. In her time outside of school, Natalie enjoys cooking and adventuring with her Border Collie puppy, Kiwi.




  • Student Success: Zach Houghtaling


    StudentProfileZachHoughtalingZach Houghtaling (’21 DVM), a second year veterinary student at Washington State University is interested in small animal and aquatic medicine. Born in Oregon, Zach was raised just north of Seattle in Edmonds, Washington. Growing up raising cats, dogs, and bunnies, along with finding a passion for science in high school, veterinary medicine was his perfect career choice. He attended the University of Washington, studying Aquatic and Fishery Sciences with a focus on aquaculture, and working at a small animal VCA clinic in Seattle to build up experience for WSU. Now a veterinary student, Zach recently married his high school sweetheart, Priya, and the two of them live together in Pullman with their two young cats. For the last year and a half, Zach has worked in the pharmacy and anesthesia departments at the WSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital. He also helped form the WSU Aquatics Club this past year and currently is on the board for the group. This past summer, Zach received the Betty J. Jones and Cassius Cat Foundation scholarship for the current 2018 school year. Outside of veterinary school, Zach is passionate about sports, hiking, and riding motorcycles. Following graduation in 2021, he and his wife plan to move to Hawaii where he will explore Oahu and gain small animal experience to start off his veterinary career.




  • Student Success: Madeline Nehls


    StudentProfileMadelineNehlsMadeline Nehls (’21 DVM), a second-year veterinary student at Washington State University, is interested in small animal medicine. Madeline grew up in Gallatin Gateway, Montana where her interest in veterinary medicine began after shadowing a small animal veterinarian in high school. She went on to earn her bachelor’s degree in Animal Science from Oklahoma State University before applying to the WIMU Regional Program. Madeline serves as the Montana Class President, WSU CVM Aquatics Club Montana Representative, and is an active member in the Veterinary Business Management Association, WSU CVM Shelter Medicine Club, and WSU CVM Dental Club. When she graduates in 2021, Madeline plans to return home to Montana and work at a small animal veterinary hospital. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family, fly fishing, skiing, and hiking with her Labrador retriever, Bodee.




  • Student Success: Katherine Sussman


    Student Profile Katherine SussmanKatherine Sussman (‘21 DVM), a second year veterinary student at Washington State University, is interested in mixed animal practice. Katherine grew up in Idaho Falls, ID, where her interest in veterinary medicine began in an anatomy class in high school. She received her bachelor’s degrees in Animal and Veterinary Science and Biological Sciences from the University of Idaho before attending veterinary school at WSU. Katherine was initially interested only in small animal medicine, but while she was completing her undergraduate degree, she gained an appreciation for production animal medicine. Currently, she is equally passionate about small and large animal medicine, and is determined to practice in both areas of interest. As a veterinary student, she serves as WSU’s delegate to the Student American Veterinary Medical Association and the president-elect for WSU’s Emergency and Critical Care club. She took the Summer Agricultural Animal Medicine elective rotation at the WSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital after her first year, and is an active member of the Veterinary Business Management Association. When she graduates in 2021, Katherine plans to work at a mixed animal practice in the western states, and hopes to eventually return to practice in her home state of Idaho. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking and camping with her yellow lab, Taffy, and spending time with her family.




  • Student Success: James Schmidt


    Student Profile James SchmidtJames Schmidt (’21 DVM), a second year vet student at Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine, is interested in small animal veterinary medicine (especially cats). James grew up in a family with 8 older siblings and many animals, which cultivated his interest in becoming a veterinarian at a young age. James has lived in Oregon, Michigan, and most recently Montana. In 2017, he received a bachelor’s degree in Biology at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, and while there he met his wife, Rachel. All of this has now prepared him to pursue his dream in becoming a veterinarian through the WSU veterinary program. As a WSU veterinary student, James is involved in many campus organizations such as Veterinary Business Management Association (VBMA), Shelter Medicine Club, and Feline Club to further his career as a small animal medicine practitioner. James also works in the Small Animal Intensive Care Unit at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital where he continues to gain experience in small animal medicine. He was the recipient of the Betty J. Jones & the Cassisus Cat Foundation Scholarship in 2018. When he graduates in 2021, James plans to move to Utah with his little family and begin life as a small animal practitioner. There, his wife plans to continue her education and pursue a master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. James and his wife enjoy spending time together hiking, running, swimming, and camping.




  • Student Success: McKenna Thompson


    Student Profile McKenna ThompsonMcKenna Thompson (’20 DVM) is a third year veterinary student, interested in mixed animal practice. She is from Flagstaff, Arizona where she obtained BS and MS degrees in biomedical sciences and genetics from Northern Arizona University. McKenna firmly cemented her passion for veterinary medicine while working as a veterinary technician in a mixed animal practice. As a WSU veterinary student, she is the treasurer for WSU Veterinary Business Management Association (VBMA) and a student representative for the Nestle Purina Feeding Program. She additionally works in the teaching hospital pharmacy where she is able to interact directly with clinicians, fourth year students, and clients while learning about pharmacology. After graduation, McKenna ultimately plans to have her own mixed animal practice. In her spare time, she enjoys reading with her Pug and cat snuggled next to her, running with her German Shepherd, and taking long drives with her husband, Luke.




  • Student Success: Emily Munday


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    Emily Munday (DVM ’20) is in her third year of veterinary school at Washington State University and is pursuing a career in aquatic veterinary medicine. Originally from Butte, Montana, Emily studied marine biology at Boston University and earned her master’s in environmental science from Washington State University. She became interested in aquatic veterinary medicine when she had the opportunity to collaborate with a clinical fish veterinarian and a veterinary pathologist while conducting her master’s thesis research on fish health in the ornamental aquarium trade.

    At WSU, Emily founded and serves as President of the Aquatic Veterinary Medicine Club, and participates in the Wildlife Disease Association, Pathology Club, ZEW Club, and Broad Spectrum VOICE Club activities. Emily was the recipient of the American Association of Fish Veterinarians 2017 Student Scholarship, completed the Aqua Vet I course, and is always seeking opportunities to build her knowledge and experiences in fish veterinary medicine. When she graduates in 2020, Emily hopes to work in aquaculture or with fish hatcheries. Her black lab mutt River, golden retriever Vito, 3-legged tabby Legolas, and partner Vinnie support Emily in her educational pursuits and keep her happy and busy outside of vet school. Emily enjoys anything outdoors, especially cross-country skiing with River, Vinnie, and her family in Montana.