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Meet the Class of 2021
Tuesday, August 22 2017
What do a Carnegie Hero Award recipient, a football kicker, and an Army medic have in common?
They are members of the class of 2021 at Oklahoma State University’s Center for Veterinary Health Sciences. Summer White, Seth Hiddink, and Koty Forbes are among the 106 students who recently began their journey to earn a DVM degree, the largest class in the history of OSU’s nearly 70 year old veterinary medicine program.
White from Edmond, Okla., earned a biomedical degree from the University of Central Oklahoma. She grew up as a show groom and primarily took care of the horses.
“I remember one day I was wrapping a horse’s leg that had a really nasty cut and I thought this is what I want to do. I love this,” said White. “I picked Oklahoma State because I feel like the people are really passionate; they drive me to do better myself all the time. And they’re just really excited about this career and this path and that’s what kind of environment I wanted to be in.”
To prepare for her career in veterinary medicine, White did an internship at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
“It was a completely different side of veterinary medicine that I had never seen before. It was nice to see the great lengths that they go to protect our country from disease,” added White.
She also spent time at alumna Dr. Anna Coffin’s veterinary clinic in Guthrie, Okla.
“It was a homey environment and she was really good about making her clients feel welcome,” stated White. “She was a really good vet overall but I feel like the most important part was communicating with the clients.”
White earned the prestigious Carnegie Hero Award after coming upon a really bad traffic accident involving a mother and her two sons. White heroically moved the boys to safety and tried to move the mother out of harm’s way when she and the victim were struck by an oncoming vehicle. Unfortunately the mother did not make it but White and the boys survived.
Hiddink is from Wylie, Texas. He knew he wanted to work with animals and spent time with different mentors at sanctuaries, animal shelters and veterinary clinics before coming to OSU. While earning his undergraduate degree at UCO, he was the place kicker on their football team.
“Being a student athlete was a huge privilege,” said Hiddink. “I’m so glad I had the opportunity to do it. I gained a lot of experience in working hard every day. Showing up when I’m really tired and being able to do things when I’m just exhausted – I think it really prepared me for my DVM program.”
“I picked Oklahoma State because it seemed like a good fit and it was close to my family in Texas,” added Hiddink.
Forbes grew up in Palmer, Neb. About eight years ago he realized he wanted to pursue a career in the medical field and joined the Army National Guard becoming a medic. After much research, he decided veterinary medicine was the path for him.
“There was a plethora of events and people that helped me come to that decision,” explained Forbes. “One Saturday I was working when my father-in-law called me from his veterinary clinic across the street. He was doing an emergency C-section and needed extra hands to resuscitate some of the pups. So I ran across the street and just started helping. It was my first hands-on experience in veterinary medicine.
“Stillwater is a great place to live,” continued Forbes. “More importantly, Oklahoma State doesn’t seem to emphasize any particular animal species. They encompass every animal species so it’s going to really help me to determine where I want to focus further on in my career.”
Joining the Army National Guard gave Forbes the opportunity to pay for his undergraduate degree and to further his education in pursuing a DVM degree. He plans to join the Army Veterinary Corps later on.
“Something the Army has trained all soldiers to do very well is deal with stress,” added Forbes. “We live in stressful situations every day in uniform. I think that’s really going to help prepare me for the rigorous scholastic requirements that earning a DVM is going to put on anybody’s shoulders. So definitely handling stress is a big key that I’ve been prepared to do.”
As these students begin their four-year journey to become an OSU Cowboy veterinarian, they have mixed emotions.
“I’m really excited and, of course, nervous a little,” said White. “It’s a big step in my life but I’m ready to get started.”
“I’m feeling kind of nervous but definitely excited,” echoed Hiddink.
“I’m feeling like I am living in a dream world. I’m very honored and excited to be here,” added Forbes.
The class of 2021 is comprised of 58 Oklahoma residents and 48 non-residents representing Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Massachusetts, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Toronto, Canada.
In case you missed it, watch the full Class of 2021 Induction Ceremony on Facebook.