Zoetis colleague Dr. Christine Jenkins became the first-ever commencement speaker for the Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine (TUCVM) earlier this month. The college held its inaugural stand-alone graduation ceremony on May 6, 2017 with 66 graduates in attendance.

Advice for New Veterinary Graduates
Dr. Jenkins received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) from TUCVM and used the opportunity to speak to the class of 2017 about what she wished she had known when she graduated veterinary school. She shared five key points of advice with the students.

  1. There are many career paths from graduation. Highlighting the array of opportunities for veterinarians, Dr. Jenkins encouraged the graduates to be open to the many and varied paths they will encounter in their careers, and for which they are well-prepared. 

  2. Seek as many experiences as possible. She encouraged students to get as much clinical experience as they can in their early years in the profession, take on challenging cases that others avoid, and to learn to be comfortable saying “I don’t know.”

  3. Learn to manage a business and finances. With many veterinarians in the U.S. graduating school with a large amount of debt, Dr. Jenkins stressed the importance of personal financial management. She also encouraged graduates to learn business skills that will help them throughout their career and to utilize the resources available to them, such as through the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). 

  4. Stay well. She also spoke to the graduates about the importance of their own physical and mental wellness, especially in the veterinary profession, a field similar to other health professions with increased risk of mental illness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention1. 

  5. Foster your veterinary connections. Dr. Jenkins’ final piece of advice was to nurture the relationships made at ‘Mother Tuskegee,’ and those the students will cultivate over the years. This was a personally meaningful message for Dr. Jenkins as she stood on stage among professors, fellow alumni and mentors who have greatly inspired her throughout her career.

Presidential Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient
In addition to delivering the commencement address, Dr. Jenkins was also presented with the Presidential Distinguished Alumni Award among three other outstanding TUCVM graduates.

Dr. Christine Jenkins is the Chief Medical Officer for Zoetis U.S. Operations. In her role, she oversees the Veterinary Medical Information Product Support (VMIPS) team (a group of customer-focused veterinary professionals), Academic and Professional Affairs (APA), and Outcomes Research (OR).


In photo above: Dr. Christine Jenkins (right) is joined at the TUCVM graduation by Dr. Willie Reed (left), Zoetis Board Member and Dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Purdue University and Zoetis Board Member, and Dr. Ruby Perry (center), Dean of the TUCVM.

1 http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6405a6.htm Accessed May 4, 2017.