Brenna Frawley has always known, in her heart, that she wants to be a veterinarian. However, a two-week camp earlier this summer, helped cement that desire for this 17-year-old.
The rising Green Run High School senior was one of just 16 high school students nationwide selected to take part in the sixth annual United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) sponsored, AgDiscovery program held at Iowa State University (ISU).
The AgDiscovery program is designed to help high school students learn about careers in agricultural sciences. Specifically, the program at ISU focused on careers in plant and animal science and wildlife management. During the two-week program, students lived on the Iowa State college campus and learned about agriculture from university professors and scientists. In addition, according to ISU, students got to have firsthand experience in things such as anatomy, immunology, epidemiology and other veterinary diagnostic procedures.
“It was a packed schedule from 7 o’clock in the morning typically to 9 at night,” Frawley said of her time in the program. She shared that her group took part in all kinds of day trips that gave insight into the day-to-day work in careers that work with animals.
For example, they traveled to the local airport to meet with the wildlife control staff and talk about how they best protect the local animals from all of the demands of air travel. One day, the group went out to see the USDA offices and learned how to draw blood from animals as well as all of the ins and outs related to egg candling (or looking at an egg through light to see how the chicken inside is forming).
Frawley’s favorite times, though, were when they shadowed veterinarians in local animal shelters and could see the work they were doing up close and personal.
“It really helped me determine what I wanted to do with my future,” Frawley said. “There were a few days we focused on the things you would do as a vet – just watching it, it was like, ‘This is everything I want.’ That’s exciting to me.”
Her excitement in becoming a veterinarian is well known through her circle of friends at Green Run. In fact, Frawley first out about the AgDiscovery program from her Christian Leadership Club sponsor, who knew Frawley had a passion for veterinary care.
“She brought it to me, and that’s what we started from,” Frawley said. “It was really exciting. It was something I really wanted to do. This was like a now-or-never situation. I didn’t know what to do with myself.”
After a long application process, which included recommendations as well as an essay detailing her career aspirations, Frawley learned she was selected.
“I was like, ‘Yes, yes, yes!’,” she said now with a laugh.
Now that she has attended the program herself, Frawley highly recommends other high school students look into an AgDiscovery program, which is open for students ages 15-17.
“I walked away with a lot of knowledge,” she said. “I would say to definitely give this program a try.”