Year in Review

Freshman Year, 2019-2020

Overall, I am happy with how my first year at Ohio State progressed, despite the challenges faced during the second semester. Since I was able to dive into some of my Animal Sciences Major coursework my first year, I got a taste for animal handling and welfare, which makes me extremely excited to continue with my major. Starting courses in my minor of Forestry, Fisheries, and Wildlife also made me very enthusiastic about the future and the many ways I could blend my major and minor together to reach my desired career. This year, especially while being at home during the second semester due to coronavirus with ample time on my hands, taught me how to pull myself together and focus more on time management and my mental health.

When I came to Ohio State, I knew nobody, but now I have strong friendships and wonderful peers to help me navigate college. I was worried about over-extending myself in terms of clubs/orgs and was nervous to join anything that I was trying “just for fun,” but my involvement thus far has pushed me outside my comfort zone and has made me feel at home at tOSU. For example, I was extremely nervous about joining Buckeye Dairy Club (because I have no livestock experience whatsoever) and Ohio State Irish Dance Team (because I had not danced in 7 years and was not competitive with my dancing), but joining both of these tOSU groups has been wonderful for learning and having outlets for the stress that classes bring. I plan in the future to become more deeply involved in my current memberships and maybe pursue new ones, such as Fisheries and Wildlife Club. I did not want to over schedule myself my first year, but now that I know how much I can handle, I am more ready to pursue additional student orgs.

I have thought over the past 7-8 years that I was definitely going to become a veterinarian. While I have not completely moved on from that possibility, I am much more open now to the many different careers that I can pursue with my major and minor combination. Considering the current circumstances amidst the pandemic, I am blessed to still have a position as a Wildlife Center Intern this summer at Humane Animal Rescue Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. Thinking about working with endangered wildlife species excites my soul, so I am looking forward to finding more opportunities working with wildlife or exotic species, in a different approach than the veterinary mindset I arrived with at tOSU.


Global Awareness

I have not had the chance thus far in my life to explore my field of study beyond the United States but am very interested in issues relating to animal sciences (think conservation) around the globe. I am planning to travel to South Africa through a study abroad specific to my major and take courses on exotic/zoo animals, South African animals specifically. This study abroad and courses will give me more exposure to the type of animals in which I intend to specialize in their natural setting, as well as expand my perspective once I experience issues facing another country firsthand. I want to possibly travel the world working for wildlife within conversation non-profit organizations. Increasing my global awareness will help me stay up-to-date on how I can best serve animals while partnering with specific country/ethnic group/cultural needs, since different parts of the globe use practices when handling animals that may seem ‘wrong’ to my now-limited perspective. Additionally, I plan to travel to Scotland as part of a study abroad which focuses on ruminants. With a new interest in livestock and animal welfare after being exposed to these species at tOSU, this program will allow me to see how another country views livestock and manages them (husbandry practices, etc.).

Original Inquiry

I have completed research in my high school AP Environmental Science course in which I collaborated with the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium’s Sea Turtle Second Chance Program. During this research over several months, I created ethogram sheets to record body position observations for a rescued green sea turtle, Harbor. Harbor was likely struck by a boat and has resulting partial paralysis of hind flippers and air trapped in his back end. My ethogram sheets, which incorporated the use of enrichment for Harbor, were then compiled and used to build further evidence that Harbor is ready to be re-released despite his setbacks. Harbor should hopefully be released this upcoming summer of 2020. I plan to continue research during my time at OSU, not only to finish my degree with Honors with Research Distinction, but also to expand my breadth of knowledge concerning animal sciences. I am interested in livestock animal research, since I do not have any previous experience with livestock, particularly ruminant digestive systems. Additionally, I am interested in ecology or conservation based research of local wildlife, genetics, and behavioral studies. I am looking to incorporate animal welfare into my studies, since all animals whether livestock or wildlife are affected by welfare concerns. I hope to participate in multiple research projects over my four years here.

Academic Enrichment

To maintain my Honors status through the College of Food, Agriculture, and Environmental Sciences, I will need to continually take Honors or Embedded courses. I am already taking 2300H, Honors Introduction to Animal Sciences taught by Dr. Peffer, and the small class size and depth of the material makes the course rigorous yet fulfilling. In order to academically set myself up for acceptance into veterinary school, I will need to complete additional ‘high-level’ sciences, such as Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, which will be compiled as a minor equivalent. I will also be pursuing a minor in Forestry, Fisheries, and Wildlife with a Fisheries and Wildlife Focus. This minor will incorporate courses that focus more on the topics of conservation, wildlife management, and ecology, which I am very interested in since I would like to become a wildlife veterinarian and have a passion for the conservation of species. Internships, job opportunities, and participation in clubs/student orgs will also supplement my in-class learning. I already have a guaranteed internship through the USDA lined up and plan on pursuing more as my interests become fine-tuned.

Leadership Development

I am currently a member of the Pre-Veterinary Medical Association, Buckeye Dairy Club, Guiding Eyes for the Blind at OSU, Ohio State Irish Dance Team, and BuckeyeCatholic. I intend to become more involved in leading those clubs throughout the years, with a particular interest in getting elected to the Executive Board of the Pre-Veterinary Medical Association and becoming an organizer for some of Buckeye Dairy Club’s events. As an Eminence Fellow I intend to help guide future fellows as the upperclassmen have already done for me. Through my college I will in the future allow prospective students to shadow me for a day, as I had a very positive experience when I came to shadow a student, and I may become a peer mentor for another Animal Sciences student.

Service Engagement

I have completed an extensive amount of volunteering thus far in my life and plan to continue volunteering at Glade Run Adventures and the National Aviary when I return home to Pittsburgh on breaks/in the summer. As an Eminence Fellow, I will become heavily involved in the class service project that we develop; we will have a project roughly planned (with an issue to focus on selected) by the end of our first year. I suspect that I will be involved in executing the plans of the service project, since I have strengths in arranging information or tasks and implementing decisions quickly but thoroughly. Outside of the Eminence service project, I plan to volunteer often at The Ohio State University Veterinary Medical Center. I already volunteer twice a week in the ICU of the companion animal hospital. I will also pursue volunteering at the Ohio Wildlife Center in future years when I have a more reliable source of transportation outside of campus.


Wildlife Center Intern, Humane Animal Rescue Wildlife Rehabilitation Center

May 2020-August 2020

I intend to update this page after my internship has been completed. I was blessed to have an internship opportunity still available this summer considering the circumstances. The description of the upcoming internship (from their site) is as follows: “As an intern you have a unique opportunity to experience firsthand what wildlife rehabilitation is all about. As a fully licensed Wildlife Rehabilitation Center that treats over 4,200 patients annually, you receive many opportunities to learn skills including basic husbandry techniques, species identification, basic anatomy, proper handling techniques, administering medications, hand feeding and more. In addition to the releasable wildlife, there are also 25 Education Ambassadors on the campus.  Interns assist staff with bi-weekly resident weight checks and husbandry. We have a well-rounded program where interns have the opportunity to observe and assist with examinations, treatments, medication distribution etc.  It is heavily focused on animal husbandry, supportive care (such as gavage feeding) and general preparation for re-release.”


Completion of Animal Handling Course

I recently took my first final as my Animal Handling Course, ANIMSCI 2000, came to an end. This half-semester course is not usually taken freshmen’s first seven weeks at campus, as most the students in my course were upperclassmen. However, I think that starting my time at Ohio State by taking this course have given myself excitement for the future years here.

The course included one lecture and one lab session per week. Each lecture prepared us for the animal which we would be working with later in the week for lab by going over common animal care practices and normal (and abnormal) behavior for that species. The course included lectures/labs on the following: dairy cows, poultry, beef cattle, horses, swine, and sheep/goats. Additionally, the course had us complete one industry certification program; I chose the Pork Quality Assurance Plus (PQA+) Certification Program.

As someone who has worked with horses, which are usually regarded separate from livestock species, exposure to true livestock/farm/food species was extremely exciting. After every lab I texted my mom and dad in our group message and filled them in on what happened. Getting to participate in multiple handling procedures such as cattle pregnancy checks, collecting blood, and processing piglets were all brand new to me but exhilarating. I was proud of myself after every lab for completing new experiences with animals that some find extremely intimidating, such as beef cattle. Working with livestock gave me that ‘rush’ feeling when one feels ready to accomplish their goals. By exposing myself to these new farm species right out of the gate, I not only proved to myself that my Animal Sciences major is the right pathway for me, but I also discovered an interest in livestock animals that I may not have discovered until much later in my coursework had I not taken this course early. By now knowing that I love working with farm animals, I can plan my upcoming coursework to include more courses related to livestock and will pursue internships and job opportunities in caring for these species.

About Me

Hello! My name is Elena McGoey, and I am a first year Eminence Fellow pursuing a major in Animal Sciences with a Biosciences specialization. My hometown is Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where I graduated from North Hills High School. During high school, I was involved in extensive volunteering, horseback riding, and the instrumental program, as I play the flute.

To expand upon my volunteering since 2012, which contributes most to my development as an individual, I have volunteered at Glade Run Adventures, the National Aviary, Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, Riding for the Handicapped of Western PA, and local charities. Most significant of these organizations for me, Glade Run Adventures provides animal-assisted therapy to children and adults with behavioral disabilities, mainly through therapeutic horseback riding. Recently, I presented Glade Run with funding after receiving the Jefferson Award. Through these volunteering opportunities, my dual passions of caring for animals and assisting those with special needs who are underrepresented in society emerged, and in college I will continue to develop my dedication to my interests.

Additionally, I participated in research collaborating with the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium’s Sea Turtle Second Chance Program to provide data supporting the readiness for re-release of a rescued green sea turtle. Before leaving for move-in day, I worked as a Pet Care Associate at Petsmart, where I cared for, medicated, and sold all the store animals. I hope to develop my experience with exotic animals and wildlife further at OSU, as my goal after receiving my Bachelor’s Degree in Agriculture is to become an exotic animal/wildlife professional. Since there are many avenues in which I can travel with this goal, current focuses include working within zoo facilities or wildlife rehab facilities/sanctuaries, or becoming specialized as an exotic animal veterinarian. My intended vocation as a wildlife professional is traveling internationally and serving as a caretaker, researcher, or conservationist for non-profit animal sanctuaries or related organizations for endangered or vulnerable species of conservation interest, always with the focus of animal welfare.

Currently, on campus I am involved in Buckeye Dairy Club, Pre-Veterinary Medical Association, Ohio State Irish Dance Team, and BuckeyeCatholic. Use of my e-Portfolio will track my accomplishments, highlighting experiences that build my professional development during the next four years. If you have any questions about my profile, please contact me!