My name is Shiling Zhao, but many of my friends call me Shay. I am from Oakton, VA, which is about 30-40 minutes away from DC. I started OSU in August 2017 as an Animal Sciences – Biosciences major on a pre-vet track, and I hope to complete a minor, if not a second degree, in Evolution & Ecology. I absolutely adore animals, and it pains me to see that our anthropocentric society tends to disregard the existence and importance of animals with regards to society, relationships, and health. Currently, I assist in the Chavez Lab in the College of Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology, and I work as a Veterinary Assistant at Glencoe Animal hospital. I love to play volleyball (though I can’t say I’m amazing at it), and I joined OSU’s DanceSport (competitive and social ballroom dance) club. I have the honor to attend OSU as a Class of 2021 Eminence Fellow, and I hope to make the most out of this opportunity.
My dream is to become a veterinarian with a vast reach over numerous animal species from around the world—I have always told my parents that I want to study animal behavior and wellness in biodiverse places like the Amazon and Australia, and that remains true to this day. I am currently working towards applying into the new FEEPASS program between OSU and the University of Glasgow School of Veterinary Medicine for Animal Sciences students interested in attending vet school, and if all works out, I would be able to get my DVM-equivalent, which would allow me to practice all over the world.
More recently, I developed an interest in something I like to call “interspecies collaboration.” After reading the book Zoobiquity by Barbara Natterson-Horowitz, I became increasingly involved in the idea that humans and non-human animals can benefit from the collaboration among human healthcare providers, veterinarians, and other field experts to diagnose, treat, and prevent not only zoonotic diseases but also similar illnesses that occur independently among all species of animal. I hope to utilize my passion and experience in veterinary medicine to pursue this kind of interdisciplinary research in the future. Alternatively, if research does not end up being my life’s calling, I would like to pursue a similar career as a veterinarian in public health.
I am glad I chose OSU as my home-away-from-home, and I am excited to see where my experiences here take me.