Junior Katie Daniel to participate in summer program in Australia | Judson College
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Junior Katie Daniel to participate in summer program in Australia

Short Term is in full swing on the Judson College campus, but some Judson students are gaining valuable learning experiences in other places this summer.

Judson College junior Katie Daniel will spend part of her summer with a veterinary service study abroad program in Australia. The experience is offered through LoopAbroad, a pre-veterinary medicine program that offers hands-on learning opportunities with exotic animals in Thailand, Australia, and South Africa.

Last summer Daniel participated in LoopAbroad program in Chang Mai, Thailand, where she spent a week in an elephant sanctuary assisting American and Thai veterinarians in the care and treatment of rescued elephants. She also worked in a dog shelter, learning and practicing small animal clinical skills. “The opportunity to study actual veterinary medicine with these animals was a really unique experience,” Daniel said. She said that the Thailand program opened her eyes to ways that cultural influences inform veterinary medicine techniques.

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Daniel will learn a different set of cultural and veterinary treatment norms this summer. For two weeks, Daniel will volunteer at the Walkabout Wildlife Park (“Walkabout”) in Calga Springs outside Sydney, Australia. “Walkabout” is a conservation facility that is home to animals that live naturally in Australian bush, such as kangaroos, koalas, wallabies, Tasmanian devils, bandicoots, wombats, parrots, dingoes, flying foxes, and various species of reptiles. Volunteers provide hands-on veterinary care, enrichment, and support for the “Walkabout” animals in a sanctuary setting, rather than in a veterinary hospital. In addition to gaining valuable field experience in caring for exotic animals, Daniel will also take a course for academic credit and enjoy some sightseeing in Sydney. Dr. Kristopher McConnell, Associate Professor of Biology at Judson, says that, in addition to its unique cultural enrichment experiences, the LoopAbroad program will “provide Katie with excellent field experience as she prepares for graduate school.”

Daniel is the daughter of Brandi Gooden of Salem, Ala. and the granddaughter of Linda and Doug Kistler of Salem. She is a Biology and Equine Science major who plans to further her studies in a college of veterinary medicine after graduation. She serves the student body of the College as Student Government Association President. She is also catcher and second baseman for the Judson Eagles softball team and defensive specialist for the Eagles volleyball team.

Dr. Pamela Mitcham, Assistant Professor of Equine Science and Daniel’s major advisor, said that Daniel’s desire to “seek out and follow through on such challenging, outside-the-box experiential learning opportunities speaks volumes about [Daniel’s] dedication to her career goals. The skills she will gain will provide her with outstanding advantages as she works toward her goal of becoming a veterinarian.”