December 7, 2006
Vet student Shannon Parfitt will go wherever it takes to get the best UGA education she can. As an undergraduate, she participated in the UGA at Oxford program, which allowed her to pursue her degree without being too far from her parents who lived in the United Kingdom at the time. After she graduated and began studying at UGA’s College of Veterinary Medicine, she worked with exotic animals at a zoo in Brazil. She enjoyed it so much that last year she put together a program and secured corporate support to go back to South America. She went to the Pantanal ecosystem in southwestern Brazil and worked with the Brazilian government in a project to trap vampire bats and assay them for strains of rabies. After graduation, she hopes to secure an internship and residency as a small animal veterinarian.
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine with a small animal emphasis
University highlights, achievements and awards:
In 2004, I received a grant from the U.S. Department of Education Fund for Improvement in Postsecondary Education U.S.-Brazil program. During my participation in this program, I interned at the Belo Horizonte Zoo in Minas Gerais, Brazil working with exotic animals like the onça pintada and tamanduá bandeira. In 2005, I participated in the Georgia Veterinary Scholars Program. This competitive program through the College of Veterinary Medicine allows students to gain experience in biomedical research. Additionally, I developed a proposal for an independent study on the prevalence of rabies virus in vampire bats, and was awarded funding to carry out the research in the Pantanal region of Brazil last year. Within the College of Veterinary Medicine, I co-founded and serve as co-president of The Veterinary Business Management Association. I have also served in leadership roles in The Student Association for Global Awareness, The American Animal Hospital Association, and Alpha Psi professional veterinary fraternity.
Harrison High School
In the summer and fall of 2005, I worked in the Department of Pathology in the College of Veterinary Medicine with my mentor, Dr. Corrie Brown. My research involved the use of anti-peptide antibodies to detect Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter coli by immunohistochemistry. Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter coli are common causes of gastroenteritis in humans. Beginning in March, my free time will be dedicated to my clinical rotations at The College of Veterinary Medicine Teaching Hospital.
I chose to attend UGA because...
The HOPE scholarship was an obvious draw, but I really fell in love with UGA when I first visited Athens during the 1996 Olympics to watch women’s soccer. Driving around the campus with my family, I made the decision then that I wanted to become a Georgia Bulldog!
My favorite things to do on campus are...
...attend football games! Nothing beats game day in Athens. The energy is amazing. I also really enjoy playing intramural sports out at the rec sports fields. I play flag football in the fall and softball in the spring.
When I have free time, I like...
...to travel. My parents lived in the United Kingdom while I was an undergraduate at UGA. I was able to see much of Europe—about ten different countries—on several different occasions. I also studied at Oxford University in the summer of 2000. While in vet school, I have traveled to South America—Brazil and Argentina—twice. I also love to snow ski. After graduating with by bachelor’s degree and before beginning vet school, I actually lived and worked at a ski resort in Colorado. Closer to home, I enjoy walking my dog, Buster Brown, every day in our Five Points neighborhood. I really enjoy spending time in downtown Athens shopping, eating, and socializing. I also love to hang out with my friends from vet school at Alpha Psi, a professional veterinary fraternity to which I belong.
The craziest thing I've done is...
...gone to Brazil to catch vampire bats! With funding from Merial, my classmate John Pritchett and I spent three weeks collecting bats from farms and caves throughout the Pantanal region. The purpose of our research was to determine how prevalent the rabies virus is within the vampire bat population of the area. This is important because vampire bats can infect cattle and small children with the rabies virus.
My favorite place to study is...
...the vet school library. It is full of resources (including my classmates) and is usually very quiet.
My favorite professor is...
…Dr. Corrie Brown. Dr. Brown is a veterinary pathologist, an uber-traveler, and an awesome person and mentor. Her work deals with diseases that are foreign to the U.S. and that greatly impact animal agriculture. Dr. Brown continues to enhance cultural awareness and provide the students at the College of Veterinary Medicine with a more global perspective through her teaching and in her capacity as the coordinator of international activities.
If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with...
...Oprah. She is an amazing humanitarian who gives so much back to the world. She has earned all of her success by true merit and continues to help people globally through her show, her actions, and her foundations.
If I knew I could not fail, I would...
…write. I have always loved to read, and I admire great writers of fiction. I really enjoy Michael Crichton’s work and his ability to weave an incredible tale with a foundation in science.
After graduation, I plan to...
...pursue an internship in small animal medicine. After that, I would like to enter into a residency program and become specialized in an area of small animal medicine.
The one UGA experience I will always remember will be...
...studying abroad at Oxford University. I had the opportunity to take some great classes in British history and Greek mythology. Experiencing British culture along with other UGA students and living at Jesus College was fantastic. Where else in the world can you meet your professor at a pub in your dorm to discuss a paper you have just written?