In the summer, vet student John David Pritchett returned to the Pantanal Region of Brazil to complete a study of vampire bats that he started last year. He collected specimens from the vampire bats that will be tested to determine the prevalence of rabies within this region of Brazil. Pritchett expects these tests to help veterinarians control the disease which can be transmitted to children through bat bites. The project’s goal is to decrease the prevalence of rabies in bats and reduce the risk of rabies in children. The vampire bat studied is also a transmitter of rabies to cattle, so the disease affects an incredibly important industry in Brazil. Pritchett plans to open his own mixed animal veterinary practice after graduation.
Habersham Central High School
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
B.S., University of Georgia (Biology)
University highlights, achievements and awards:
I began my vampire bat study in spring-summer 2004 when I received a Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) grant to study abroad in Brazil for three months. This past summer, through funding from veterinary pharmaceutical company Merial, I was able to continue my research. Additionally, last spring, I painted and displayed oil paintings in support of the Veterinary Honors Society. In fall 2005, I was rush chairman and I was elected as president of Alpha Psi veterinary fraternity. I still hold the office of president. During the same period, I have been a member of the Student-Faculty Liaison Committee and a student senator representing my class in the veterinary school. I also was elected and I am currently serving as vice-president of my class. From spring 2004 -2005, I served as coordinator and chairperson for the open house for the veterinary school, and I am a volunteer coach for the women's flag football team.
I chose to attend UGA because...
...of its stellar reputation as an academic institution. It also has one of the top veterinary schools in the country. In addition, Athens provides numerous opportunities to become involved in various aspects of student life. I feel privileged to have received an undergraduate and graduate degree from such an outstanding college.
My favorite things to do on campus are...
I enjoy several aspects of student life on campus including attending football games, going to The Creamery, going to local concerts at the 40 Watt and Georgia Theatre, eating at Big City Bread, and enjoying a Starbuck’s coffee every now and then.
When I have free time, I like...
...playing various sports, taking my dog to an outing at the park, painting, and socializing with friends. I enjoy playing any and all intramural sports in order to relieve some of the stress associated with school. I play flag football, basketball and softball. On weekends, I like to get away from the books for a while and enjoy life in Athens.
The craziest thing I've done is...
...gone hang-gliding with friends in Tennessee . We had just completed a day long rafting trip and just happened to drive by a hang-gliding company on the way back. So, on a whim, we stopped and had them pull us up with a guide in a hang-glider behind a plane. Once up above the mountains, we released the cord attaching us to the plane and descended back down over the trees. It was an incredible moment and one that I will never forget!!
My favorite professor is...
...Corrie Brown because she has such an inventive approach to teaching and instructing her students. She is extremely willing to go above and beyond to assist her students in furthering their life experiences as well as careers. She tirelessly works and is in constant pursuit of the globalization of veterinary medicine in sharing information on emerging diseases. I have been inspired by the stellar example that Dr. Brown has set before me.
If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with...
...Steve Erwin, “The Crocodile Hunter,” because we share the same passion for animal awareness and conservation. I realize that he has an extreme point of view in conservation, however, I do believe that his intentions are correct. Through his television program, he is able to reach a much larger population than many other conservationists today. I strongly believe that education is important so humans can understand why certain negative situations occur between animals and themselves, and they can better avoid or remedy these problems.
If I knew I could not fail, I would...
...be doing exactly what I am doing at this very moment!
After graduation, I plan to...
...become a veterinarian with a mixed animal practice. I have currently focused on this type of practice so I can learn about as many animal species as possible. I do not know where I will end up when I graduate, but I can tell you that as a financially drained student, more than likely my choice will be based on financial considerations!
The one UGA experience I will always remember will be...
..the day I received my official acceptance letter from the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Georgia. It was a goal that I aspired to for many years. In my opinion, it proves that hard work and dedication are two necessary components of the achievement of one’s dreams and successes in life. I expect that the day I receive my DVM degree will be equally as memorable.