VetCat Graduation Stories: Zandrea Simpson


Celebrating our VetCat Journeys: Where They Are Going

Zandrea at the white coat ceremony

Looking Ahead

Our VetCats have dedicated themselves to honing the clinical and professional skills essential for success as veterinarians. As the culmination of their hard work approaches, we want to celebrate their journeys to success. Today, we have the privilege of featuring Zandrea Simpson, a dedicated third-year student whose aspirations of becoming a veterinary ophthalmologist are well underway as she nears her graduation in August.

What are your plans for after graduation?

After graduation, I plan to specialize in veterinary ophthalmology. My ultimate career goal is to become a board-certified veterinary ophthalmologist. I will be starting a rotating internship in early September!

Do you know where you will be working after graduation? 

Yes! I will be a rotating intern at Southern Arizona Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Center in Tucson, Arizona!

Zandrea's Veterinary Journey

How did your educational experiences influence your career path?

My educational experiences overall have continuously grown my love and passion for veterinary medicine while also allowing me to see the reality of what goes into being a veterinary practitioner.

What aspect of your future opportunities excites you the most?

I am most excited about sharing my empathy and building healthy, meaningful relationships with my patients and clients. I also look forward to providing the best medicine possible and advocating for my patients.

Can you describe why you were inspired to pursue a specialty practice?

I was inspired to pursue veterinary ophthalmology way back in 2018 when I completed my first ophthalmology externship back in Ohio with Animal Eye Institute. Dr. DJ Haeussler truly inspired me and is still one of my best mentors today. Since then, I have gained more extracurricular ophthalmology experience throughout veterinary school and have continued to be most passionate about the specialty.

What advice would you give to a first-year student?

The main thing I would tell a first-year student is to remember to take care of yourself during such a strenuous program. Yes, absolutely make plenty of time for the schoolwork and studying, but also make time for yourself. You have to be well in order to do well. Make sure you make the time to still do things you enjoy, as mental health is just as important as physical health. I would also say to stay as organized as possible and not be afraid to reach out for help. There are so many resources, including peer tutors and even some of our faculty members. Utilize them! Last but not least, you are not alone. Whether it’s anxiety about an exam, feeling nervous about a presentation, feeling like you are burnt out or exhausted…you are not alone! Stay focused and keep going. All the hard work will pay off in the end, even if it feels like forever. You got this!