For Brianna O’Malley, the path to vet school has been long and winding — but she’s confident she’s now exactly where she needs to be. After earning a bachelor’s degree in environmental science, Brianna discovered a 2-year veterinary technician program at her local community college, which kickstarted her true passion for veterinary medicine. She went on to work as a licensed vet tech for about 7 years before deciding to apply to Tufts.
“I chose Cummings School for a few reasons,” says Brianna. “Over the years, I’ve worked with some really brilliant vets that came out of Tufts. And when I came to visit, I really loved the campus and the community.”
As if being a second-year vet student wasn’t enough to fill her time, Brianna is hard at work on a project called Non-Surgical Approach to Sterilizing Avian Species Using a Domestic Chicken Model, currently being funded by the Association of Avian Veterinarians (AAV). She’s also involved in several organizations on campus — as a member of the Tufts Veterinary Council on Diversity (TVCD), a rep for the Veterinary Education Review Committee (VERC) and the treasurer for the Tufts Cummings Chapter of the Latinx Veterinary Medical Association.
Brianna has always been invested in issues surrounding DEI — and prior to coming to Tufts, she was involved in many conversations with her BIPOC and other marginalized coworkers about the many challenges and discrimination found within the veterinary field.
“I think veterinary medicine has many hurdles it needs to address for it to become the diverse and inclusive profession we want it to be,” says Brianna. “I am passionate about advocating for that and being a part of that conversation.”
When she looks to the future, Brianna dreams of specializing in zoo companion medicine. She hopes to combine her love of research and academia with working on exotic species.
“I love veterinary medicine because it’s like a puzzle,” says Brianna. “A patient comes to you with a set of symptoms and your job is to figure out what’s wrong and fix it. I love the complexity and diversity that comes with working with many different species.”
Brianna is also inspired by the fact that veterinary medicine is a constantly changing field. “With the research I’m a part of at Tufts,” says Brianna, “my goal is to find new ways to help patients in the future — with better, more advanced treatments and practices.”