With the start of a new school year approaching, many of the University of Tennessee at Martin’s spring graduates are preparing to start their first semesters at graduate schools across the country. According to university statistics, more than 95 percent of UT Martin graduates are either employed or attending graduate school within six months of receiving their degrees. Amanda Lund, of Martin; Kamryn Gitchell, of Ripley; and Erica Little, of Paris; are gearing up to begin medical, veterinary and law school, respectively.
Lund is attending the UT Health Science Center in Memphis and took an unusual route to medical school. Instead of majoring in biology or chemistry, Lund chose instead to earn her bachelor’s degree in animal science on the pre-veterinary track.
“Even though I knew from the beginning that I wanted to go to medical school, I knew that because of the hands-on learning you receive through working with animals on the (UT Martin teaching) farm, I would have a unique skill set to take to medical school,” she said. “Through the animal science program, I have already given injections, practiced with an ultrasound and been in a setting where you examine a patient. Even though they are animals, the basics are still the same, and I feel fortunate to already have some experience in the area.”
Gitchell graduated as a classmate of Lund’s and is completing the jump to veterinary school this semester. With bachelor’s degrees focusing on both general animal science (’18) and veterinary health technology (’19), Gitchell brings a double set of skills to the UT College of Veterinary Medicine. She has an interest in large animal medicine and plans to return to her roots in West Tennessee.
“Right now, there are veterinary shortages in rural areas. Growing up in a rural area, I understand the struggle and frustration of this shortage. … My main goal is to serve an underserved rural area,” she said. “The possibilities are endless with veterinary medicine, but after years of practicing and building my skill set, my ultimate goal is to educate future generations in this profession through academia. I want to help others achieve their veterinary dreams like my adviser, Dr. (Jason) Roberts, did for me. I am hoping that I can do this at UT Martin.”
Little is a student at the Nashville School of Law this fall and found that her choice of minor at UT Martin played a significant role in preparing her for her legal career. A major in political science equipped her for law school, but a minor in marketing taught other vital skills that will be useful in her future courtroom experiences.
“My marketing classes prepared me in ways which aided in critical thinking and helped grow my confidence to present a sales pitch in front of a well-respected company and 30 students,” she said. Little also participated in U.S. National Model Congress and the Tennessee Intercollegiate State Legislature while an undergraduate. She is attending law school at night to learn from professors who are practicing attorneys during the day.
“My ultimate career goal is to own a law firm in Paris, Tennessee, and practice family law to make a difference in Henry County where I grew up,” she said. “UT Martin gave me the knowledge, professionalism and skills to get me to Nashville School of Law, and I am very grateful for that. The education I obtained from UT Martin has taught me the importance of community, building relationships with students and staff, and getting involved.”
All three women expect to finish their professional degrees in 2023.
For more information, contact the UT Martin Office of University Relations at 731-881-7615.