Hi everyone! My name is Sarahbeth Barlas, and I grew up in Canton, Michigan, on that perfect border between suburbia and the back country roads. I attended Lyman Briggs College at Michigan State University where I completed a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science with a concentration in companion and exotic animal management and a specialization in agriculture and natural resources biotechnology.
My favorite part of being at MSU was participating for four years with the Animal Welfare Judging and Assessment Contest. It is very similar to livestock judging, but you judge the current standard of welfare for an entire housing unit, herd, or single creature versus a similar situation. I went from my first question of "what *is* a broiler chicken" on Day 1, to substitute lecturing complex topics like the various swine housing units.
The AWJAC taught me to truly see a situation from both the dark and light sides, which has been instrumental in my personal and professional life. I have known back to my earliest memory that I wanted to be a veterinarian, but it was working with the AWJAC that helped me identify why: I want to widen the gap between abuse due to ignorance and abuse due to neglect. I have grown to love teaching and talking with people just as much as I love animals, and I think we can help reduce neglect cases with client communication. Forming those relationships and reaching for this goal is what gets me up every morning!
I came to Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine with a vastly opened mind: I tried everything! Through the numerous student run clubs I was able to shear a sheep and trim goat hooves, practice putting a turtle's broken shell back together, anesthetize and collect samples from fish, perform physical exams on snakes, and dive into oodles of business education. Through the years, I enjoyed over 160 of these extra-bits.
The clubs at ISU CVM are phenomenal: entirely student-run, they focus on giving students of all years immense opportunities outside the classroom from castrating a cat and horse, finding leaks in an anesthesia machine, and practicing surgical and emergency techniques. No matter how much studying I did, the clubs were instrumental to my education. I also had opportunities to lecture about pet fish and their welfare at the ISU CVM five times through these clubs, which has gotten me very excited about my future!
When I grow up, which happens on May 11, 2019 (not that I am counting!), I aspire to become a small animal general practitioner. I also have a strong interest in pet fish, particularly concerning making gains in their welfare through veterinary teamwork. I am in my final year of school now, completing our clinical rotation piece of the curriculum. We rotate every two weeks into a new part of the hospital: so far I have been immersed in orthopedic surgery, clinical pathology and necropsy (animal autopsy), ophthalmology, and now small animal internal medicine.
Soon, I will venture into cardiology, soft tissue surgery, large animal (livestock) medicine, and many other facets of the teaching hospital. I look forward to sharing some of this journey with you.