Colorado State University’s highly ranked veterinary school is tackling two of the top challenges its students face: finding employment in a changing job market and managing finances. The CSU College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences recently hired Pamela O’Grady, senior associate director of CSU career counseling services, to serve as the new career development services manager within the veterinary program. The college also is searching for a new financial education specialist to provide financial advising and education to students and alumni.
Creation of the two jobs reflects CSU’s dedication to helping students develop rewarding careers at a time when career options and financial concerns are critical issues in veterinary medicine, especially for those just entering the field.
“It’s more difficult to get jobs in some areas of the field and some geographic areas than it used to be,” said Christine Hardy, senior director of veterinary student services. “The market has shifted, and we need to do a better job helping students reach their career goals and identify new areas for jobs in nontraditional, non-practice areas such as research, public health and international food safety work.”
Other career options include foreign and zoonotic disease, epidemiology, veterinary law, laboratory animal medicine, ecosystem health, conservation medicine, and livestock herd health and management.
“Many think private practice is their only option, to have their own practice,” O’Grady said. “But there are a lot of other options that we want to start promoting and making students aware of. They need to get to know their strengths and passions so they can find their niche.”
O’Grady, who started Aug. 19, has worked at CSU’s Career Center since 2009. She also has extensive experience in training/development and personnel management. Her background includes 10 years as a human resources director for Fidelity Investments.
“Pamela’s expertise in higher education career services management, promotion of diversity, financial management, employer relations, fundraising and partnership building makes her a valuable asset to the DVM Services Team,” said Melinda Frye, associate dean for veterinary academic and student affairs. “We look forward to developing a broad and robust program in career advising and education, and addressing the increasing need for veterinarians in less traditional roles.”
The CSU Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program is ranked third in the nation by U.S. News and World Report. As career development services manager, O’Grady is expected to create a program for CSU’s 540 DVM students that will incorporate resume/curriculum vitae reviews, education about veterinary medicine career possibilities, networking opportunities and mock interviews. She will also manage a resource library for students and teach career development as part of the curriculum. Eventually the program will be expanded to serve alumni of the program as well.
The new financial education specialist, who will report to O’Grady, will assist students with everything from financial aid and scholarships to debt management and personal finance. The abundance of graduates seeking private practice generally has restrained veterinary pay, often exacerbating the burden of college debt.