Alyssa Weld

Alyssa Weld (’17) is currently pursuing a B.S. in Animal Science, and plans on becoming a food animal veterinarian. She is actively involved in 4-H and has been raising a flock of Southdown sheep since 2002 which are exhibited at county fairs and nationally around the country.

She currently puts passion for sheep and her knowledge of them to work as a Teaching Assistant for the Dorset Sheep Management class offered by the University. Students enrolled in the class have the opportunity to get more hands-on learning experience with general management of the UMass Dorset flock, including lambing, hoof trimming, vaccination and safe handling.

During the semester, Alyssa works a cumulative 40 hours per week on three farms and at a veterinary clinic in order to gain more knowledge in each of these areas. She is employed by Mt. Toby Farm in Sunderland, a small dairy farm where she is actively involved in all stages of animal production. Alyssa assists with calving, managing heifers, vaccination, synchronizing estrous cycles, milking cows and treating sick cows. In addition, Alyssa works with pigs at Parsons Farm; processing newborn piglets to ensure they get the best start to life, drawing blood, as well as vaccinating and sanitizing housing areas between groups of animals to reduce the incidence of disease. At the South Deerfield Veterinary Clinic, Alyssa takes medical history on dogs and cats coming to the clinic for routine exams, gives vaccinations, inserts microchips, and restrains animals for the veterinarians.

Alyssa lived at the UMass Livestock & Equestrian Facility for her Sophomore and Junior years, performing nightly checks on all the sheep, goats and horses, and currently works in the Livestock barn. Since the spring of 2015, Alyssa has been working on a research project with Dr. Katherine Beltaire studying pain management used during processing of newborn lambs and measuring their physiological response to stress.

Alyssa offers this advice for current and prospective students. “At UMass, you are in charge of your education outside of the classroom. Being able to apply the concepts you learn in the classroom about animal health and management is a huge asset. Get involved, take the opportunities that you are offered and make your college experience unique.”