Jessica Peterson

Jessica (’17) is working towards achieving a B.S. in Animal Science with a Pre-Veterinary concentration. Jessica grew up riding horses and has always loved animals. As a child she had several small and exotic pets like guinea pigs, parakeets, and gerbils. She decided to come to UMass because she wants to become a veterinarian and UMass provided a great program with plenty of hands on experience.
As a freshman Jessica took both semesters of the Boer Goat Management class and, as a sophomore, she was selected to apprentice in order to become a Teaching Assistant. Sophomore year, she worked at the Hadley Farm and at Heartland Farm, an equestrian facility in South Amherst. She also was a Teaching Assistant for Animal Science 101.
In the summer between her sophomore and junior years, Jessica lived in Amherst and continued working at Heartland Farm teaching day-camp and riding lessons. She was also a farm sitter for many local farm owners who contacted her through her participation in the Boer Goat Management program. In addition, she and her roommates fostered several animals from Dakin Humane Society, including a guinea pig, several kittens and a dog.
Junior year Jessica became a Teaching Assistant for both the Anatomy and Physiology of Domestic Animals class and the Boer Goat Management class. She also began volunteering at South Amherst Veterinary Hospital with Dr. Marci Lowy to gain experience in a small animal clinic. This experience has been insightful for Jessica because she always thought working with small animals would be less exciting, but her time with Dr. Lowy has shown her that you can only expect the unexpected when working in a clinic.
Between her junior and senior years, Jessica assisted Dr. Mike Stewart, an equine veterinarian stationed out of Windsor, Connecticut. This experience only solidified her desire to become an equine veterinarian and the knowledge she gained is invaluable to her. During her time with Dr. Stewart she developed a keen eye for lameness and lack of function in equine athletes. She met countless professional horsemen and was educated about several disciplines including harness racing, horse pulling, and dressage.
Jessica continues to volunteer at the South Amherst Veterinary Hospital and work at Heartland Farm and is in her second year of being a Teaching Assistant for both Anatomy & Physiology and Goat Management. Jessica was selected to be a representative for the Veterinary and Animal Sciences Department in the Student Leadership Committee which is overseen by the Dean’s Office of the College of Natural Sciences. Jessica is also a mentor for two freshmen who have come to UMass as part of the Provost Undergraduate Research Fellowship. In addition, Jessica received the Brooks, Upton, Drew Memorial Scholarship her senior year for academic excellence and merit.
Her plans for the immediate future are still uncertain. Before matriculating to veterinary school, Jessica has decided to take a year off to gain more wildlife and exotics experience by doing an internship at a zoo or rehabilitation site. Eventually, she would like to become a veterinarian with a practice that revolves around equines.
In her leisure time Jessica goes to Heartland to spend time with the horses and ride. She continues to take lessons every week. Jessica also enjoys having movie night with her friends and playing with her two pet rats, Rugrat and Bear.