Ana Maroldi

Ana Maroldi (’18) is currently pursuing a B.S. in Pre-Veterinary Science. Like many other VASCI students, Ana chose the Animal Science program at UMass Amherst to gain skills and prepare herself for Veterinary school. What Ana did not expect, was after three years of paving the way to veterinarian school, she would change her career path and turn her goals to a career as a medical doctor. Her choice to apply to medical school was made with the support and help from her professors, advisors and peers. Though people would not expect a pre-med student be a Pre-Veterinary Science major, Ana has found her transition to pre-med seamless – as most veterinary and medical school requirements are the same. In fact, Ana does not regret her choice of major because it provides a unique undergraduate background, and if it were not for the opportunities and advice she received through VASCI, her path may have been very different.

At New-Student Orientation, Ana met Chief Undergraduate Advisor, John Balise, who urged her, during enrollment, to take the Poultry Management course. Taking a management class as a freshmen was worthwhile, as it allowed Ana to work hands on with animals within the first weeks of her college career! Poultry Management taught Ana how to raise chickens from the first days of life, including feeding, healthcare and care-taking. She spent two semesters raising chickens, which included showing a chicken she raised as a final project during the Bay State Livestock Classic at the Hadley Farm. By the start of her sophomore year, Ana was also an assistant in Dr. Agnes Lacreuse’s Hormone and Cognition Research Lab in the Psychology Department. During her time in this lab, Ana had multiple responsibilities, one of which involved managing the schedule to train subjects for the collection of urine samples to analyze stress levels.

As a member of the Commonwealth Honors College, Ana was introduced to the most important aspect of her undergraduate career. The first week of her freshmen year, Ana listened to Professor Timothy Lang speak about the International Scholars Program (ISP) at a welcoming event. It is to this program that Ana contributes her new found interest in public and global health as well as her decision to transition to the medical world. ISP offered her a chance to take two honors classes during her sophomore year that would discuss international topics and prepare students to study abroad during their junior year with a scholarship to help students in the program. Ana is the first Animal Science/Pre-Veterinary Science major to be accepted and participate in ISP and is extremely thankful she was able to incorporate study abroad into her undergraduate career.

For her Fall 2017 semester, Ana chose to study abroad in Tanzania, East Africa, through the School for Field Studies, in their Wildlife Management Program. Ana visited the world famous protected areas of Manyara National Parks, Tarangire National Parks, Ngorongoro Conservation Area and Serengeti to studied the wildlife that roam there, including elephants, lions, leopards, cheetah, giraffe, baboons and more. Ana took classes in Techniques in Wildlife Management, Wildlife Ecology, Environmental Policy and Socioeconomic Values and the Swahili Language. Most importantly, through this program, Ana participated in direct research with her professor, Dr. Christian Kiffner and completed a research project, which included a month of data collection, analysis, a community presentation and a full research paper: Large Mammal Distribution and Density in Yaeda Valley, Tanzania. Among the incredible wildlife experiences, Ana found herself falling in love with the Tanzanian culture and lifestyle, and wishes to travel back to Tanzania in the future to continue to help Tanzanians and provide access to healthcare in remote areas of the country.

During her breaks and summers, Ana traveled back home to New Jersey and worked at Morris Animal Inn – a pet boarding house – for two years, which expanded her care-taking and training experiences with companion animals and also allowed her to practice her communication skills while speaking to clients about their pets before, after and during their stay at MAI. Ana also spent a summer interning at Riverdale Veterinary Dermatology office under Dr. Rosenberg. While at this practice, Ana gained hands-on experience helping the other veterinary technicians, and got to see how a specialty practice differs from general medicine in veterinary clinics. In the past year, after transitioning to a pre-med track, Ana spent the summer between her junior and senior year interning at Atkinson Family Practice, where she worked closely with the clinical staff to help the doctors and physician assistants provide the best care to all patients.

Ana is a member of Peer Mentors, hoping to help young Animal Science students fulfill their goals in the ways that she has! As a ‘little’ in Peer Mentors, Ana connected with a senior Pre-Veterinary Science student, who also had studied abroad and helped her coordinate class scheduling to make sure it was possible to study abroad.

Ana plans to apply to medical school to matriculate in Fall 2019. During her gap year, she hopes to increase her experiences in the medical field either through global health work abroad, as a clinical research assistant or by achieving her EMT certification. Although Ana’s career goals have moved away from animal medicine, she will always love all animals and continues to pet sit in her spare time to keep her furry friends close to her heart!