Olivia Smith

Olivia Smith ’17 is currently pursuing a B.S. in Pre-Veterinary Science with a minor in Biochemistry. Olivia received the R.C. Foley Scholarship her Junior year for academic excellence and merit. She hopes to pursue a career in food animal veterinary medicine with a primary focus on ruminant medicine in the future. Although she grew up mostly around horses, Olivia found a passion for ruminants—specifically cattle—when she took Belted Galloway Management her first semester at UMass. Beef cattle became a passion of hers and she stayed with the Belties for all four years of her undergraduate career, assisting as a Teaching Assistant for the class her Junior year.

In the summer of 2015, Olivia interned at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine in the Wildlife Clinic as a full time undergraduate intern. Here she was able to assist a team of veterinarians, vet techs, and vet students with the care of everything from Bald Eagles to Bobcats. In the summer preceding her senior year, Olivia was the first ever VASCI Summer Farm Management Intern. Here Olivia solidified some of her classwork with hands-on learning as an intern at both the Hadley Farm and the UMass Agronomy Farm. The internship focused on learning the foundations of good animal management by assisting the farm veterinarian Dr. Katie Beltaire and all of the farm staff at the UMass farms. Through this internship, Olivia was also introduced to farm machinery operations, which she thoroughly enjoyed.

Olivia says that overall, UMass has been nothing but fantastic. “I have had incredible opportunities, none of which I regret in the slightest. I have taken chances and put myself out there. I wasn’t perfect at everything, but I made some great connections because of the chances I took.” Olivia says that the faculty she interacts with frequently have become mentors that are always encouraging her to persevere. “Many of the faculty in the department have really gone that extra mile to get to know me and offer advice whenever I needed it. They have been vital mentors in my undergraduate career.” If she could offer any advice to undergraduates, it is don’t be afraid to talk to upperclassmen. “You really develop a network here with others in your major that becomes invaluable in a successful academic career.” Outside of her academics, Olivia is an avid fan of Olympic Weightlifting and has enjoyed integrating training and competitions into her schedule. She recommends students find something non-academic that they enjoy thoroughly and explore Western Massachusetts as it offers its own unique experiences outside of UMass.