Sophia Upton

Sophia (’18) is pursuing a B.S. in Pre-Veterinary Science and is a member of the Commonwealth Honors College. Sophia chose to attend UMass Amherst because of the hands on experience with a variety of animals offered to all Animal Science majors, which is enabling Sophia to pursue her goal of becoming a veterinarian.

In the summer following her freshman year, Sophia began an internship at Westford Veterinary Emergency and Referral Center. Here she gained experience working in different specialties including: emergency medicine, surgery, internal medicine, and cardiology. Sophia had the opportunity to scrub in and participate in various orthopedic surgeries as well as preform blood draws and laboratory tests. Sophia initially chose this internship to see if she could handle all the challenges associated with Veterinary Medicine and ended up falling more in love with the profession as well as becoming extremely interested in the idea of pursuing a specialty.

In her sophomore year, Sophia decided to pursue early acceptance to the Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. After working hard on her application and going through the interview process, she was accepted. She plans to attend Tufts next year.

Sophia joined the lab of Dr. Elizabeth Jakob during her sophomore year. Here, Sophia studies the behavior of spiders with a focus on how spiders observe different images through an eye tracker that tracks their retinas. Sophia became a member of NESA, which is an Animal Science quiz-bowl and livestock judging team. Through this club she met many other animal science students and, as a senior, is one of the co-leaders of the club. In her sophomore year, Sophia showed a goat in the annual Bay State Livestock Classic but unfortunately lost in the first round.

After her sophomore year, Sophia spent the summer as a bird department intern at Southwick Zoo. Here she created enrichment for the different birds and learned how to train the birds through positive reinforcement. She fell in love not only with the parrots at the zoo, but also with the study of animal behavior. After this internship she is now considering specializing in animal behavior as a part of her career as a veterinarian.

Inspired by her experience showing a goat, Sophia decided to sign up for a full year of Boer Goat Management during her junior year. In the spring she competed again in the Bay State Livestock Classic and this time won not only the Goat Class, but also was named Premiere Showman of the entire event. She also served as a Teaching Assistant for the Anatomy and Physiology class where she enjoys running review sessions and helping other students find success.

Sophia returned to Westford Veterinary Emergency and Referral Center during the summer, this time as an employee. She used the experiences and opportunities she gained from her classes at UMass to become much more successful at the practice.

As a senior, Sophia continues as a Teaching Assistant for the Anatomy and Physiology course and is a co-leader for the NESA group preparing the group for competition with a dozen other universities that offer Animal Science programs. She is also enjoying being a “big” in Peer Mentors where she helps guide several new freshmen through their first year. She is very excited about attending the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University next year.