Planning to Serve: Veterinary Students Aspire to Practice in Rural Communities
Posted March 06, 2019
and raised in Orange, Texas—a small town that runs along the
Texas-Louisiana border—Luke Domas grew up on his family’s farm,
surrounded by dogs, cats, chickens, horses, rabbits, goats, and a
few cows. The desire to be near animals seemed almost innate for
Domas, and for as long as he can remember, becoming a veterinarian
has been the plan for his future.
“I wanted to be a veterinarian before I could even say the
word,” Domas joked. “My mom says that I would say I wanted to be an
‘animal doctor’ when asked what I wanted to be when I grew up.
Those feelings stayed the same as I completed high school and
With three older siblings, who all attended Texas A&M
University, Domas said the choice was a no-brainer when it came
time to apply for college.
“Shortly after my oldest sister started at Texas A&M, my
entire closet turned maroon with Aggie T-shirts,” he said. “I loved
visiting my siblings whenever I could, and I loved getting to
attend Midnight Yell, football games, and several events on
Along with his love for the university and its beloved
traditions, Domas said he wanted to attend Texas A&M because of
the outstanding reputation of the College of Veterinary Medicine
& Biomedical Sciences (CVM). In 2015, Domas received his
bachelor’s degree in biomedical sciences and is currently in his
fourth year of veterinary school.
“I think the biggest enjoyment I have had while at Texas A&M
is knowing that I received a top-notch education,” he said.
“Although the long nights of studying were not the most pleasant,
it’s nice to look back at what I have accomplished while being
After graduation, Domas would like to get back to his small-town
roots and eventually practice mixed animal medicine in a rural
“Growing up in a small community, I have seen first-hand how
important it is to have access to quality veterinary care,” Domas
said. “There is a growing need for good clinicians in rural
settings, and I hope to help bridge that gap. Although I love cats,
dogs, and other family pets, my strong desire to care for large
animals would not be as easily fulfilled in an urban setting.”
As graduation grows nearer and his dreams become reality, Domas
is thankful for the invaluable experiences and education he has
received while at Texas A&M.
“The additional opportunities provided through the school to
travel to outlying locations and care for cattle, equine, and
exotic animals during various rotations have given me real-world
experiences in a rural setting. Coupled with the experience I
gained here working in the hospitals, I feel I have a strong
foundation to carry on once I graduate,” he said. “The academic
training at A&M and the College of Veterinary Medicine has
prepared me to handle a wide variety of cases that I may encounter
in the future.”
Taylor Williams, a second-year
student in the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine &
Biomedical Sciences (CVM), is excitedly awaiting the day she can
begin working as a veterinarian in the Texas Panhandle region.
Growing up in the Panhandle, Williams noticed a lack of rural
veterinarians and decided to do her part in solving this issue by
returning home after graduation to start her own mixed animal
“My plan is to serve the need for rural area veterinarians in
the Panhandle by offering a variety of services for a variety of
species,” she said. “Working in the Panhandle is an attractive
option for me because without access to a large referral hospital
in that area, I will have the opportunity to work on a variety of
species and to be outside of my comfort zone in assisting animals
that may otherwise not get veterinary care.”
In addition to the variety of animal species she will care for,
Williams is excited to go home.
“I thoroughly enjoy the people in the Panhandle and the amount
of passion they have for the livestock they raise,” she said. “It
excites me to get to be a part of their livelihood and assist them
in their production.”
Williams grew up in Amarillo, where she gained experience in
agriculture through FFA, 4-H, and programs sponsored by West Texas
A&M (WT). She worked for a local veterinary practice and judged
horses while attending WT for her undergraduate education.
“Not only did attending WT allow me to save money, due to low
tuition costs and close proximity to my home, but the agriculture
department there was also a perfect fit for me,” Williams said.
After graduating from WT, Williams had no doubt that Texas
A&M University was where she would go to pursue her veterinary
“Texas A&M was the only school I would consider because of
the prestigious reputation it had and the fact that it was located
in my home state,” Williams said. “Furthermore, Texas A&M
offers the most reputable large animal program I am aware of, and I
knew I could gain skills that I could take back to the Panhandle in
Williams said one of her favorite things about Texas A&M is
getting to work with faculty who are more than willing to teach by
sharing their experiences.
“In a short amount of time, I have gained an invaluable resource
through connections at Texas A&M and lifelong mentors I will be
able to keep in touch with even when I am back in the Panhandle,”
She also appreciates that the A&M veterinary program is
helping her prepare for a career in working with large animals,
which she will often see in the Panhandle.
“The new curriculum contains a surprisingly large amount of
large animal material,” she said. “I was not expecting to be given
the opportunity to have hands-on large animal experience so early
on in veterinary school.”
Once she returns to the Panhandle, Williams plans to help WT
pre-veterinary students by offering internships at her veterinary
practice. She is excited to serve her community and invest in
The Aggie War Hymn is
not a typical lullaby for babies, but it was for Trent Dozier.
“I was raised as an Aggie and I never really knew there were
other options,” he laughed.
Now a class of 2019 Texas A&M University College of
Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM) student, Dozier
is learning veterinary skills in order to one day help the
hard-working ranchers of West Texas.
Dozier grew up on his family’s farm helping his father, Dr.
Warren Dozier, who is a mobile large animal veterinarian in Fisher
“Growing up, I spent a lot of time working our cattle with my
dad, as well as for other producers throughout the area,” Dozier
After finishing high school in Trent, Texas, where his
graduating class comprised only 13 people, Dozier earned his
bachelor’s degree in animal science through courses taken at Cisco
College, Blinn College, and finally, Texas A&M.
“I knew that I eventually wanted to apply to veterinary school,
and A&M has one of the top veterinary programs in the world,”
After he graduates from the CVM, Dozier plans to move back to
West Texas to practice large animal medicine.
He and his wife, Blair, have been married for 10 years and are
excited about becoming part of a community where they can raise
their two daughters, 5-year-old Wimberley and newborn Waverley.
“There are a lot of good, hard-working families in West Texas
that continue to dedicate their lives to keeping agriculture and
the western way of life alive,” Dozier said. “It would be a great
privilege to work day in and day out with these salt-of-the-earth
people to ensure that the livestock and ranching industry continues
to endure for generations to come.”
Note: This article appears in the Spring 2019 edition of CVM Today.
For more information about the Texas
A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences,
please visit our website at vetmed.tamu.edu or join us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Contact Information: Megan Palsa, Executive Director of
Communications, Media & Public Relations, Texas A&M College
of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Science; firstname.lastname@example.org;
979-862-4216; 979-421-3121 (cell)
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