Renee Staffeld ’14 is working towards a career in Shelter Medicine at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. She wants to give people the opportunity to own a pet despite financial circumstances.
“Human-animal bond is extremely important,” said Renee. “Not having a lot of money shouldn’t stop good families from owning a pet.”
By working in non-profit medicine, Renee will provide animal care to low-income families. This would also allow her the opportunity to perform animal-related relief work.
“I would like to be a first responder for both domesticated animals and wildlife after natural disasters,” said Renee.
Renee’s love for wildlife began when she started working at Wild Things Sanctuary – a non-profit rehabilitation center in her hometown of Ithaca, N.Y.
“Before I started college at [SUNY] CCC I worked at Wild Things and that experience really helped solidify my decision to be a vet,” said Renee. “I didn’t know how to medically help the animals at that point and I knew I needed to learn how to do that.”
After receiving her associate in science degree at SUNY CCC, Renee began her undergraduate degree at Cornell University. Admittedly, she was nervous to apply to Cornell due to its prestigious reputation.
SUNY CCC Biology Professor David Pindel encouraged her to try.
“Professor Pindel told me I was capable of getting into Cornell for undergrad,” said Renee. “He was so confident in me and didn’t overwhelm me with the thought of veterinary school. He just told me to take it one step at a time.”
Now in her third year of veterinary school at Cornell, Renee is proud to boast about her community college beginning.
“It’s important to erase the stigma that you can’t get to where you need to be because you started at a community college,” said Renee. “I was just as prepared as everybody else in this program who started at a four-year university.”
Though Renee describes veterinary school as a “mental boot camp,” she is excited to see the end results of her hard work and perseverance.
“I am starting to see all of my knowledge come together and I am getting more confident every day,” said Renee. “If I see an animal that’s been injured I feel like I could assess the situation and help, and that’s what I’ve always wanted to do.”
Despite the long journey, Renee is looking forward to graduating with a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine in 2020.
“At the beginning of my journey eight years felt like a daunting amount of time, but all I wanted to do was become a vet,” said Renee. “Now I’m able to say that I will be a veterinarian in just a year and a half.”