Kaitlyn Rule ’19  |   Published March 06, 2016

Well-rounded vet

‘Confident, resourceful’ Nokes ’09 pursuing DVM in veterinary medicine
  • Sarah Nokes ’09 is pursuing her DVM in veterinary medicine.
Sarah Nokes, who graduated from Monmouth College in 2009, has begun her journey to earn a doctorate in veterinary medicine, enrolling at Iowa State University.

While completing her biology major at Monmouth with a minor in chemistry, Nokes had no intention of entering veterinary medicine, but she eventually realized her passion was rooted in her love for animals and began pursuing a career in wildlife research and management.

“After several years of working in wildlife, I found I was more interested in the biological aspects of the research, as well as the public health concerns,” said Nokes. “I began working at an animal hospital and started the long application process for veterinary school.”

Despite being a full-time student, Nokes gets to enjoy a little hands-on time with furry creatures, working 10 hours a week as a veterinary assistant at the small animal ICU on Iowa State’s campus.

While looking ahead to a rewarding professional career, Nokes also enjoys looking back at her time at Monmouth College.

“For me, the best part of my education at Monmouth was the small class sizes and the close relationships I developed with professors and my peers,” said Nokes, who was involved with several campus organizations, including Kappa Kappa Gamma, the Blue Key and Mortar Board honor societies, the American Chemical Society and Relay for Life.   “It is extremely important to have good mentorship and resources no matter what your field of study. I still keep in contact with a few of my professors and rely on them for letters of recommendation. Overall, my experience at Monmouth made me a more confident and resourceful person.” 
“Sarah was a bright and hardworking student, but more importantly she always brought a positive attitude and caring attention to her work,” recalls biology professor Ken Cramer. “She was not afraid of challenge or adventure, and never lost her positive attitude during a wilderness field course that involved some pretty intense hiking and backpacking into the Grand Canyon. Her extensive post-graduate work experience with animals in a variety of settings has positioned her well for veterinary school. I’m proud of her success and happy she has landed in a quality veterinary program. She will be an excellent vet.”

Nokes advises today’s college students to get involved and speak with their professors.

“Make connections and take advantage of the resources you have while you have them,” she said. “Talk to your professors. If there is a specific area you are interested in studying or a specific program you’d like to try, they will most likely know someone or some resource to help you. Find internships and research programs you can participate in over the summer. Experience and connections are key.”

After completing her degree in veterinary medicine, Nokes plans to obtain her master’s degree in public health. She then hopes to incorporate wildlife management and public health by working on zoonotic diseases and transmission, with her “dream job” being a position at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 
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