Olivia Shadduck ’15 was originally drawn to DelVal because of a strong animal science program and the University’s hands-on approach to learning.

“DelVal gave me the opportunity to learn all about animal procedures and then to go and test it out on the farm,” she said.

The hands-on approach offers students an extra level of learning, beyond the textbook.

“The hands-on experience at DelVal has helped me by practicing what we read about. They aren’t lying when they say practice makes perfect, and when you’re out giving shots to piglets or processing a newborn calf, it’s a memory that you have, not just a list of steps that you read about once,” Olivia explained.

Olivia took her hands-on approach outside the classroom as well. She organized DelVal’s first Relay for Life event, to be held on campus April 2014.  To implement the event, Olivia contacted the American Cancer Society and also reached out to the College to start a new club, Colleges Against Cancer.

“My favorite part about DelVal is that I have the opportunity to change it. If we don’t see a club or campus event we’re interested in, we are not only allowed to start our own, we are encouraged to!” she said.

Olivia credits her professors at DelVal for broadening her scope and showing her that her pre-existing plan is not the only plan that exists.

“Most of my professors started out with a plan in mind that changed drastically from start to finish,” she said. “They share their stories with us and it makes it feel not only safe to change my mind, but like an adventure!”

Outside the classroom, Olivia has received an Award of Horse Care for her work in horse care and injury treatment at the Equestrian Center. She took second place in an on-campus writing contest and was also nominated for Homecoming Queen. This summer, Olivia will be interning with an equine veterinarian.

Post-graduation, Olivia hopes to become a large animal veterinarian.