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Stockmen's Association selects KHS student for internship

Kylee Nelson received a letter from the North Dakota Stockmen’s Association, given to her by her FFA adviser, that could change her life.

1/26/16 (Tue)

Kylee Nelson poses with a 2015 youth rodeo plaque and one of her horses. Nelson has been chosen by the North Dakota Stockmen’s Association to participate in a mentorship program that will place her with an area veterinarian for the summer. 

By Marvin Baker

Kylee Nelson received a letter from the North Dakota Stockmen’s Association, given to her by her FFA adviser, that could change her life.

Because of that letter and subsequent application, Nelson, a high school student in Kenmare, has been selected to the Stockmen’s Association mentoring program.

And in Nelson’s case, she will be mentored by a veterinarian who will be determined in mid February.

“He knew I wanted to be a veterinarian,” Nelson said of her adviser Ben Curdy. “He thought it would look good on college applications.”

This highly sought after profession isn’t something Nelson, a high school junior, just jumped into. She lives on a farm and is responsible for horses and loves her animals.

“I think it’s fun,” she said. “I like it and this (mentoring program) will help me figure out if it’s what I want to do.”

Nelson said she would prefer to be a large animal vet and treat cattle, horses and goats. But would also consider treating dogs and cats.

She is currently enrolled in a veterinary science online class at Kenmare High School.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, a recent study confirmed that 67 percent of veterinarians in the United States, treat only companion animals such as dogs, cats and rabbits.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison, recently started a program to make sure students explore the option of large animal medicine.

“Ever since I was little, I’ve had animals,” Nelson said. “I once asked for a stethescope for my birthday and got it.”

Perhaps her biggest test thus far has been with her horses. One of the horses got hurt last summer and was cut up pretty bad on a leg, according to Nelson.

She doctored the horse, changing bandages through a three-month recovery.

The blood and the gore didn’t spook Nelson. Instead, she embraced the situation to make sure her horse would be on the mend.

“I’ve seen the injuries,” Nelson said. “But this will help me determine if it’s right for me.”

Laiken Aune is the special projects director with the North Dakota Stockmen’s Association.

According to Aune, the mentorship program is offered to students who have an interest in livestock, or agriculture in general.

“We ask that they submit an application naming their area of interest and upon acceptance in the program, we do our best to match them with an appropriate mentor,” Aune said. “The program begins Feb. 16 with a kick-off workshop at Farm Credit Services in Mandan that focuses on teaching the teams about effective communication and outlines what they can expect to get out of their time together.”

According to Nelson, the rules require that she and her mentor meet four times after Feb. 16 until sometime in September.

During that time, she will be required to make journal entries to document the farm visits and the treatments the animals may be given.

Under the tutelage of a licensed veterinarian, Nelson should learn a lot about the profession over the summer, according to Aune.

“We’ve designed the program to be casual and flexible to allow the participants and mentors ample opportunity to get the most out of their time together,” Aune said. “We encourage them to meet as often as possible.”

At the end of September, a recognition ceremony will be held during the foundation luncheon at the association’s annual convention that will be held in Minot.

“Over the years, we’ve had students mentor in many areas of the ag industry like veterinary medicine, artificial insemination, genetics, cow-calf production, ag communications, ag lending, pharmaceutical sales, ag education and more,” Aune said. “Participation in the recognition ceremony is not required for successful completion of the program.”

Nelson is aware that large animal vets are in short supply and she knows that becoming a licensed veterinarian isn’t an easy task, despite her current knowledge of the anatomy of a horse.

She said a couple of her friends have talked about going into veterinary science, but she is isn’t sure if they will.

She’s sure she will, at least right now. In fact, she said some colleges, like the University of Wisconsin, have promotions for students going into veterinary science.

Her experience with horses and rodeo have perhaps driven this young lady to pursue veterinary science. Maybe it’s because she is growing up on the North Dakota prairie, maybe it’s intrigue, or maybe it’s fate. She just knows she likes it.

“I’ve always wanted to be a vet,” Nelson said. “I love all animals. I have horses and I want miniature Herefords, but they’re too expensive.” ... Read EVERY WORD on EVERY PAGE of The Kenmare News by subscribing--online or in print!