Monday, June 8, 2015

Student Success Story: Dr. Kelly Underwood, UVa Alum

Dr. Kelly Underwood named college valedictorian

As a child, Kelly Underwood, from Vienna, Virginia, thought she might want a career working with animals. By the time she began studies at the University of Virginia, however, her interests shifted to the humanities.

“I really liked English and history, so I pursued that at the beginning of my college career,” said Underwood, who wrote human interest stories and served as one of two life-section editors for her college newspaper, The Cavalier Daily. “But when I started looking at jobs in either journalism or publishing, I didn’t like it as much and began to reevaluate what I did enjoy. At the time, I was also volunteering at a Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) facility and working at a wildlife center.”

After deciding to turn her love of animals into an academic pursuit, Underwood made a switch in the middle of her undergraduate career and began taking biology and life science classes. In 2010, she graduated with a bachelor’s degree and the rather unlikely dual major of English and biology.

Underwood was the Class of 2015 valedictorian at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine. “Doing well in veterinary college isn’t about being super-smart,” said Underwood who, as valedictorian, received the college’s Richard B. Talbot Memorial Award. “For me personally, it’s about being willing to put in the time and effort to study and being organized.”

Read more about Underwood’s academic success and efforts to start Virginia Tech Helping P.A.W.S.