Elmhurst College Alumnus, Leo Congenie, graduated in May 2014 from the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Leo took time recently to answer a few questions for us about his experiences before and during vet school that led to his successful completion of a very rigorous academic program.
1.) What experiences or courses at EC prepared you most for vet school?
I drew from the information I learned in all of my biology and chemistry classes. If I had to choose the class that prepared me the most, especially for first year, it would have to be Advanced Cell Biology. Not only did I draw from exact mechanisms studied in the course, it taught me how cells behave aiding me in understanding pharmacology, disease mechanisms, toxicology, and many other subjects in the veterinary medicine program. As I recall, that class taught me to interpret studies, which continues to be an invaluable skill to this day.
Although there were many great experiences, I would have to choose my time spent working in Nicaragua. It was my first clinical rotation, and I was bathed in the responsibility of being a doctor. I was given surgery after surgery. Most surgeries were routine, such as spays and neuters, but others involved more complex, disease curing skills. Not only was it my first experience with turning knowledge into medicine, I was introduced to a world that had little to no resources. I had to learn to trust myself instead of relying on machines, and it gave me a great appreciation for what we have at our disposal in the United States.
Leo is shown here in the operating room while in Nicaragua.
3.) What are your plans now that vet school is over?
Now that I have graduated I will be starting my practice in small animal medicine at the Banfield in Naperville, Illinois. I hope to develop as a veterinary professional and to open my own hospital within the next 5-10 years.