Meet Kat King, V23

School: Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine

Degree: Doctor of Veterinary Medicine

Home: Anywhere I can be with the ones I love (whether they’re humans or animals!)

What’s the most important thing you learned here?

Be flexible, open-minded, and willing to have new experiences. My background is in marine biology, and for my first year at Cummings School, I was focused on finding research opportunities that would allow me to continue in my comfort zone.

And then COVID hit. As a Canadian student, I was scared to go home because, at the time, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to get back, so I elected to stay in the Grafton area. When summer came, I knew I couldn’t just mope around and do nothing, so I picked up a job as a student technician in our Hospital for Large Animals.

That changed everything. I had been so focused on the idea that I had to become a marine biologist that I hadn’t even considered other aspects of veterinary care. But working in that hospital re-ignited my love for horses (I had ridden them growing up). Then I got involved in large-animal surgery, and that was it—I’d found my calling. But I never would have done so if I hadn’t been open-minded about new experiences—and if Tufts weren’t a place where it’s easy to find new experiences. 

What’s your superpower?

Empathy. I have an ability to walk around in someone’s shoes for a bit—to see from another person’s perspective. That’s a powerful trait for a veterinarian. You have to be able to understand where clients are coming from when they say what they want for their pets. You also have to be able to understand what an animal is feeling, and that’s one of the hardest parts of this career. It can be a little bit of a double-edged sword. Veterinarians see a lot of suffering. Empathy feels like an amazing superpower, but it also makes a vet vulnerable.

Complete this sentence: “Because of my time here, I…”

Know my own abilities and strengths—and I’m not afraid to use them. My experience at Tufts has been amazing; I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I’ve had some excellent mentors and faculty members who have told me, ‘Okay, you want to do this thing—go do it.’ They’ve been so encouraging, and they’ve fostered an environment of real openness, acceptance, and enthusiasm. It makes it possible to believe in yourself and to try anything.

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