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Training the next generation of veterinary researchers addressing feline health

Christina Kerkenpass, a veterinary student at the Free University of Berlin, participated in the Cornell Veterinary Leadership Program throughout the summer of 2022 with the support of a Cornell Feline Health Center grant.

Every summer, the Cornell Leadership Program for Veterinary Students welcomes a group of veterinary students to the Ithaca campus for 10 weeks to explore professional opportunities related to their science-based career. The Cornell Feline Health Center provides financial support to one leadership student in the program who shows a dedicated passion and commitment to pursuing research that advances feline health each year.

This Q&A features this year’s recipient, Christina Kerkenpass, a veterinary student at the Free University of Berlin, who participated in the program and conducted research in the lab of Dr. Cindy Leifer, professor of immunology.

What motivated you to apply to this program?

I grew up in Germany on my family's dairy farm. The close contact I had with the animals inspired me to become a medical-technical laboratory assistant. During my training I learned a lot about hematology, microbiology, histology and clinical chemistry. But then I went on to do human cardiovascular disease research for four years. Although I enjoyed working in the lab, I retained a love for veterinary medicine and decided to pursue veterinary medicine in Berlin. I will graduate in March 2023. I remain very interested in research, and I actively try to balance clinical and basic science courses in my studies.

Read the full Q&A on the Cornell Feline Health Center website.

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