CLASS OF 2020

Illustrations by Billy Babb

We polled a cross-section of our graduating students about their hopes and dreams, and even though the coronavirus pandemic has changed commencement plans, their futures look bright!

Taryn Boxleitner
B.S., Biomedical Science

Where are you from?

Loveland, Colorado

What was your favorite experience at CSU?

Working in the Equine Orthopaedic Research Lab. I am an avid barrel racer, and I seldom go a day without riding at home, but this experience gave me a new perspective on veterinary medicine.

What is the most important thing you learned here?

It’s OK to not have my life figured out at 21 years old. I have plenty of time to pursue my dreams and passions, and it is best to take my time and enjoy the journey.

How will you care for your world?

By continuing to be an advocate or agriculture, ranch life, and animals everywhere. It is a wonderful industry full of dedicated, hardworking people. My mission will always be the welfare of animals.

Where will you be in 10 years?

I will be running my own equine sports medicine and rehabilitation clinic and conducting
orthopedic research to enhance the quality of equine lameness diagnosis and treatments. I will also continue to rodeo and pursue every cowgirl’s dream of riding at the Thomas and Mack at the National Finals Rodeo in Vegas.

Dillon Donaghy
B.S., Microbiology

Where are you from?

Wiggins, Colorado

What was your favorite experience at CSU?

Working in a research lab on campus. The experience I’ve gained is priceless, and the people I’ve met have made my experience at CSU far better than it would have been without them. The work also made it possible for me to study abroad in England and helped me receive the Goldwater Scholarship.

What is the most important thing you learned?

How to be a researcher.

How will you care for your world?

I plan on attending graduate school in California to continue on my path toward becoming a faculty researcher. I hope to educate the next generation of young scientists and to positively influence the people around me as much as possible.

Where will you be in 10 years?

In 10 years, I see myself working as a postdoctoral fellow at a university (though I’m not sure where). Hopefully, I will be in a position where I can be working in a research lab while also devoting a good portion of my time to teaching.

Dawson Fry
B.S., Environmental Health

Where are you from?

Longmont, Colorado

What was your favorite experience at CSU?

Erin Reichert’s internship seminar course. As environmental health majors, we are lucky to have such a good adviser, and that class taught me TONS of great professional development advice.

What is the most important thing you learned?

First, networking is hugely important for your professional career. Second, playing a show in Nashville with your band
during finals week is a BAD idea. You will NOT get an excused absence.

After graduation, how will you care for your world?

I’ll try to make sense of the things happening around me and be at peace with the ones I can’t. I won’t change the world, but if we all chip in a little, who knows what could happen!

Where will you be in 10 years?

After I graduate, I hope to pursue occupational health and safety. I have done two internships in this field, and I am passionate about helping people have the safest, most productive workplace possible. I will continue to play music in any capacity I can and be a lifelong learner with my instrument.

Sydney Hsieh
D.V.M.

Where are you from?

Temecula, California

What was your favorite experience at CSU?

My favorite experience was helping to launch the Inclusive Health Project, which is a collaboration with CSU veterinary medicine, CSU social work, and CU medicine to provide veterinary, social, and medical services to the underserved population in our community. It brought me so much joy to be able to work with my classmates to make the project come to fruition

What is the most important thing you learned?

To love people.

How will you care for your world?

After graduation, I will start working as a small-animal emergency veterinarian. I hope to be the calm yet confident force to help seemingly tragic experiences become positive ones. Outside of work, I would like to bring veterinary care to animals in places where families’ livelihoods depend on animals – such as for a cow that produces milk to feed a family or a mule that carries a family’s goods into the market.

Where will you be in 10 years?

I will be continuing to fight to be devoted to God and joyfully content no matter life’s circumstances. Oh, and I’ll hopefully have a small pack of Chihuahuas, a golden retriever, and a horse.

Malik Ar Jackson
B.S., Biomedical Sciences and Spanish

Where are you from?

Grand Junction, Colorado

What was your favorite experience at CSU?

Human Gross Anatomy. We studied twenty-some human cadavers. It was extremely moving and sometimes even overwhelming to think about the sacrifice that these individuals made for my education and others like me.

What is the most important thing you learned?

The most important lessons I have gained at CSU extend beyond textbooks and classrooms. Over the past four years, I have recognized the importance of teamwork and camaraderie among peers. At the end of the day, we are all on this difficult journey together and networking is key.

How will you care for your world?

To make the world more beautiful, one smile at a time.

Where will you be in 10 years?

I aspire to have my own dental office right here in Colorado I hope to be contributing to the good in life, no matter how small. I will continue to think critically and appreciate the intricacies of life – even the mundane – as a good scientist does.

Jeremy Marburger
D.V.M.

Where are you from?

I grew up in Concord, Nebraska, and have spent the last 17 years in Colorado, most recently in Wellington.

What was your favorite experience at CSU?

As a nontraditional student. I think one of the most valuable experiences for me has been building relationships and developing friendships with a wide variety of people.

What is the most important thing you learned?

Surround yourself with people who care about you and who you can care for in return. I don’t necessarily think I learned this while being in school at CSU, but with the stress of juggling school, family, work, and extracurricular
activities, it is something that I was reminded of while working to complete my degree.

How will you care for your world?

I have had great mentors, and this is something that I hope I can give back to future students. Additionally, I hope to care for the world by caring for animals.

Where will you be in 10 years?

Honestly, I don’t know. I would like to be practicing veterinary medicine, and my main interests are in livestock and reproduction. I would like to have my own mobile veterinary practice, but we’ll see what opportunities arise along the way. I never thought this is where I would be 10 years ago.

Hadassah Mendez
B.S., Neuroscience

Where are you from?

Greeley, Colorado

What was your favorite experience at CSU?

Finding my passion for helping others. I put that passion to work as the president of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science and as the co-founder and director of a peer mentorship program.

What is the most important thing you learned?

To believe in myself and in my ability to make the world a better place. When I first started at CSU, I felt like an insignificant drop in a very large bucket but, over time, I discovered just how much I could do by reaching out and stepping up!

How will you care for your world?

I will connect my personal passion for helping others – especially those who are marginalized and underrepresented– with my love for science and research to better the world around me.

Where will you be in 10 years?

I don’t know exactly where I’ll be, but you will find me doing my best to serve others and to better my community.

Claire R. Tovrea
D.V.M.

Where are you from?

New Hampshire

What was your favorite experience at CSU?

The relationships I’ve cultivated during my time at CSU have, by far, been my favorite experiences. From fellow classmates to interns, residents, and faculty, I have met the most interesting and diverse group of people.

What is the most important thing you learned?

Resilience. Failure is an unfortunate and unavoidable part of life, and finding ways to maintain a growth mindset and positive self-image are the key to wellness and perseverance.

How will you care for your world?

I will practice exemplary emergency medicine while mitigating patient discomfort by advocating for their well-being. The key to better animal health is to provide excellent client communication. I hope to advance human rights, public health, and the human-animal bond.

Where will you be in 10 years?

I’d love to move back to New England and work as an emergency veterinarian. Hopefully, I can find a charming old farmhouse with a little bit of land for my human and canine family.