With a father, two grandfathers and an uncle as military veterans, Karen knew from a very young age that she wanted to serve her country. When she learned about the service academies in high school, she knew her destiny. She decided nothing could be better than an institution where she would have the opportunity to earn a four-year degree and a commission into the U.S. military.
She entered the Air Force Academy in 1998 and graduated with a BS in biology. She commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in 2002 and served on active duty until 2008.
She credits her time in the service for instilling the confidence and belief she could accomplish anything with enough hard work. And, it gave her the courage to enroll in a professional degree program seven years after obtaining an undergraduate degree. While attending veterinary school as an older student with a family has presented challenges, the teamwork, self-confidence and work ethic Karen developed in the military have helped her meet them head on.
Karen will graduate in May of 2013 with a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree. With her husband still on active duty in the Air Force, she will work as a veterinarian near his assignment. Her ultimate goal is to work in a small animal shelter for a nonprofit. She hopes to make an impact on animal overpopulation through low-cost spay/neuter/vaccination programs and owner education, as well as help during natural disasters. She also wants to contribute to the veterinary mission on local military bases.