June 28, 2012

Bags a little heavier

By Joe Pluhar

Well, my time in the GRD office has come to a close. I am headed back to Texas with my car, my contact list, and my list of options a little more full. I have had a fantastic experience meeting veterinarians and non-veterinarians alike all around Washington in a plethora of roles. I spoke to vets in Congress, on congressional and committee staffs, and in executive branch agencies. I got to know folks in non-profits, organizations, and consulting firms. I only thought I knew the scope of veterinary medicine, and boy, did I underestimate it. Just this week it was suggested that I look into communication roles using my veterinary training. I had never thought I would ever been interested in communications, but now it makes a lot of sense. Don’t get me wrong, I still want to graduate and work on horses, at least for a little while. Thanks to this past month, I know that I have plenty of options available if I want to make a career change in the future.

I want to thank the good people of the GRD office. I had a wonderful time working with my fellow extern Elise. We trooped all over this town getting lost on more than one occasion, but we always made it learning a lot in the process. Ms. Gray and Ms. Mayo helped me settle in and get organized. Valerie let me in every morning and gave me a wave as I headed to my office. Stephanie taught me all about the grass roots campaign. My office mates from the National Association of Federal Veterinarians were very informative and helpful. Gina, Dr. Morgan, and Dr. Miller were fabulous. I learned so much from them; I just wish I had a little more time to spend following these pros around. Natalie showed me some great happy hour spots, and Chris helped me dive into the mysterious waters of the PAC events. Lastly, Dr. Mark was a great mentor throughout the entire externship. I quite enjoyed our policy and procedural discussions. I fully plan on calling upon all of these folks in the future. My bags are a little heavier now, but I leave a little better than when I arrived. Thanks and D.C., Lauren and I look forward to visiting again!