CALS student makes most of time at UI
Since she was little, Darryl Kerby knew she wanted to be a veterinarian.
“Obviously, when you’re young, you don’t know what being a vet entails, you just want to fix animals,” Kerby said. “As I grew up, I kept an open mind that I might find something else I’d rather do. But the more I learn and the more experience I get the more solidified I am that being a vet is where I want to go.”
The University of Idaho senior graduates from the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) in December with a bachelor’s in animal and veterinary science: pre-vet option, taking her one step closer to realizing that dream.
Kerby grew up in Kendrick on the family ranch. Her grandparents ran a dairy farm before she was born and gave each of their six children a piece of the property for their homes. The entire Kerby clan lives together on that property and most of them are University of Idaho alumni.
“Both my grandparents and my dad went to UI, and most of my aunts, uncles and cousins went here,” Kerby said. “We are definitely a Vandal family.”
Kerby grew up with animals on the ranch, mostly cows and horses. That experience, combined with 4-H and FFA activities, helped to solidify her interest in veterinary medicine.
“Growing up with animals gave me good experience and helped me see what all goes into caring for them,” Kerby said. “That background not only helped me realize that I enjoyed it, but gave me a taste of what it’s going to be like.”
Opportunities in CALS
The hands-on experiences offered in CALS helped prepare Kerby for veterinary school. During her time at UI, she assisted with research projects, served as a teaching assistant and participated in several CALS student organizations. Last spring, Kerby joined other CALS student for the Western Regional Dairy Challenge, putting to the test what she learned in class.
“I knew what to look for, what kind of production records to look for and have ideas on how to make those better,” Kerby said. “We looked at the feed and determined what was wrong with it. We also analyzed the cows and did body condition scores. All of that stuff I had learned in class, but hadn’t put it together to analyze the production of a dairy. It was cool to see how much I have learned over the years.”
Kerby also completed the 22-week Kentucky Equine Management Internship program in the spring of 2015 in Lexington. She spent her time working with brood mares, delivering babies, taking care of nursing mothers, helping with breeding and overall care and maintenance of the race horses.
“I got some awesome hands-on vet experience and it was great to see how a completely different industry worked,” Kerby said.
That internship experience built upon Kerby’s interest in reproduction that began in high school.
“I did a cow-calf breeding project in 4-H,” she said. “I saw the whole cycle and thought, ‘this is really cool.’”
Her interest continued at UI after taking reproduction courses from AVS professor Amin Ahmadzadeh. Kerby now plans to specialize in reproduction.
“My dream would be to have a practice in rural Idaho and do large animal medicine,” Kerby said. “I want to be able to have that specialized background in equine so that people will bring me their horses intentionally, but I don’t want to be just an equine vet. I want to be a part of the rural Idaho Ag industry.”
Making the most of opportunities
Although she comes from a Vandal family, Kerby was considering attending community college right after high school.
“I was a big athlete in high school, so for a while I was trying to go play somewhere,” Kerby said. “When it came down to actually making a decision about where to go, I realized that the best education I would get would be at UI. I realized that if I was going to play sports, it would only be for one or two more years. I had to decide that wasn’t something that would be as important later on in life as a quality education.”
Kerby received scholarship support from the UI, including the Go Idaho! Scholarship Program, and combined with external scholarships, she will graduate debt free.
“I still would have gone to college without the scholarships, but I would have had a lot of student loans and had to rely heavily on my parents or work more,” Kerby said. “There is an incredible amount of opportunities here and if you don’t have the time to take them because you’re working, that cuts down on your experience.”
Kerby has definitely made the most of the opportunities presented to her at UI. She has been a member of Block and Bridle, the Pre-Vet Club, the Dairy Club and the UI Polo Team. She is a member of Kappa Alpha Theta, was the Lewiston Roundup queen in 2013 and the UI Homecoming queen in 2016.
“I have had an amazing college experience,” she said. “When you come in as a freshman it seems overwhelming, but if you can take advantage of those jobs and internships and clubs and opportunities from the get-go, I think it makes your college experience so much better.”
The next phase of Kerby’s trek to becoming a veterinarian starts next fall. She has applied to vet school and is hoping to be accepted into the Washington-Idaho-Montana-Utah Regional Program in veterinary medicine. There are 11 spots for Idaho residents each year at Washington State University. This would allow Kerby to stay in the area while also paying in-state tuition.
“I have been prepared extremely well for anything that is thrown at me during vet school,” Kerby said. “If I was going straight into the work force I wouldn’t have any concerns about not being able to do something.”
Article by Amy Calabretta, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences