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Heifer Ranch gives Schoenhals hands-on experience

November 2, 2011
By cnp
Posted in Biology

Kate Schoenhals is in her final year as a college student at University of the Ozarks. When she graduates and decides to look back over her collegiate career, she will have a lot to reflect upon. The Salt Lake City, Utah native has taken advantage of many of the opportunities presented before her while at Ozarks.

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Senior biology major Kate Schoenhals spent a summer helping out at Heifer Ranch in Perryville, Arkansas.

Kate’s latest experience came last summer as she volunteered at Heifer Ranch in Perryville, Arkansas. She worked with the livestock, performing morning and evening chores, along with various tasks throughout the day. Heifer Ranch is one of Heifer International’s learning centers providing education that promotes solutions to global hunger, poverty and environmental degradation.

"Basically, I helped with taking care of the animals," said Kate. "They have both domesticated and exotic animals at the ranch."

Heifer Ranch is home to a pair of camels, which Kate says are a big hit with many of the visitors. The camels were viewed by many visitors during the summer and Kate, along with other volunteers, helped educate the sightseers what the animals were used for in other countries.

Kate became interested in Heifer Ranch after attending a career fair on campus at Ozarks, where representatives of the ranch provided her with information.

The time Kate spent at the ranch has helped her decide on a career following graduation. The biology major, who is also working towards a minor in chemistry, plans on attending veterinary school and specializing in large animal or food animal medicine.

"Heifer was one of the best experiences of my life," said Kate. "I think their mission and projects are amazing. I would really like to help other countries by taking care of the animals that feed the hungry."

Though Kate’s experience at the ranch made a lasting impression on her life, she had other encounters while at Ozarks that helped pave the way. During the 2006-07 school year, she studied abroad in Belfast, Ireland, where she studied courses in animal nutrition, virology, and one class on the conflict in Northern Ireland.

While Kate was in Belfast, she met up with Olivia Baxter, a Northern Ireland resident that studied abroad at Ozarks. She said that the two of them would spend free time together and trade stories.

In April 2006 and April 2007, Kate took two separate 10-day mission trips to Ghana, where she worked with a team of ophthalmologists to complete as many cataract and glaucoma surgeries that time would allow.

"I assisted with the patient flow and helped with the records," Kate said. "I would also do various tasks whenever a doctor needed assistance."

Kate said that she feels she has very good relationships with the professors at Ozarks. She says that these close relationships have provided her with good life advice.

"Dr. (Sean) Coleman, Dr. (Frank) Knight and Dr. (Doug) Jeffries have taken the time to sit with me and discuss what it is I want to do," said Kate. "They have all given me good advice and I really appreciate that."

She says that the best thing about Ozarks for her is being able to having one-on-one access with the professors. Kate has also said that many of these experiences and opportunities were presented to her and she never had to go searching for them.

"I feel that going to the professors at Ozarks and asking questions and being involved really helped me out," said Kate. "I just had to make myself available and in tune and these opportunities came to me. Having these relationships makes a big difference and I think everyone should take advantage of that."