Cynthia Kathir immediately ran to her adviser when she discovered she won a national veterinary business contest.
“I was bouncing off the walls with joy,” she said.
The fourth-year UF veterinary medicine graduate student learned she won the competition in November during UF’s College of Veterinary Medicine’s career fair. After two rounds of essays, Kathir won the Business Aptitude Award, which includes a prize of $15,000, she said. The award is given by the Simmons Educational Fund, a nonprofit that educates practitioners and students about veterinary business.
Kathir said she knew she wanted to be a veterinarian since her kindergarten teacher asked the class what they wanted to be when they grew up. Kathir hadn’t picked a career yet, but she liked animals, so the teacher suggested being a veterinarian.
“That’s been the plan ever since,” the 27-year-old said.
For the first stage of the competition, which began in January 2017, she competed against about 15 UF veterinary students. Every veterinary school in the nation participated.
She wrote about her five-year plan after graduating from veterinary school. In the essay, she detailed her plan to work in a veterinary practice focusing on small animals to gain the experience needed to open her own practice.
Kathir learned she made it through the first round in May. She moved onto the second stage to compete against about 30 others who had won at their universities. She had to analyze a fictional scenario of a generic associate veterinarian weighing the pros and cons of working for a practice.
Martha Mallicote, Kathir’s adviser, said Kathir is the second UF student in the past four years to win the award. The award is the only one offered for veterinary business students.
“I always have more confidence in our students than they have in themselves because I know the kind of training students at other schools get,” Mallicote said. “I was just really proud of her.”