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Master of Laboratory Animal Science Program Meet Giovanna DiStefano

Giovanna DiStefano, Drexel MLAS Class of 2021

Hometown: Downingtown, Pa.
Undergraduate: BS, University of Delaware (Major: Pre-veterinary Medicine and Animal Biosciences, Minor: Equine Science)
Student's next step: VMD Program, University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, Class of 2025

How did you first learn about Drexel's MLAS program?

A few of my coworkers at the lab I worked at during my undergraduate career matriculated through the program, and they had nothing but good things to say about it. My mentor encouraged me to look into the MLAS program when I was planning what to do after graduation and assured me that his other prior mentees enjoyed the program and were very successful after graduating from MLAS.

Why did you choose to apply to Drexel's program?

I chose to apply to Drexel to extend my knowledge about lab animal science and research. My interest in veterinary medicine helped me discover my passion for research. I felt that the Drexel MLAS program would provide me with a solid foundation of rigorous biological science courses as well as a well-rounded education in the many other variables that play a role in animal research.

What are you doing now/after graduation?

I will join the class of 2025 at Penn Vet to pursue my VMD.

When did you know you wanted to become a veterinarian?

I knew I wanted to become a veterinarian when my horse was diagnosed as neurologic. The traumatic news sparked my curiosity in veterinary medicine, as I could not stop myself from reviewing endless literature about equine neurologic disorders. After that, my passion for vet medicine continued to develop as I progressed in my education.

Can you tell me how me how the program helped prepare you for vet school?

This program has helped me become well prepared for the course load I will take on during vet school, how to self-advocate and remain persistent in my studies.

What area of veterinary medicine do you want to study when you graduate?

I plan to pursue equine medicine and clinically applicable research. I have interests in surgery and sports medicine.

Looking back, what was the best part of the program?

The community and positive atmosphere were my favorite part of the program. All of the faculty and my classmates made the MLAS program a very positive and exciting experience. There is endless support and that really helps you to stay positive, work hard and find your path.

What is your relationship like with other students in the program?

Even though we were virtual my classmates and I still became very good friends. You really get to know everyone on a personal level, even while virtual, so I can't imagine the relationships we would have formed meeting in person for class every day. I look forward to them all being my colleagues in the near future!

What is your relationship like with the program’s faculty members?

The faculty members are all super kind and accessible. They are very willing to help you and give you guidance starting from the first day at orientation.

Do you have any advice for incoming students who are considering the MLAS program with the goal of attending vet school?

Stay positive and work hard! This program will really provide you with the skills you need to succeed in applying, interviewing for and attending veterinary school. Do your best and enjoy the material you're learning because it will transfer outside of the classroom. Ask as many questions as you can; everyone is very willing to help you or provide guidance.

Animal science laboratory technician looking at vials.