Carissa Brandt grew up in a suburban part of Minnesota with dreams of becoming a small animal veterinarian, despite allergies to both cats and dogs. So, when it came time to go to college, she chose Colorado State University and majored in Animal Sciences. She switched her focus to horses, even though she had little experience with the large animals.
After one equestrian course, however, she realized that there were people with a passion for horses that she didn’t share. Brandt held on to her dream of caring for animals, and finally saw a way to fulfill it when her class visited a farm to perform ultrasounds on pregnant cows. She was unprepared for Colorado’s October weather in her tennis shoes and sweatshirt, but she fell in love with the cattle and the work. She had found her passion.
“It was miserable outside, but I had so much fun working with cattle and ultrasounding them,” Brandt said.
This came as something of a surprise to the suburban girl who had no experience with cattle prior to coming to Fort Collins.
“It put me at a disadvantage, but I have done internships to try to get that experience,” she said.
Brandt has done three internships focusing on different aspects of the livestock industry during her time at CSU. She has worked at the Preclinical Surgical Research Laboratory at the James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital; the Beef Improvement Center in Saratoga, Wyo.; and The Vet Clinic in Meeker, Colo. Her focus now is on the reproductive systems of bulls and cows.
Brandt also mentors CSU freshmen students as a Steward of Animal Sciences in the department. She is receiving her bachelor’s degree from the College of Agricultural Sciences on Dec. 19.
Her own post-graduation goals have changed since she was freshman, Brandt said. She has applied to veterinary school and hopes eventually to have her own clinic in rural Colorado working with small and large ruminants.