As a part of our “Where Are They Now?” series, we had an e-interview with Dr. Terra Kelly, who was our veterinary intern in 2001 – 2002.
Q: What have you done professionally since leaving the Wildlife Center?
Dr. Terra: I completed a three-year residency in zoological medicine at North Carolina State University, with a focus on free-ranging wildlife and became board certified through the American College of Zoological Medicine. Following the residency program, I completed a Ph.D. in Wildlife Epidemiology at the University of California, Davis. I was then hired at the Karen Drayer Wildlife Health Center, University of California as a post-doctoral research fellow in wildlife epidemiology. After the post-doctoral program, I was hired as a research scientist at the One Health Institute/Karen Drayer Wildlife Health Center, University of California, Davis.
Q: What’s your current position/organization?
Dr. Terra: I am a research scientist at the One Health Institute/Karen Drayer Wildlife Health Center.
Q: What do you do in your current job with regard to wildlife?
Dr. Terra: I conduct research, teach, and mentor veterinary and graduate students on topics related to wildlife epidemiology, conservation, and One Health. The majority of my research is based in Africa and Asia, where I study the dynamics of zoonotic diseases at the wildlife-human-domestic animal interface. I also work with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and other organizations in California on projects aimed at improving wildlife health and conservation in California.
Q: How did your experience at the Wildlife Center of Virginia help you prepare for or influence your career?
Dr. Terra: My internship in wildlife medicine at the Wildlife Center of Virginia solidified my passion for wildlife conservation and served as a stepping-stone for my career in wildlife epidemiology. The program provided me with the clinical and research experience I needed to be competitive for a residency in zoological medicine with a focus in free-ranging wildlife.
Q: Based on your life and professional experiences, what advice would you give students or young professionals interested in wildlife medicine, conservation medicine, or wildlife rehabilitation?
Dr. Terra: For students who are pursuing careers in wildlife medicine and conservation, I would tell them that there are many paths they can take to work in the field. I would encourage them to reach out to professionals who are working in areas they are passionate about to seek advice and opportunities and to surround themselves with people who inspire them.
Dr. Terra in the news:
Lead Exposure in Scavenging Birds, UC Davis Veterinary Medicine
Condors with greater independence have higher lead levels, University of California
10 Animals UC Davis Is Working to Save: Using Science to Save Wildlife Facing Extinction, UC Davis