“You rarely get from where you are, to where you want to be, the way you think you’re going to.” – Molly Hunt
“Don’t give up. Listen to yourself. Do what you think is right for you.” – Molly Hunt
Molly Hunt did not traverse the traditional veterinary program path designed at UNH. She originally thought attending art school would be her natural academic path. Both of her brothers are in the arts, one in film and the other in music. Her brothers, knowing her compassionate and sensitive disposition, her love of animals and nature, and her natural inclination and talent for the sciences, recommended she explore Wildlife Ecology. She shifted her focus and began to search for programs that would fulfill these interests. After visiting campus, Molly fell in love with UNH and knew this was the place for her. She decided to focus on Wildlife Ecology with a minor in Chemistry.
While engaged in her Wildlife studies freshmen year Molly took Independent Study Skeletal Systems and Articulation. Dr. Richard French oversaw Molly’s independent study. He gave her a 200 pound sheep to articulate. Molly affectionately named the sheep Big Mama and spent well over the required hours to articulate. The product Molly produced was a museum quality skeletal reconstruction of Big Mama. Other classes that Molly enjoyed at UNH were Vertebrate Biology, Forest Ecology, Organic Chemistry, and Wildlife Management Policy.
In the wildlife field there aren’t many women professors. Although at UNH, Molly met Professor Adrienne Kovach and began working in the population genetics lab in August 2011. Professor Kovach, along with Professor Michelle Fleetwood and Tom Lee served as excellent role models in Molly’s college career.
It was through Professor Kovach’s lab that Molly began to meet graduate students focused on research. Soon, Molly was ready to embark on a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) to conduct her own behavioral study on Saltmarsh and Nelson’s Sparrows. Alongside two female graduate students, with the assistance of Professor Kovach, the women spent the summer studying different aspects of salt marsh Sharp-Tailed Sparrows. Molly’s research included many hours observing the sparrows’ in the field and she also spent time in the lab learning and performing molecular technique. She spent 12 hours a day in the marsh extracting sparrows by catch, processing those sparrows’ with various measurements, banding, and nest searching and carefully observing the male sparrow’s behavior. Molly will be presenting her findings at the Undergraduate Research Conference this April 2013. She has also been re-hired to do more field research this summer which will lead to the completion of a research article to be published.
During her second year at UNH, Molly volunteered off campus at the Veterinary Emergency Critical Care in Newington, NH, where she shadowed Alec Thomson, DVM. There she learned veterinary technician work including restraining the animals, administering fluids, assisting and observing in surgery. She learned the basics of temperature, pulse, and respiration (TPR). She also got to look at x-rays, ultra sounds and blood work. Working with Dr. Thomson opened the possibilities of a career in veterinary medicine. Molly took on additional volunteer hours working at an Equine Veterinary Practice during the summer. There she was given a new and different outlook while working with large animals.
Second semester junior year, Molly traveled to New Zealand as a part of EcoQuest. While abroad, she found herself immersed in nature, rich culture, and an amazing staff. Through this study abroad experience, Molly was reenergized and excited to be in her field again. It was a good change of pace away from her rigorous academic studies. As a part of EcoQuest, she made some wonderful long lasting professional connections.
Through the EcoQuest Program, Molly took part in a Directed Research Project and was given the opportunity to be a part of pilot research project studying Snappers in marine reserves. It was an eye-opening experience. Her research led her to days snorkeling; she fell in love with the ocean during her time in New Zealand.
Molly has been accepted and will attend Cornell Veterinary College starting Fall 2013. Although she has time to declare her specialty she would love to be a Wildlife Veterinarian with a focus on Conservation Medicine, which is the medical treatment of animals in their natural habitats. The focal point of treatment is not containment of diseased animals, but rather their treatment in the wild. Wildlife Vets in other countries focus their medicine on livestock to avoid the transfer of diseases into the human population. She looks forward to making a difference in her profession, be that in the states or working abroad.