Erin Schmidt grew up on a beef cattle/hay farming operation in rural Reno County, just outside of Haven, Kansas.
This meant that when it came to processing time (vaccinating, castrating, pregnancy checking, etc.), Schmidt and her older sisters were out in the cattle pens helping their dad and grandpa. The local veterinarian was often a part of this process as well.
“When he came out for a cow having a difficult time giving birth and had to assist with pulling the calf, I was really interested,” Schmidt explained. “In middle school, I started shadowing and became hooked. Through these experiences, I fell in love with the patients, the science and the difference that this industry made for both the producer and the pet owner.”
To kickstart her career as a veterinarian, Schmidt attended Newman University to pursue a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry, which she received in 2013. During her time as an undergraduate student, she also played on the softball team, was a Traditions and Transitions facilitator, served as a resident assistant and was a member of multiple clubs.
Following graduation, Schmidt attended Kansas State University and earned her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in 2017. She then worked in a small, rural, mixed animal practice before realizing she preferred the companion animal (dog/cat) sector of veterinary medicine.
“This led me to a small animal general practice that served as the local urgency/emergency hospital where no two days were the same,” Schmidt said. “The nearly four years that I spent in that high-volume, fast-paced hospital taught me how to efficiently and effectively manage cases, as well as guided me into finding my passions within the field.”
These passions include pain management, nontraditional medicine (including chiropractic, acupuncture and rehab), soft tissue surgery and mentoring.
“Pursuing these passions is what led me to starting with my current network, where I have been given so many opportunities including my animal chiropractic certification, a weekly television segment and now my current position as the medical director of a small animal veterinary hospital in North Liberty, Iowa,” she said.
For Schmidt, the highlight of her career is having the opportunity to go to work and find something she loves each and every day.
“The skills I have learned have allowed me to save patients’ lives, connect with owners and fulfill my dreams and passions,” she said. “I’ve also been able to get involved in CrossFit, which has been a great way to decompress from difficult cases, as well as network within the community.”
In the next couple years, Schmidt plans to become certified in veterinary acupuncture and rehabilitation. This will allow her to help build the offerings at her current animal hospital and to explore more of her interests in nontraditional medicine.
Schmidt pointed out that throughout her journey thus far, she’s had some strong mentors who have guided her, helped her to believe in herself, pushed her out of her comfort zone, and taught her how to be a leader.
“These people include my pitching coach in high school, the vet I worked with through my time at Newman and, most of all, my family and friends,” she said. “Their ability to believe in me, even in times when I have not, has been a driving force to keep me pushing to better myself personally and professionally.”
Earn a degree in biochemistry
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