Dr. Kara (Simon) Parsons can’t remember ever wanting to be anything other than a veterinarian.
“It was a childhood dream that stuck,” the Wichita native said. “I used to ride my bike to the vet clinic down the street starting at around 12 years old so I could job shadow. Then my job as a kennel attendant in college and my experience volunteering at the Kansas Humane Society really solidified my intent to go to veterinary school.”
Parsons attended Newman University for her undergraduate studies for several reasons. For one, it was located in her hometown. She was also fortunate enough to receive both academic and music scholarships, and she knew Newman’s strong pre-med/biology program would prepare her for veterinary school.
Finding her fit
At Newman, Parsons was involved with the Chorale and Troubadours, the latter of which gave her the opportunity to travel to New York City to sing at Carnegie Hall — and meet her husband, Nick, a Newman alumnus himself.
“The music department was an integral part of my experience at Newman — such great memories,” she said.
A year after graduating from Newman, Parsons was accepted into Kansas State University’s veterinary medicine program. She received her degree in 2019 and began practicing at Bogue Animal Hospital in Wichita just a few months later.
“I mostly work with small animals, dogs and cats, which is what I love,” she said.
Mentor becomes the mentee
Parsons recently had a Newman student job shadow her at work, bringing her experience full circle.
“It’s still a little surreal being the mentor and not the mentee,” she said. “I enjoy that I can share my experience and give back in a way to all the amazing mentors who helped me get to this point myself.”
For aspiring veterinarians, Parsons advises that job shadowing is a can’t-miss opportunity.
“Do this early in your studies, if possible,” she said. “Most clinics would be happy to have you. Make certain this is a job you feel passionate about, find a mentor and ask them lots of questions. Veterinary school is intimidating but totally achievable with passion and a good work ethic.”
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