Hello, I’m Dr. Suelee Robbe Austerman. I work at USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa.
Agriculture has always been my first love. I grew up on a ranch, but like many girls of my generation, there were limited opportunities to become part of the operation. During college, I fell in love with veterinary medicine – as I could combine my interests in agriculture and science. I spent my first six years out of vet school in large animal practice in South Dakota. Then, I taught food supply veterinary medicine at Iowa State while working on my Masters and PhD. While working on my PhD, I joined USDA’s Agriculture Research Service working on Johne’s disease. Read more »
Hello, I’m Dr. Bill Huls, Facilities Manager with USDA APHIS’s Center for Veterinary Biologics (CVB). I have been with APHIS since 2002. The CVB regulates the industry that manufacturers veterinary biological products including animal vaccines and diagnostic test kits. I communicate with firms on a daily basis to help ensure they are maintaining compliance with federal regulations. This includes managing documents and items that relate to those firms – things like policies and procedures used by the manufacturer to prepare their products, procedures for who enters and exits the facility, the organization and arrangement of the facilities they make their product in, etc. I also conduct inspections of facilities that manufacture biological products. The work performed by the CVB helps ensure both animal and human health is safeguarded.
I decided to become a veterinarian when I was 18 after spending time with a veterinary practitioner in my hometown. Following completion of veterinary school I joined a small animal practice. Eventually, I bought my own practice. My practice years allowed me to have some pretty cool and challenging experiences. Read more »
Hello, I’m Dr. Barry Pittman, an Area Emergency Coordinator for Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). I cover the states of Kansas and Missouri, where I do liaison work with local, state and other federal representatives to help ensure we’re prepared to respond when disasters or outbreaks strike. Some areas of my expertise are: developing animal response plans, providing training, building a veterinary reserve corps to response to disasters (like the Joplin, MO tornado), conducting vulnerability assessments, participating in exercises, and responding to incidents.
Becoming a veterinarian was something I decided I wanted to do at age twelve. I loved our pediatrician (he made house calls) and at first I wanted to be a doctor… but the vet in town was much more laid back. After time in the Air Force and Army, I went to vet school to fulfill my dream. Read more »
Hello, I’m Dr. Beth Lautner, Director of USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa. We’re the animal health reference and confirmatory lab for USDA. We work mainly with livestock and poultry health, but also deal more and more with companion animal issues. It is exciting to be on the front lines of what’s going on with regards to animal health.
I grew up on a livestock farm and had many dogs and cats. I always enjoyed working and interacting with animals and admired the veterinarians I met. From the time I was twelve, I knew I wanted to be a veterinarian. After vet school, I practiced for 12 years in a mixed animal (livestock and dogs/cats) practice. It was a great opportunity to learn a lot of different aspects of veterinary medicine. Read more »
Hello, my name is Dr. Chrislyn Wood Nicholson and I’m a Poultry Specialist with USDA’s Animal Plant Healthy Inspection Service (APHIS) Veterinary Services (VS). I’ve worked for APHIS since 2004 as a veterinarian, but my relationship with this agency began even earlier. As a student, I was a recipient of APHIS’ Saul T. Wilson Jr. scholarship for students interested in veterinary medicine, which helped me get through school.
Why did I become a vet? I have always loved animals and science when I was growing up and a veterinary career seemed like a good way to combine my interests. I now get to help both animals and people every day. Read more »
Dr. Jack Rhyan, APHIS Wildlife Pathologist, Fort Collins, CO
I’m Dr. Jack Rhyan and I’m a wildlife pathologist for USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Veterinary Services. I’ve worked for APHIS since 1990, and had spent seven years at the National Veterinary Services Laboratories before taking my current position at the National Wildlife Research Center. Read more »