Perseverance Pays Off for UTCVM Grad: Hope Hunter

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Hope Hunter in graduation attire holding two dogs

Hope Hunter of Livingston, Tennessee, graduated this year from the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine. She has a heart for animals, and despite facing initial rejection from the school 12 years ago, Hope refused to give up on her dream to become a veterinarian.

How would you describe your experience in the UT College of Veterinary Medicine? 

In light of the fact that six months into my education, we experienced a global pandemic and shelter-in-place order, my experience at UTCVM was definitely challenging. Almost my entire didactic education was completed online. Aside from that, my experience here has been positive, supportive and challenging. There are so many people I wish I could thank for their support over the years. 

What was your favorite class or school-related experience and/or who is your favorite professor/mentor?

My favorite experience was getting to scrub in on a caesarean section on a goat who ended up having not one, but three babies! 

It’s difficult to name one mentor, though. I feel as if everyone at UTCVM has mentored me along my way and has played an integral role in my development as a veterinarian. 

What is one of your favorite memories during your time at UT? 

Joining Dr. Misty Bailey and Emily Ford at the Elton John concert at Thompson-Boling Arena shortly after my mother had passed away. It was such a thoughtful gift from her and a way to get out and enjoy some time away from school given all that I had recently experienced.

How has being a UTCVM student impacted your life? 

Well, I initially applied to UTCVM in 2011. 12 years ago. After two rejections, I pursued a RN degree and worked for a few years at Vanderbilt in their Medical ICU before realizing that my heart was still in veterinary medicine. Applying to UTCVM in 2018 took a lot of courage. Being accepted that year when I didn’t think it was possible was a dream come true and a testament to my perseverance. Uprooting my life to move to Knoxville to be a UTCVM student had a significant impact on my entire life, but looking back, I wouldn’t change a minute of it. 

What are your plans for after graduation?

I will be joining an amazing team of individuals at Animalia Health and Wellness in Franklin, Tennessee, as a small animal general practitioner.  My fiancé, stepdaughter, and I will finally be together after four years of long distance. So, I’m looking forward to building our home in Columbia, Tennessee, with our cloister of cats, two cuddly dogs and a spectacular 10-year-old human child.

Hope holding a kitten
Hope holding a chinchilla