Q: Welcome! Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and your time at Alma College?
A: Hi! My name is Abigail Scharboneau and I graduated with the Class of 2018 with Bachelor of Science degree with a double major in biology and chemistry. Since Alma, I attended the Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine, where in 2022 I graduated with my Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. I currently work at State Road Animal Hospital, just outside the city of Alma. I’ve been there for about 1 1/2 years now!
Q: How did Alma College prepare you, academically speaking, for what you found at graduate school and in your professional life?
A: The academics at Alma are not easy, which is a really good thing. The work that I put into getting my degrees at Alma prepared me for the rigors of going into a graduate level program — I was ready to put in the work, and that is half of the challenge. I also found that what I studied in undergrad was very relevant to what I studied in graduate school. Beyond that, I had a lot of interesting experiences. I went to Costa Rica for Spring Term with Dr. Sarah Neumann to study poison dart frogs, and I ended up being asked about it during the graduate school interview process. It’s really beneficial for undergraduates to have something like that on their applications.
- Read more about what our Pre-Health faculty and staff at Alma College do to ensure students get what they need to be successful in grad school and beyond.
Q: Getting into graduate school — the application and the interview process — can be very challenging. What was that experience like for you? Did you find that Alma College prepared you well for that, as well?
A: Absolutely, Alma helped me out a lot. As I was going through the process to apply for grad schools, a lot of them were switching from a one-interview process to doing multiple interviews with a scenario basis. It was new to me and a lot of other people I knew. So, the office that is currently known as the Career and Personal Development Office tapped some alumni to come in and do mock interviews with me, so I could practice. It was a big lift on their part and really helpful to me.
I believe Alma is doing even more now to prepare students for this experience than they were when I was a student. The Pre-Health Professions Committee does an amazing job I think it’s a huge credit to the co-chair of that committee, Dr. Nancy Dopke — a powerful woman in STEM and a wonderful professor. The PHPC gives you that 1-on-1 time that larger universities just can’t offer.
Q: I understand you considered doing undergrad at some larger universities before you chose to come to Alma. What went into that decision?
A: Right! I’m from Dundee, Mich., which is a small town near Ann Arbor. I toured a couple of larger universities for undergrad and found myself completely overwhelmed. The small-school environment was great for me. I made lifelong friends and met my future husband, Spenser Congram ’19, at Alma. It’s a really special place for me personally, but it’s also somewhere that I would recommend to anyone who is considering a career in a pre-health field.
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