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Undergraduate Student Spotlight: Nyla Cheesebourough

Nyla Cheesebourough is a veteran and a current student in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) studying animal sciences with a concentration in pre-veterinary medicine and a minor in entrepreneurship and military science. 

At the age of 18, Cheesebourough was in active duty in the Navy in Norfolk Virginia. After four years of active duty, she enrolled at Purdue University to study animal sciences.

Cheesebourough is currently in Purdue’s ROTC program. She joined because of her previous military background, and it provided her with a sense of comfort and belonging.

“The ROTC program is where cadets learn to become military officers and support our military. This is where cadets learn to be leaders and not only learn how to actually lead soldiers and sailors, but learn to be a better extension of themselves,” Cheesebourough explained.

Cheesebourough mentioned she has a passion for animal sciences because she enjoys interacting with and caring for animals. She had several reasons to attend Purdue to pursue her degree: her grandfather and Purdue’s veterinary school.

Cheesebourough stated that the animal sciences undergraduate program has many strengths. These strengths have helped her to pursue her career goals of becoming an army veterinary officer and afterwards owning a veterinary practice.

“Some strengths that the [animal sciences] undergraduate program has is their advisors who really care about students getting the classes and help that they need,” Cheesebourough said. “There’s all sorts of tutoring available to help students who struggle, and you know that you can always find an open ear if you’re having any issues.”

Cheesebourough is heavily involved in clubs, research, and much more at Purdue. She has been a member of many clubs: Women’s Army Cadets Club, Pre-Veterinary Club, Lifestyle Medicine Club, and Collegiate Cattlemen's Association. She has also been working with Michelle Tucker, DVM and PhD, on 3D printing a spinal cord, and she has been working at Canine Care Certified under Candace Croney, PhD.

Among Cheesebourough’s many accomplishments, she says learning to adjust to college life is her greatest one.

“In the military, [you learn] to have a certain mindset, and it’s kind of a serious one. Once I got to school, I learned that I could loosen up a little bit and just enjoy myself,” Cheesebourough explains. “Plus, I had to learn how to study.”

Cheesebourough also gave some advice for incoming students.

“Some advice I have for incoming students is to enjoy your time but also make sure that you study,” Cheesebourough said. “That is very important at the end of the day. You are here to learn, but while you learn, you can have a great time.”

The Purdue Animal Sciences Department is celebrating 125 years! As a part of the celebration, Cheesebourough was asked to upload a video congratulating the department.

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