Compassion leads to large animal veterinarian profession for MPCC alum
March 11, 2019
Tiffany Hoaglund doesn't sleep much these days.
She doesn't have time.
As a large animal veterinarian in a state where cattle outnumber residents nearly four-to-one, Hoaglund's nights are filled with pulling calves, prolapses and C-sections.
She wouldn't have it any other way.
"Despite the long hours, this is my favorite time of year," Hoaglund said. "I love baby calves, and I really like working with ranchers. They are some of the best people in the world."
Hoaglund works for Ward Veterinary Services in Valentine, Neb. Caring for others is her dream come true.
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"When I was in high school, I toyed between becoming a vet and becoming a doctor," Hoaglund said. "I grew up on a ranch at Brady, so loved working with cattle. I was also really interested in the sciences, so being a veterinarian was a great way to put them both together."
Mid-Plains Community College was her first choice after she graduated from Brady High School in 2009. Not only were the class sizes similar to the ones she was used to, but her education was paid for with a volleyball scholarship.
"I think living in Lincoln would have been a little stressful for me as an 18-year-old," Hoaglund said. "I was a farm kid who liked to be able to go home on the weekends. MPCC eased me into the idea of being further away. Plus, I knew that I was going to school for eight years total. If I could get two of those years paid for — that was great."
Hoaglund got all of her prerequisites, chemistry and physics classes out of the way before leaving Mid-Plains with an associate of science degree in 2011. Her credits transferred seamlessly to Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln, which she attended for half the price thanks to academic scholarships.
Hoaglund went on to earn a bachelor's degree in biology from Wesleyan in 2013 then entered the Nebraska/Iowa State Professional Program in Veterinary Medicine. She spent the first two years of the program taking classes at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, and the last two at Iowa State University. She received her doctor of veterinary medicine degree in 2017.
"After that, I knew I wanted to be back in a small town that was moderately close to home," Hoaglund said. "Valentine is about the best place in the world for what I do."
Valentine is located in Cherry County — the nation's No. 1 beef cow county with nearly 166,000 cows. That's more than enough to keep Hoaglund in business during calving season.
"I'm really happy with where I ended up and with the start I had," Hoaglund said. "I would recommend Mid-Plains to anyone. I think some people want to do all four years of college in one place, but now that I'm in debt from vet school, I'm very thankful I'm not in debt from undergrad, too. I wouldn't have traded my time at MPCC for anything." ❖