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Dr. Kathleen Muckenhirn, Class of 2007

Posted: 9/14/2017

We caught up with Kathleen Muckenhirn, one of HSP's first alums to earn her doctorate, alongside Class of '07 grad Jennifer Devine. Coincidentally, both alums now work in veterinary medicine. 

How did your (academic, spiritual, social and athletic) experience at HSP help form you into the person you are today?  The teachers and my classmates at HSP always encouraged me to step outside of my comfort zone and push boundaries. This mindframe has stayed with me since graduation and has allowed me to face many challenges head on. The excellent academic curriculum at HSP prepared me for the difficult coursework at the Air Force Academy and the double course load after I switched my major in my senior year to finish at the University of Connecticut.

Was there a specific experience or particular teacher at HSP who kindled a desire in you to go into your field of choice? Both Mrs. Lee and Ms. Drake (now Mrs. Olsen) kindled a love for science and biology. I always looked forward to their classes and when it came time to choose a field of study, medicine was a no-brainer.

How do you hope to serve God and others through your field? As a veterinarian, I am uniquely placed to offer care and comfort to both families and their pets. Pets are now members of the family and I am honored to be trusted with their care.

What is your favorite memory from your time at HSP? I have a few favorite memories. Spending lunches playing cards and soaking up the sun outside the cafe with a few friends was a favorite pastime. Some of the more exciting memories include staying up all night for the senior prank and our yearbook committee nights at school finishing last minute details and having a shaving cream fight that ended in the fountain around 2am.

Tell us about your experience as an undergrad student. I had a bit of an unconventional undergrad experience. As an Air Force Academy cadet, I had opportunities to travel all over the world, including London, Hawaii, Japan, and Alaska. After a few injuries as a cadet, I finished my undergrad degree at the the University of Connecticut. At UConn, I had the opportunity to work with multiple research projects, including a sheep nutrition project which investigated the long term effects of maternal nutrition while pregnant on their lambs. After life threw me another curve ball, I took the opportunity to go to vet school in Prince Edward Island. Living for 4 years with our Canadian neighbors taught me to be grateful for things I had previously taken for granted and allowed me to experience a new culture.

Can you tell us about a recent experience that you will always remember? I recently was a part of a volunteer trip to Nicaragua. While there, we offered veterinary care to the street dogs and cats as well as horses that are many people’s livelihood. The joy and gratitude these people expressed for something as simple as trimming their horse’s hooves was inspiring. I hope to be able to continue participating in volunteer opportunities through World Vets in needy communities.

What are your plans for the future? I am very excited to continue working with dogs, cats, and exotics as a vet. I hope to begin offering acupuncture, chiropractic, and physical therapy within the next few years. I also volunteer with the Humane Society and the Hogle Zoo here in Utah and hope to continue working with these great programs. I am currently living with my dog, cat, and bird but hope to find a lasting (human) relationship now that I have finally settled down.

Kathleen holds a B.S. in Animal Science from the University of Connecticut and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Prince Edward Island. She is an Associate Veterinarian at Banfield Pet Hospital, focusing on preventative care of dogs, cats, small mammals and birds, but also handling chronic disease, illness and injury cases. She currently resides in Salt Lake City.