Hometown: Dayton, Ohio
After one campus tour at The University of Findlay, Megan Cecil knew she would be an Oiler. The animal science and western barns and the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in her freshman year were large attractions for her.
“I remember telling my parents ‘I’m done touring schools; this is it,’” she said.
Following graduation, Cecil will take a unique path as a pre-veterinary medicine major. She will work on animal behavior, conservation and animal welfare research projects in a six-month professional internship at Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom.
“I will be working with all different animals there, but in the first project, I will be studying the behaviors of giraffes, such as necking,” said Cecil. “This is my dream job; I have wanted to work with giraffes since I was little. Being able to watch and learn more about giraffes while at Disney is a dream come true.”
Cecil feels that she would not have gained as many opportunities or connections inside and outside of the classroom if she had not attended UF. She stated that her biggest mentor has been Linda Peck, D.V.M., professor of biology and director of animal science.
“She has always been there for me when I need advice, career guidance or just someone I could share great news with,” Cecil said. “I have also had great relationships with Dr. Jessica Wooten and Professor Christopher White. They have both given me opportunities that have opened doors for my future and gotten me to where I am today.”
Brian Treece, Ed.D., assistant dean of students and director of residence life, and Rachel Walter, director of housing, have served as Cecil’s mentors outside of the classroom.
Throughout Cecil’s college career, she has gained hands-on experience through numerous internships and research. She has served as a veterinary assistant at a local animal shelter and conducted undergraduate research at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.
“For my most recent internship, I moved to Texas for the summer and worked at an exotic cat refuge as an animal care intern. As part of my internship, I was able to give educational tours to the public and train a Siberian Tiger,” she said. “Working for Tiger Creek Wildlife Refuge opened up new career possibilities and new connections.” Read more about that experience here.
During Cecil’s time at UF, she was named the 2013-2014 Homecoming Queen and has been a part of Pre-Vet Club and Habitat for Humanity. She has also served as a student ambassador, resident assistant and holds a resident director position. “Residence Life has been a constant in my life for three years and has helped me grow professionally and personally,” she said.
Cecil’s best memories at UF have been spending time with friends and attending events on UF’s campus. She encourages others to try new things, join clubs, stay on campus over the weekends and to not be afraid of change.
“Try new things and don’t limit yourself to what you think you can do,” Cecil said. “I have gained leadership skills with the different activities I have been involved in and a lot of great qualities that will help me in my future career.”