Published on 09/26/18

UGA transfer student finds her path to vet school through the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

By Sage Barnard

From farmhand to future veterinarian student, Cassie Powell has dreamed of working with animals for a long time.

This spring, Powell was selected for the University of Georgia’s Food Animal Veterinary Incentive Program (FAIP), a specialized program for preveterinary students. The program guarantees students' admission into UGA’s College of Veterinary Medicine if they agree to study food animal veterinary medicine. The program also helps to ease the transition from undergraduate classes to veterinary school and helps cover some of the cost of tuition.

Powell is the first person to enter the program as a transfer student. She graduated from Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College with an associate’s degree in May and now attends class at UGA in Athens.

She grew up in Johnson County, Georgia, on her family farm, where everyone helped work with the animals. Her grandfather owned a feed and fertilizer store and raised cattle, which piqued her early interest in agriculture.

Powell raised and competed with cows for seven years and show pigs for 12. Her experience showing animals helped her ti realize her passion for caring for them. She became convinced that, in the agriculture industry, the humane treatment of animals is paramount.

She has done everything from shadowing her hometown veterinarian to pulling blood for animal blood testing, and she’s even helped birth a calf. 

“Experiences like these are just assurance that I want to be a food animal veterinarian. I am determined to become one, because it is more than a passion for me,” Powell said.

The practice of food animal veterinarians is declining, according to the American Veterinary Medicine Association, so students like Powell are crucial to the future success of the field. For this precise reason, the UGA FAVIP is committed to students in order to obtain future food animal veterinarians for underserved communities. The goal is to help ensure safe, healthy and prosperous food animal production in the future.

Although Powell’s exact career path is yet to be determined, she knows that she’s on the right track to turn her passion for animals and their well-being into the career of her dreams.

For more information about UGA’s FAVIP, visit


Sage Barnard is a student writer for the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and UGA Cooperative Extension.

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