It’s safe to say that Allyson Pace has always had a passion for animals.
The Charlotte, North Carolina native has been riding horses ever since she was little, and in high school she even worked at an equestrian center assisting instructors and helping with barn tasks.
So when she got to CofC, Pace knew she wanted animals to play a role in her college experience. What she didn’t realize at the time was how her passion would connect her to the type of leadership opportunities that would carry her into a post-grad career.
Pace, a senior biology major, has captained the College’s Equestrian team, served as vice-president and then president of the Pre-Veterinary Society, and interned at East Cooper Animal Hospital in Mount Pleasant and Miller Animal Hospital in Charlotte, all while conducting and publishing research on Archaea microorganisms. It’s this combination of unique opportunities that has allowed her remain immersed in animal care while at the same time progressing forward with her professional and personal development.
So what’s next for Allyson Pace?
She found a way to keep doing what she loves. After graduating in May, she’ll move to London to attend the Royal Veterinary College of London and complete her Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine & Surgery (BVM&S), the British equivalent of the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree here in America.
We asked Allyson a few questions about how her time on campus helped shape her future trajectory, from the College’s stables to London and beyond:
What excites you most about your post-grad plans?
I’m most excited to start my journey of becoming a veterinarian in a different country while traveling around and experiencing different cultures. With the current COVID-19 pandemic, it has been impossible to travel. Going abroad has been something I’ve wanted to do all throughout college but I never had the chance to do it. Which is what led me to apply to a few veterinary medicine programs abroad and eventually helped make my decision.
How did the Honors College, and CofC in general, help prepare you for your next step?
The Honors College definitely stood out on my applications since it showed I could handle the rigor of further schooling, but mostly my friends and mentors have helped to prepare me for the next steps. I am on the equestrian team at CofC and a few of my teammates were in the Honors College which was so helpful to ask any questions or take advice from them. One of my friends even helped me with finding a research opportunity on campus!
What’s something you did during college that you never would have imagined yourself doing?
I probably would not have imagined myself being in the leadership positions I’m in today. I serve as the president of the Pre-Veterinary Society and captain of the Equestrian team. I took the Principles of Leadership Honors course in my junior year where we learned essential skills and qualities of a leader that I still use today. Both roles have taught me so much about working as a team and learning problem solving skills, which I believe stood out on my veterinary school applications.
If you could somehow bottle up one feature of life at CofC and bring it with you to London, what would it be?
I would definitely bring my equestrian team, both horses and teammates, with me if I could! The team has had such an impact on me and is the reason I came to CofC in the first place, so I owe a lot to the program. Going out to the farm for practices and continuing to do what I loved while competing on an athletic team was the highlight of college for me. I am even leaving my personal horse Enzo to be with the team next year!
If you could travel back in time and talk with your freshmen self, what advice would you offer about the college experience?
I would probably tell myself to worry less about grades, since not everything is about achieving the highest grade.
Our conversation with Allyson Pace is part of an on-going series called WHAT’S NEXT, where we highlight just a few of the extraordinary next steps for graduating Honors students. You can check out additional entries on our 10 Green Way blog.