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Northwest Missouri State University


Student Spotlight

T'Lee Ray, Tyler Harris and Mary Nuernberger

T'Lee Ray, Tyler Harris and Mary Nuernberger

May 2, 2014

Northwest graduates taking education to top veterinary school

By Samantha Cole, media relations assistant

Not one, but three Northwest Missouri State University graduates have been accepted to Iowa State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and will attend there in the fall.

Tyler Harris, Mary Nuernberger and T’Lee Ray have taken different paths to earning their bachelor’s degrees from Northwest and gaining acceptance to one of the nation’s most competitive and successful veterinary schools.  

Ray, a native of Creston, Iowa, completed her degree in animal science with a pre-vet emphasis. After all, she’s known since kindergarten that she wanted to be a veterinarian.

At Northwest, she worked as a lab assistant in the Department of Natural Sciences, a residential assistant and desk assistant in South Complex, and she was a member of Delta Tau Alpha and the Honors Student Association.

Ray also spent a lot of her time at Northwest’s R.T. Wright University Laboratory Farm and says some of her fondest memories of Northwest were made there. Operated by Northwest’s Department of Agricultural Sciences, the 448-acre Wright Farm provides students with a number of hands-on experiences that include managing beef, swine, dairy, poultry and sheep herds.

“I grew up around agriculture and I’ve always loved it,” Ray said. “I’m extremely nervous for this journey, but I’m confident that the experience I’ve gained at Northwest has fully prepared me to be the most successful student I can be. Working on the farm, I was given basically everything I needed to know and everything was so hands-on.”

Nuernberger decided as a college sophomore that she wanted to be a veterinarian. Now the Bettendorf, Iowa, native has completed her degree at Northwest in biology with a zoology emphasis.

At Northwest, she worked as a lab assistant in the Department of Natural Sciences and a Freshman Seminar peer advisor. She also was a member of student organizations such as Beta Beta Beta, Ultimate Frisbee Club, Honors Student Association, Cardinal Key and Mortar Board. 

“Northwest has given me so many opportunities, and I’ve had a great set of mentors to help me along the way,” Nuernberger said. “Serving on the executive board of Beta Beta Beta and the Honors Student Association has given me leadership experience and allowed me to meet so many new people. I’ve been able to conduct research here that prepared me for what I’m going to be doing at Iowa State.”

Harris, a Cook, Neb., native took a different path to Northwest, beginning his education in computer programming at a community college in Nebraska. After realizing the field wasn’t for him, he withdrew from the college and began working for a construction company. During that work, however, Harris learned of a shortage of large animal veterinarians in the region, and it sparked his interest. He enjoys the field of agriculture and knew animal science was something he wanted to pursue.

While the students’ journeys to earn their degrees at Northwest were different, all three share a thankfulness for their experiences and a confidence that they will be successful in their careers because of those experiences.

“We’re definitely going to miss it here and how personal everything is,” Nuernberger said. “It’s true that we’re all one big family. If I had to go back and do it all over again, I would still choose Northwest.”


For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
mhorn@nwmissouri.edu | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468