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Young alumna assumes leadership roles quickly

katieDr. Katie Garrett ’03 says she had all the right influencers in her life. Her parents encouraged her fascination with horses by facilitating riding lessons. Her teachers nurtured her scientific interests. And the veterinarians who allowed her to ride with them inspired her to pursue her dreams.

“I’ve had excellent mentors at every stage of my life,” said Dr. Garrett. “I wouldn’t be where I am right now if it weren’t for all of them, looking out for me and guiding me.”

Today, Dr. Garrett is repaying that mentorship by stepping forward in a variety of ways. She recently agreed to serve as a member of the College’s Alumni Association Executive Board. In addition, she has agreed to help plan the 2012 American Association of Equine Practitioners annual convention. As the chairperson of the Educational Programs Committee, Dr. Garrett helped review proposals, recruit speakers, and select topics for discussion at various break-out sessions.

“We received about 250 abstracts for consideration, and approximately 80 will be included in the program” said Dr. Garrett, who is working with the convention’s program chair and AAEP president-elect Dr. Ann Dwyer ’83. “Each of them describes some of the newest thinking in our field. No one can read them all, but I tried to read as many as I could. The work that is being done to help improve life for horses is fascinating.”

Dr. Garrett’s interest in horses dates back to her childhood.

“I grew up riding horses and competing in hunter/jumper competitions,” said Dr. Garrett, explaining that although her parents likely believed her interest was a phase, they humored her. “I’ve always wanted to be a veterinarian.”

That interest was solidified when she began riding with equine doctors from the Genesee Valley Equine Clinic as a senior in high school. All Cornell-trained, Dr. Garrett said she was impressed with their technical prowess, incredible commitment to customer service, and genuine interest in their patients and clients.

After earning her veterinary degree, she completed an internship with Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Kentucky. Although she initially expected to return to the northeast, her colleagues and clients at Rood and Riddle and the opportunity to work with incredible athletes enticed her to stay at Rood and Riddle. She spent some time in ambulatory medicine, completed a residency in surgery and today works in diagnostic imaging.

“I’ve always loved puzzles,” said Dr. Garrett. “My images offer clues to what’s ailing our patients and can provide insights into how best to heal them and get them back to work. Beyond that, though, much of diagnostic imaging is based on physics, and science was one of the aspects of this profession that I found attractive.”

When she’s not at Rood and Riddle, Dr. Garrett is likely at home with her horse, Earl, a retired steeple chase runner who suffered a tendon injury before Dr. Garrett adopted him.