Animal allergies would keep most people from pursuing a career in veterinary medicine. But at age 39, armed with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in food science and years of marketing experience, Susan Lowum, ’07 D.V.M., did exactly that.
“I always wanted to be a vet, and allergy meds were getting better and better,” she says. “So I got my first dog and started getting used to her.” Then she applied to the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine. Later, to overcome cat allergies, Lowum and her wife, Kerry Sarnoski, fostered four kittens.
Now an associate professor in the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, Lowum teaches in the clinic and routinely cares for dogs and cats. “Becoming a vet is the best thing I’ve ever done,” she says. Sarnoski, a business owner and longtime Animal Humane Society volunteer, encouraged her.
Their shared love of animals prompted the couple, already supporters of the U, to make a generous gift in their will to the college. Half will be used for scholarships. “Vet students often graduate with more than $100,000 in debt, but salaries aren’t high,” explains Lowum, a former scholarship recipient. The remainder will support service learning in community clinics and travel grants to further students’ clinical and cultural experience.