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Barking Up the Right Tree

Biology degree facilitates move from crunching numbers to healing pets

Dr. Betsy Powers, ’08, has pulled off what is perhaps the ultimate career change, and she credits her Bridgewater State education with making it possible.

After 25 years as a tax accountant on Cape Cod, Powers was bored. Her husband sensed this and encouraged her to pursue her longtime dream of becoming a veterinarian. 

“It lit a fire in me,” recalled Powers, who now owns her own veterinary practice in a Charlotte, North Carolina, suburb. “The decision was made, and I never looked back.”

Which is why at the age of 50, Powers began studying biology at Bridgewater. The field was very different from the professional number crunching she was accustomed to doing. But she felt at home on campus and appreciated the small class sizes and personal attention. She also connected with fellow students, even though many were half her age.

Additionally, biology faculty such as Drs. Merideth Krevosky and Jeffery Bowen mentored her, helping open doors to undergraduate research and, ultimately, veterinarian school.

“They reached out to me and gave me the tools to help me build the resume I needed,” she said. “They gave of their time and they didn’t have to do that.”

 Powers excelled in the classroom and the lab, where she researched rat liver epithelial cells.

“She did everything right,” Krevosky recalled. “She was a great resource for our other undergrads. … She’s such a good example that it’s never too late to do what you want to do.”

After graduating, Powers spent 2 ½ years on the Caribbean island of St. Kitts at Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine and a year of clinical at Oklahoma State University.

“When I started at Bridgewater, I knew nothing,” Powers said.  “By the time I got to vet school, I knew what I was talking about.”

Earning her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree meant time away from family, a fact not lost on her now that she has her own business.

“A lot of people sacrificed a lot for me to get here,” she said.

Undoubtedly, they – along with her Bridgewater professors – are very proud.

“When I started this, I still did not believe I could do it,” Powers said. “My time at Bridgewater convinced me I could.”

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