Faith Thomas, a senior in the Department of Animal Sciences, has been a part of many different extracurricular activities and work experiences on campus.
As an undergraduate research assistant in Sharon Donovan’s nutrition laboratory, Faith cares for the animals during piglet studies, works with histology slides in the lab, and is learning scientific techniques like DNA isolation.
Faith says her involvement in animal sciences at Illinois has provided her many opportunities and has opened her eyes to a multitude of paths.
“The U of I experience has in a way opened my eyes to new and different opportunities. I used to be focused solely on one path, but now I realize life is not always as simple as that,” Faith says. “I thought for a long time that I wanted to be a veterinarian, but when I went out of my comfort zone and joined a nutrition research lab, I realized I was much more interested in that field. I think a flexible attitude helps in building a well-rounded individual, which employers like to see.”
Faith also has worked as a zoo nutrition intern at the Brookfield Zoo.
“Normally I do nutrition research, but through this internship I had the chance to see the business and clinical side. Who else can say they got to be up close with a mother snow leopard and her cubs?” Faith says. “I got to see almost all animals and work with all of their diets. I made many close connections with zookeepers and curators, but the most interesting part was that I ran into a few U of I graduates!”
Faith believes the immense opportunities offered at U of I are unlike any other academic institution.
“I think this is one of the benefits of being a part of a large university—the opportunities really are endless,” Faith says. “The number of clubs and extracurricular opportunities available is astounding, and with study abroad experiences you can almost go anywhere and do anything.”