Dr. Adria Rodriguez, DVM ’08, MSc ’10 in Marine Medicine, MS TCVM, ACC, is an associate professor of small animal medicine and surgery, and professional development in St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine. She received her dual DVM and MSc from SGU. She also has a Master of Science in Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (MS TCVM) from Chi University in 2020 and is Certified Holistic Life, Career, and Executive Coach, Associate Certified Coach within the International Coaching Federation, and a practitioner in team coaching.
SGU: How are you using your degrees today?
Dr. Rodriguez: I supervise Term 5 SVM students in the Junior Surgery and Anesthesia Laboratory, who are learning small animal surgery, specifically on dogs. The MSc expanded my knowledge in research methods, statistics, and other fields, which has helped me in my role as an educator, clinician, and researcher.
In addition to teaching, I am involved in curriculum mapping, outcomes assessments, student and faculty affairs, and wellbeing. Other professional and research interests include professional development with a focus on wellness, leadership, individual and team coaching, integrative veterinary medicine, small animal surgery, and marine mammal medicine.
My dual degree was the start to the path that my professional career has taken, and I could not be happier.
SGU: You chose to specialize in marine medicine. Why does that field appeal to you?
Dr. Rodriguez: Marine mammals have been my favorite animals since I was very young. My favorite animal is the manatee. My dream was to be a veterinarian in an aquarium or anywhere marine mammals were kept. Ocean Spirits, Grenada-based organization, monitors and does research on leatherback, green, and hawkbill turtle populations. Other marine medicine opportunities include microbiology and shellfish, which was the focus of my research.
Life led me in another direction, yet I still believe that I will be able to work with marine mammals in the future.
SGU: How do you feel your dual degrees give you a unique advantage over other veterinarians?
Dr. Rodriguez: The skills and knowledge gained in performing evidence-based research by doing a dual degree are unique. These tools widen the lens and perspectives of practicing veterinary medicine. Not only have my dual degrees helped me to expand my knowledge of research but allowed me to mentor students and faculty who are pursuing their graduate degrees and gaining experience in research—as well as the bonus of having attained a requirement for promotion in academia.
SGU: Which faculty members were instrumental in helping you get to where you are today?
Dr. Rodriguez: Dr. Ravindra Sharma (former chair of SVM’s Department of Pathobiology) made it possible for me to be able to find a suitable project on the island and supported me throughout the process. Dr. Sharma opened the door for me to become a faculty member at SGU back in 2008, and I am still here today. I will be forever grateful to him.
SGU: What advice would you give to students considering this route?
Dr. Rodriguez: When considering a dual degree, be clear on your why, and make sure that it aligns with where you see yourself professionally. Do it because you want to do it and be realistic with your time management skills and finances. Will you be able to allot the time necessary to pursue both degrees and take care of your well-being while pursuing them? The dual degree curriculum is rigorous, and self-care is of utmost importance on your path to success.