Emelie Fogelberg, DVM

Dr. Emelie Fogelberg has lived and traveled throughout Europe. She was born in Gothenburg, Sweden, and raised in Spain. She always loved animals and by her teenage years had firmly decided to pursue a career in veterinary medicine. After spending a year studying in London, Emelie enrolled in the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, to pursue a Bachelor of Science in biological sciences.

Emelie was applying to schools in Europe when she heard about St. George’s University and began to research the School of Veterinary Medicine. “Once I found out about St. George’s University, it was my first choice,” she explains. “It was more exciting than school in Sweden or the United Kingdom…I take pleasure in traveling and exploring new cultures which is the reason why I went abroad for my studies.”

In 2008 Emelie enrolled in the four-year Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program. There were a mix of emotions— excitement and fear—about a place that was unknown and new to her. After three years studying in Grenada, Emelie completed her final clinical year at the Royal Veterinary College in London—one of St. George’s 29 veterinary affiliates around the world. There she was able to interact with students from a number of veterinary schools and compare her experience at St. George’s to that of her peers. Emelie discovered, “In comparison to other schools in the United Kingdom, St. George’s is more than up to par. We get more practical experience. We have professors who come from all over the world to teach us, and they are specialized in their fields.”

During her time in Grenada, Emelie took part in the biannual One Health One Medicine Vaccination Clinic where veterinary and medical students would join forces to provide services to the local population and their pets. “Dogs and cats got a general physical exam, were vaccinated against rabies and de-wormed and deflead as needed,” Emelie describes. “It was very rewarding being part of this as the locals were very appreciative for what we were offering them and their pets. It gave us students a chance to apply our knowledge to real cases at an early stage in our education.”

Emelie had no trouble adjusting to life in Grenada. She explains, “Being a bit adventurous, in Grenada I got the opportunity to climb Mount St. Catherine, attempted kite surfing and went sailing around the Caribbean islands.” In addition, she played for the women’s football team and joined Student Affiliation of the American Veterinary Medicine Association (SAAVMA) to help in fund raising, wet labs and socials events. In fact, she says, “I loved every minute I was there and I was really sad when I left.” Emelie left Grenada with life-long friends that she can now visit all around the world.

In 2010, as an honorary member of the Phi Zeta Society, Emelie graduated from the School of Veterinary Medicine and passed the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) Statutory Membership exam on her first attempt.

Now a registered member of the RCVS, she is more than content with her new position as a General Practitioner in southwest London. In the near future, Dr. Emelie Fogelberg plans to get certified in small animal surgery as well as spend a few months in Africa working on a wildlife reserve.

Published February 2011

Carolina Ortiz-Umpierre, DVM, CVA, CVH

It was at the very young age of 10 that first-generation American Carolina Ortiz-Umpierre knew that she was meant to be a veterinarian. While visiting family in Venezuela, a family cat was choking on a chicken bone and Carolina immediately leapt to its rescue. Her family was amazed by her quick reaction time and ability to dislodge the bone from the cat’s throat, and so what had been a “little girl’s fantasy of playing with puppies and kittens” revealed itself as her true calling. She went on to earn her associate’s degree in biology from Broward Community College in Davie, FL, and her bachelor’s degree in the same discipline from Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, FL. Walking to class one day she spotted a poster advertising St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine. She applied, was accepted, and embarked on “the best four years of [her] life.”

She notes with much enthusiasm the beauty of Grenada and the advantages of attending school there: “It is so full of life. It is a great place to go to school because there are not too many distractions, but there are plenty of rewards.” The rewards are something of which Dr. Ortiz-Umpierre is well aware, as she not only received a “hands-on experience and high level of education,” but met her future husband, a fellow veterinary medical student, while on the Island.

The ability to attend a different school for her final clinical year proved to be another life-changing experience for Dr. Ortiz-Umpierre. While at the University of Florida she took a certifying course in veterinary acupuncture, which she had become interested in while working as a veterinary technician prior to attending veterinary school. Upon graduation, she began an internship in acupuncture, also at the University of Florida, in the only program of its kind in the US. During her internship she worked under Dr. Huisheng Xie, a pioneer of veterinary acupuncture in the US. She became certified in Chinese herbal medicine and Tui Na, a form of Chinese massage. Since then, she has become a professor at the Chi Institute of Chinese Medicine which is a school that teaches veterinarians Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Upon completion of her groundbreaking internship, Dr. Ortiz-Umpierre worked as an associate veterinarian in a small animal practice where she was able to integrate Western and Eastern medicine: “I would perform a surgery on a patient and then use acupuncture for post-operative pain management.” She found this job to be rewarding, but wished to practice solely Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM). An opportunity arose when the University of Florida opened a new clinical assistant professor of acupuncture position. She will begin to practice alongside her former mentor Dr. Xie in January 2008. It is her goal to execute research in the area of TCVM in order to prove its clinical and therapeutic effects.

To further her goals, she and a group of TCVM practitioners began the American Journal of TCVM, which is the first of its kind in the US. She currently serves as co-editor-in-chief. Their mission is to promote evidence-based scientific research in the field of TCVM because “many practice TCVM and get great results, but as scientists would like to know from a pathophysiology perspective just how acupuncture works.”

Dr. Ortiz-Umpierre notes that she is eligible for the same opportunities as graduates of US veterinary medical schools, and was well prepared for her clinical year and national and foreign-graduate board exams. She is “forever grateful” to SGU for giving her the opportunity to fulfill her lifelong dream, and also meet her lifelong partner.

Raye Taylor, DVM

Her responsibilities are wide-ranging, which is part of the reason why Raye Taylor, DVM ’11, loves her job so much. The chief of staff at Banfield Pet Hospital in Maplewood, Minnesota, Dr. Taylor manages a facility that includes six doctors and 20 staff members between its three wards and surgical suite. Her duties combine being a mixed/exotics veterinarian and surgeon with training staff members in order to increase the quality of medicine performed.

“I love the diversity of my job,” said Dr. Taylor. “I love being able to both create the bond with patients as well as facilitate it for the rest of my team. We provide quality care for our patients and equip clients with the knowledge to make the right decision for their pets.”

Dr. Taylor joined Banfield shortly after graduating from SGU in 2011, and was promoted to chief of staff in February 2014. Her experience in Grenada has played a key role in her ability to handle a full workload at Banfield, which is located just outside the state capital of St. Paul.

“Going to St. George’s University is the best thing that I could have ever done,” said Dr. Taylor, who earned a Bachelor of Science in zoology from Iowa State in 2004, and a second bachelor’s degree in microbiology in 2006. “It was the perfect fit for me. I loved SGU and I loved Grenada. It opened me up to a whole new world and perspective, and I feel like I left there incredibly well-rounded.”

She appreciated the early hands-on opportunities that are built into SGU’s curriculum, both at the Small Animal Hospital as well as the Large Animal Facility. In addition, the University’s international faculty made itself available to students outside the classroom, and its student support services provide guidance for students during and after their time at SGU.

Dr. Taylor said that her class remained close throughout their time in Grenada, and took full advantage of the extracurricular opportunities during downtimes in their studies.

“Our class has tremendous camaraderie,” she stated. “We would go out and explore the island, engage with the community, and go for a hike in the rainforest or for a run.”

After three years in Grenada, she completed her clinical rotations at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, earning her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in 2011. Having had an extraordinary experience at SGU, Dr. Taylor often volunteers at St. George’s University information sessions in Chicago and St. Paul, as well as SVM webinars.

“St. George’s is an exceptional veterinary school,” she said. “No matter where you go, it’s going to be difficult. That SGU students can experience culture and balance a stressful education with a tropical island is a distinct advantage.”

Published October 2014

Lydia Doyle, DVM, MRCVS

Dr. Lydia Doyle has a passion for and dedication to the field of veterinary medicine that began at a very young age. Starting when she was 13 years old, she spent afterschool hours, summers, and later term breaks from St. George’s University, at the Barn Lodge Veterinary Hospital in Lancashire, United Kingdom. While at Barn Lodge, Dr. Doyle observed a myriad of clinical cases and participated in routine surgical procedures.

During her time at the Barn Lodge Veterinary Hospital she met her mentor, Dr. Austin P. Kirwan. He suggested Lydia apply to St. George’s University despite its distance from home. While Dr. Kirwan had no affiliation with the University at the time, he was aware of its evolving veterinary medical program.

Dr. Doyle entered St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine in 2000, thanks in part to a full-tuition scholarship and completed her final clinical year at University College Dublin, Ireland. In 2005, she became among the first students from the United Kingdom to graduate from SGU.

“While many of my friends in school in England felt the need to travel to other parts of the world, I was perfectly content with the pristine beauty and vibrant culture of Grenada,” she explained. Lydia believes the University’s most powerful attribute is the student body camaraderie—a shared ambition and focus among students. “The culture at St. George’s University was very accepting, with no prejudices or preconceptions. Every student shared the same goal, which helped set the stage for a successful and memorable experience.”

A native of Southport, United Kingdom, Lydia now calls Co Cavan, Ireland, home. It is there that she oversees a branch of a family-run mixed animal practice. Her academic accomplishments include the Veterinary Council Ireland Examination, the Statutory Membership Examination of the United Kingdom’s Royal College of Veterinary Medicine (RCVS) and the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination (NAVLE). She credits both the University and Dr. Kirwan for helping shape her future.

Dr. Lydia Doyle is a dedicated alumna who frequently participates in University events throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland, encouraging future students to follow her example and consider St. George’s University to achieve their dreams. She is grateful to the University for the support it provided her as a student and a graduate. She looks forward to one day returning to Grenada and making a contribution to the veterinary medical program at St. George’s University.

Published April 2009

Lian Doble, DVM

Dr. Lian Doble is originally from the United Kingdom and earned her Bachelor of Science in equine science from Imperial College London. Upon completing her undergraduate career, she spent a few years working on farming development and food safety and security. Although Lian found it exciting, she wanted the professional qualification as a veterinarian because it would bring a different perspective to scientific research. She explains, “After a few years of working I looked into veterinary medicine and saw all the opportunities. I was very keen on helping outside the actual practice and more in research and development.”

“The moment I arrived in Grenada I knew it was a special place,” describes Lian on her first impression of the island. “The school and people of Grenada were very welcoming. Maybe that’s because it is on a small island, but you get a family feeling from St. George’s.” In addition to receiving St. George’s University’s International Peace Scholarship, Lian received an Outstanding Student Award from the School of Veterinary Medicine for each year of Basic Sciences and the Fort Dodge award for Excellence in Large Animal Medicine.

“Veterinary school can be stressful, but the environment is very conducive to studying and learning. You have the beach to relax you and a lot of support. Not once did I feel deserted or alone.” In addition to small class a size, Lian explains, “If you need any help you always have someone to go to. You never feel as though you are inconveniencing staff. I think we also get better lecturers— at other universities lectures often come second to other responsibilities of staff such as research.” In addition to early handson clinical experience, Lian took part in research activities through the on-campus research institute, Windward Islands Research and Education Foundation (WINDREF).

Lian took advantage of St. George’s strong international contacts by completing a master’s program at Makerere University in Uganda in conjunction with St. George’s. “SGU worked with Makerere University to set up this exchange so I could complete half my master’s in Uganda and half in Grenada,” she explained. She opted to complete her final year of clinical study at one of St. George’s affiliated hospitals at The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Edinburgh, where she had exposure to health care in a different learning environment.

In 2009, Lian was awarded MRCVS by examination. Currently enrolled as a PhD student at the University of Edinburgh, although based full-time in Kenya, Lian is sponsored by a Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council Doctoral Training Grant. She expects to earn her PhD in September 2012 and hopes to gain some postdoctoral assignment for a couple of years to solidify her research experience. Dr. Lian Doble states, “I would love to continue to conduct research in the field of zoonotic diseases. It would be my dreams come true to work with a big international agency dealing with veterinary public health, and how animal and human health related issues can be improved upon.”

Published January 2011

Laura Paasch, DVM

Dr. Laura Paasch has been around animals from almost the very beginning—sheep, goats, cows, horses, pigs, chickens, turkeys, and whatever she and her siblings could catch in the yard. She grew up on a small farm in Riverside, approximately one hour east of Los Angeles, and that’s where her interest in veterinary medicine was born.

“I grew up in a little utopia,” she said. “We had every kind of animal there, which I loved, and caring for them was always in my nature.”

Her love for animals has developed into a career, having earned her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from St. George’s University in 2007. She is now a veterinarian at Crossroads Animal Emergency Hospital in Huntington Beach, California, and at VCA South Shore Animal Hospital on Staten Island, New York.  She primarily treats emergency patients but also has time for well visits and vaccinations.

“Every day is a little different, but in the end, you’re responsible for taking care of anything that walks through the door,” she said.

Dr. Paasch came to SGU by way of California State University at San Bernardino, where she earned her Master of Science in biology in 2002. During her first term at SGU, Dr. Paasch learned she had been accepted to a US veterinary school near where she grew up. However, after going through a weeklong orientation there and careful consideration, she declined her seat at the US school to continue her education in Grenada.

I loved everything about SGU, and knew in my heart that it was where I wanted to be,” she said.

“I felt at home in Grenada as soon as I got off the plane. My classmates were such a great, diverse group of individuals, and the professors were always available. It just felt like I went away yet I was with family.  I am still close with many of my classmates, who remain dear friends.”

Dr. Paasch thoroughly enjoyed her three years in Grenada and her clinical year at North Carolina State. She ranked number one in her graduating class, earning summa cum laude distinction, and also became the first SGU veterinary medical student to be inducted into the Phi Zeta Veterinary Honors Society.

She not only has brought her expertise to the hospital setting but also to the classroom.
In addition to practicing veterinary medicine, Dr. Paasch has instructed microbiology courses at Riverside CC in California and LaGuardia CC in New York. She also gives back to SGU as a frequent guest at its information sessions, and still finds time to play drums in her band, the KeyTones. She hasn’t ruled out further training, perhaps working toward a PhD in microbiology or completing a residency.

Many years removed from the farm on which she grew up, Dr. Paasch still marvels at the fact that her dream of becoming a veterinarian has become a reality.

“Some days you drive home and think ‘Wow, I can’t believe this is my job,’” she said. “It’s a great job and it’s so rewarding to feel really good about what you get to do for a living.”

Published July 2013

Mary Parry, DVM

The news came in, and a wave of emotions overcame Mary Parry—joy, relief, excitement, pride. At Vetsim 2013 held at the University of Nottingham, the very institution at which she began her journey to a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, she learned that she had passed the rigorous Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons statutory examination, completing her lifelong mission of becoming a member of the Royal College.

“It was an incredible feeling,” Dr. Parry said. “I’d wanted to be a veterinarian since I was 3 years old so it truly was amazing.”

Mr. Austin Kirwan, assistant dean for UK clinical affairs at St. George’s University, saw Dr. Parry come full circle. In 2008, he interviewed her, then a prospective student, for the University of Nottingham’s pre-veterinary science program, a gateway to earning her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at SGU. Then at Vetsim, a conference at which prospective vet students can strengthen their application through clinical enhancement courses, Mr. Kirwan stood alongside Dr. Parry as she received the news.

“Mary has a dogged determination to achieve,” he said. “This is what St. George’s does—it takes people who are told they aren’t going to achieve something and turns them into veterinary surgeons. To witness it truly gives you the chills. For her to achieve what she’s achieved opens all these doors for her.”

Dr. Parry grew up in the Lake District in Cumbria, United Kingdom, and attended Sedbergh School, a co-educational boarding school. She entered the pre-veterinary science program at the University of Nottingham in September 2008 before going on to the four-year DVM program at SGU. In addition to her studies, Dr. Parry was president of SGU’s British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) student group, and students can take advantage of such opportunities as the dentistry and farriery wet labs, which are run through the University’s Large Animal Society (LAS).

She credits SGU’s Department of Educational Services (DES) for its guidance throughout her three years in Grenada.

“The DES at St. George’s is really helpful,” Dr. Parry said. “Visiting with the students that help there helps you focus and they’re happy to review the material with you to make sure you understand it. The professors also make themselves readily available outside of class.”

She went on to complete her clinical rotations at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies at the University of Edinburgh. Dr. Parry appreciated the practical aspect of the veterinary medicine program at SGU, which she felt prepared her for her clinical rotations at Edinburgh.

“I would recommend anyone to go to SGU without a shadow of doubt,” Dr. Parry said. “I’m convinced that, had I gone to a UK vet school, I probably wouldn’t have qualified. The education, experience, and support that I obtained at St. George’s was crucial to my success.”

A longtime horse enthusiast, she looks forward to continuing her career in diagnostic imaging at an equine practice. Dr. Parry has seen practice at The Dick Vet Equine Hospital in Easter Bush, as well as Westmorland Equine Vets, Church Walk Veterinary Centre, Alexander Veterinary Centre, and Preston & Bramley, all in Cumbria. In addition to her RCVS qualification, she has gained certification in both equine clinical nutrition and clinical small animal dentistry.

Published July 2016