The little wildlife vet

The little wildlife vet

As a kid, Carlos Franco (animal ecology) thought that veterinarians just dealt with cats and dogs. It made sense to him because that is what he saw. He asked neighbors to baby-sit their pets and walked or played with rescues at the shelter, which earned him the nickname “the little vet” from his family. Even though he liked companion animals, he was drawn to wildlife documentaries on the Discovery Channel and Animal Planet,  and chased after Coqui, a native toad from Puerto Rico, to show his parents before releasing it into the wild again.

When Carlos came to Iowa State, he took classes on everything from basic handling of livestock to the behaviors of animals which will help him better read his animal patients and other animals in the wild.  Though he has taken classes at Iowa State to learn about all the animals he loves, it is a research methods class that captured his attention. In fact, that class opened Carlos’s eyes to the value of research and put him on the path to a job as a research assistant at Iowa State to a faculty member at the College of Veterinary Medicine.

Students in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) take classes from the people who wrote the textbook and have the chance to be student researchers in the lab. As a job, volunteer, or in a program like Science With Practice, students learn just how important research is to their knowledge of the world.