Get to Know

Get to Know Courtney Hayes

Dr. Courtney Hayes

Dr. Courtney Hayes is the Assistant Director AACUP Veterinarian and Clinical Associate Professor of Veterinary Clinical Medicine.

When did you begin working at the College of Veterinary Medicine?
I joined the College of Veterinary Medicine in March 2017 after being in private practice in upstate New York.

Describe your role at the college.
I have a somewhat unusual schedule. Ten percent of my time is dedicated to the College of Veterinary Medicine; the other 90% of my position is through the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation, but there is a lot of overlap between the two. Essentially, I oversee the care of all the university-owned agricultural animals, including horses. I take vet students with me to the university farms and teach physical exams, technical skills, and go over vaccination protocols with them. I also help with some core courses such as 601/606 and 607, as well as lab animal electives.

Have you held any previous titles or responsibilities at the college?
This is my third stint at the University of Illinois. I graduated from Vet School here, and after a year in private practice in North Dakota, I returned and completed a residency in Food Animal Medicine & Surgery.

What is your favorite part of your job?
My favorite part of my job is the variety- the variety of projects and the variety of people. I have never been bored in this job. There are a ton of different projects that I’ve had the opportunity to work on, a lot of new skills that I’ve developed, and a lot of wonderful people that I have met. In addition to getting to work with and teach veterinary students, I also work with undergrads, graduate students, staff, vets and researchers from different states and countries and backgrounds, across many different disciplines. I still get to do clinical work, which I love, but my horizons have been broadened beyond just the Veterinary Teaching Hospital to a better understanding of our College as a whole, how we fit into the university, and how the university systems work. It has been a tremendous learning experience.

Complete this sentence: My most memorable day at work was…
…when I was locked in at the Beef and Sheep Research unit. We were helping with a project involving sheep that went way longer than expected. The manager at the time checked in with us (so he knew we were still there) and then proceeded to lock the perimeter fence when he left for the day! All of our equipment and vehicles were by the barn with us. By the time we realized this and called him, it was night, and he was in Monticello. The poor vet student I had brought with me had to call another student to pick her up and climb the fence to get out so she could make her ER shift.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
This time of year, I love water sports (swimming, kayaking, sailing, scuba diving). I also like hiking, reading, watching movies, and hanging out with my son. I’m trying to share my love of road trips with him, and I took him to his first rodeo this summer.

What is something your co-workers may be surprised to know about you?
I am a huge NASCAR fan. And, a wine snob. You can’t spend fifteen years in the Finger Lakes of New York and not become one or the other. I became both.

What is one thing on your bucket list?
I have a lot of travel destinations on my bucket list, but one specific thing I would like to do is go hot-air ballooning.

Do you have a favorite restaurant or place in the Champaign/Urbana area?
I really like Sunsinger, but I also like the downtown area. There are a ton of places I have not tried yet, so if anyone wants to go exploring C-U, hit me up.

Aside from necessities, what one thing could you not go a day without?
My gut reaction is coffee, but I’m not too sure that is not a necessity.

Do you have any pets?
Yes, too many! I have two dogs, both German shepherds, Indy and Chief. Chief was a junior surgery dog I adopted during the pandemic. I also have four cats, Captain Orange, Sugar Pop (not pictured), Tippy, and Elf. It’s actually L.F. rather than Elf, but I was trying really hard not to swear in front of my son; I’ll let you figure out that abbreviation. Last but definitely not least, I have three cows, Genny, Pepper, and Sprite.

Captain Orange
Indy and Chief
Genny, Pepper, and Sprite