Melissa Billing

Tell us about your background.

I wanted to be a veterinarian since I was six years old.  However, I was most familiar with small animal medicine until after graduation from Wilmington College of Ohio, when I went to work on a local sow farm.  That is where I fell in love with pigs and population medicine!  Soon I entered vet school with a budding interest in swine medicine.  When I graduated from The Ohio State University, College of Veterinary Medicine, I headed to North Carolina to work as a swine production veterinarian for the largest hog production company in the world.  It was a wonderful experience!  After 10 years in NC, I was able to return to my hometown in Ohio and now I am employed by Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health working as Key Account Veterinarian.  In addition, I am active in the American Association of Swine Veterinarians (AASV) serving on the Board of Directors. 

How did you become interested in the Master of Veterinary Science degree program?

I was really drawn to the fact that the program is completely online.  I am a busy working mother with two teenage daughters and a full-time job plus I am active in our church and the community.  Earning an additional degree seemed impossible before this program.

Tell us about your favorite course in the program?

I really enjoyed all the classes that I took at the University of Illinois.  One of my favorite classes was VCM 562 because we were assigned to work in small groups with other students in the program.  I appreciated getting to meet the other people in my class (even if it was virtually).  I also really liked VCM 565 because it was challenging but on the other hand it was also very practical.  I will incorporate my learnings from this class to design better scientific studies.  

Now that you are finishing the degree program, what will you do next?

I plan to stay in the swine industry and utilize the knowledge I have gained to help producers and other veterinarians.  I feel that this program has equipped me with the skills to provide scientific and practical solutions for the swine industry.

What is one thing about the program you would say to someone considering this degree?

This program is very manageable!  I often thought about getting a Master’s degree or an MBA but I didn’t know how I would be able to fit it in while working full time and raising a family.  I am so thankful that I found a way to achieve my goal without interfering with my other responsibilities.