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Science and Animal Enthusiast Finds Outlet for Career Success at UAlbany

Honors College student Corine Giroux makes ready for Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine in the fall.

Biologist Gary Kleppel, director of UAlbany’s Biodiversity Conservation & Policy Program, works with Corine Giroux, who served as veterinary officer on his New York Department of Environmental Conservation livestock study.

ALBANY, N.Y. (April 15, 2013) — University at Albany Honors College senior Corine Giroux was raised on one of the largest poultry farms in New York State. In this setting, her love for animals blossomed. At age three, she was already pleading with her parents for her own horse.

This fall, the Chazy, N.Y. native is headed to the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University, one of the world’s leading veterinary schools. Giroux credits her background, talents, and University at Albany research opportunities for making it possible.

For the past year, Giroux has served as veterinary officer on biology professor Gary Kleppel’s NY State Department of Environmental Conservation-funded study “The Use of Livestock for Managing Invasive Species and Habitat Restoration.” Kleppel serves as the director of UAlbany’s Biodiversity Conservation & Policy Program, a multidisciplinary master's program which prepares students for careers that require knowledge of both ecology and public policy.

The biology major says the opportunities that both Kleppel’s study and the Honors College offered her proved invaluable. “I approached Gary Kleppel my sophomore year with zero research experience and was on my own project within a few weeks,” said Giroux. “The Honors College pushed me to go above and beyond, as it required me to write a senior thesis and complete an extensive project that I may not have done otherwise.”

Her Honors College thesis, “Judging the Effects of Grazing in Wild and Quasi-wild Landscapes on Livestock Health and Condition,” perfectly complemented Kleppel’s research.

“I think part of why I was accepted to Cornell is that I have unique experience working in agriculture that a lot of people don't,” she said. “Through my UAlbany education, I've gained invaluable experience performing health check-ups on sheep and even learning how to herd them.” She joked, “Not many people can list ‘shepherding’ on their resume.”

When her parents finally gave her a horse at age ten, she almost immediately began showing it. That passion also found expression at UAlbany; Giroux is a four-year member of the equestrian team, competing in about four shows per semester. “I’m not sure what kind of vet I’ll be some day, but I may very well end up back in agriculture or working with horses,” she said.

Her mentor at UAlbany has little doubt Giroux will find success, whatever her ultimate choice.

“Corine is the kind of student every professor hopes for — analytical, focused, and dependable,” said Kleppel. “She has made significant contributions to our research and I have every confidence she will be a force in veterinary medicine and animal science in the future.”