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Photo: Muscogee (Creek) citizen Layna Tarpalechee graduated from Oklahoma State University with a doctorate in veterinary medicine and a master’s in business administration on May 8. She began work in Broken Arrow, Okla., as a veterinarian. (Submission)
Citizen graduates, begans profession as veterinarian
Darren DeLaune/Multimedia Specialist
Tarpalechee helps patients who cannot tell you where it hurts
OKMULGEE, Oklahoma — Graduation is an important time in a person’s life. Not only that but what the person plans on doing after school is equally important.
With the Covid-19 pandemic that is sweeping the world, everyone is adapting to staying at home, working from home, online shopping, online schools and also, virtual graduation.
Muscogee (Creek) citizen Layna Tarpalechee recently reached two important milestones when she graduated with a doctorate in veterinary medicine and also with her master’s in business administration from Oklahoma State University.
“I am finally glad that I graduated and I am ready to start work,” she said. “I don’t like the situation with how we all graduated but we made it work.”
Being a veterinarian was not Tarpalechee’s first choice.
“I had dogs growing up and other animals but this was something I was not thinking about it as a profession.”
She was going into psychology and social work for her major but it did not pique her interest.
“I took some courses that helped me steer into this direction to where I thought that maybe I could go and help animals.”
From there, Tarpalechee began shadowing veterinarians at an equine practice (veterinarians for horses) and had an incredible opportunity to go out of the country to help others.
“I was able to go to Thailand to work on elephants,” she said. “From there, it really solidified that I enjoyed what I was doing and this is what I wanted to do after school.”
She said shadowing others in the same profession helped her immensely.
“They threw me right into everything,” Tarpalechee said. “If I didn’t know how to draw blood from horses, I was learning that day. They gave me the best approach for it.”
Tarpalechee said that hands-on-learning was the best way for her to learn.
“I’m more comfortable working with animals because of that,” she said.
She explained that dealing with animals, unlike humans, cannot tell you where the pain is when the veterinarians do a checkup.
“Physical exams are what we go to when it comes to dealing with the animals and what problems they have,” Tarpalechee said. “Observation comes into play and getting your hands on the animal to find the ailment.”
Tarpalechee began work the week after her graduation at a place she knows very well because of a previous externship that she done with the clinic.
“I will be starting at Village Vet Animal Clinic (VVAC) in Broken Arrow (Oklahoma), she said. “I have been there to do my externship and I really enjoyed it there. The doctors there keep me informed and updated with all the animals that we will be seeing.”
Assistant Chief Operating Officer Michelle Daniel of VVAC said they are excited for Tarpalechee to start with them.
“She is already family,” Daniel said. “The entire staff, from the owner of the practice to our kennel technicians are comfortable with and like Layna.”
Tarpalechee said she would like to thank Muscogee (Creek) Nation for all that they have done to assist her on her educational voyage.
“The tribe helped me with my school and helped me go to Thailand.” she said. “They have done so much for me to get me where I am today.”
Although she, like others had a virtual graduation, in December she gets to do something that she is looking forward to doing with the rest of her class.
“I get to walk across the stage in December with my class,” Tarpalechee said.
Daniel said VVAC is looking forward to growing together with Tarpalechee.
“Dr. Tarpalechee is at home at Village Vet Animal Clinic,” Daniel said.
Tarpalechee’s parents are Jennifer Waters and Brian Tarpalechee.