Laura Snow

Laura Snow, class of 2024, grew up in Connecticut, but chose UMass due to its vast opportunities and hands-on guarantees in research and animal handling. She has taken full advantage of everything UMass has to offer, pursuing dual degrees in Biology and Pre-Veterinary Science, minors in Creative Writing, Microbiology, and Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, as well as being a member of the Commonwealth Honors College. Having aspired to be a vet all of her life, UMass' great professors and exciting classes only solidified her passions in veterinary medicine and encouraged her to explore veterinary research, including One Health initiatives and microbiology. Laura was fortunate to be accepted into Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine in her sophomore year through the Bachelors/DVM Early Acceptance Program, and will begin attending in Fall 2024. 

Laura's freshman fall semester was spent online due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but she was a member of the Biology Talent Advancement Program (BioTAP), a RAP that allowed her to make close friends and feel connected after moving in for the spring semester by living and attending class with the same people. She quickly became involved, working at the UMass Hadley Farm the summer after, where she pet her first sheep. She has since gained invaluable livestock experience, becoming an expert in handling sheep, goats, horses, pigs, and cows. She learned skills in knot-tying, pasture rotations, medication administration, hoof-trimming, fecal analysis, kidding, lambing, farrowing, calving (at the UMass Deerfield Farm), tail docking, ear tagging, and castrations, to name a few.

Her sophomore year, she was a teaching assistant for Animal Science 101 (Intro to Animal Science) and 103 (Intro to Animal Management) under Dr. Beltaire. She loved teaching so much that she continued being a teaching assistant for Animal Science 220 (Anatomy & Physiology) her junior year under Dr. Cousin. In Spring 2022, she was the Coordinator for the first Baystate Livestock Classic since the pandemic, responsible for marketing, merchandise, overseeing showing practice, events, transportation, and competed in the poultry showing division with her pullet hen, Chicken Pox. She now serves as a VASCI Peer Advisor and Student Ambassador, always eager to help other students. 

Laura joined the Riley Lab in the Biology Department also during her sophomore year, where she learned amazing microbial techniques and developed projects from start to finish as this lab is undergraduate-only. The Riley Lab researches bacteriocins, small proteins naturally produced by bacteria to kill competing bacteria, as a treatment for common bacterial diseases and a potential solution to antibiotic resistance. Nisin, an FDA-approved bacteriocin, is natural, non-toxic to humans, extremely effective in small doses, and difficult to develop resistance to. As a member of this lab, Laura has contributed to projects in using Nisin to cure Bacterial Speck of Tomato caused by Pseudomonas syringae, exploring the killing ability of Nisin to kill many Gram Negative species, the ability of Nisin in feed pellets to prevent Cholera infections in shrimp, and her thesis project: creating antibiotic sutures using Nisin to prevent and treat surgical site infections caused by E. coli, Staphylococcus epidermidis, Staphylococcus aureus, MRSA, and Klebsiella Pneumoniae. So far, her endeavors have been successful, and she has presented at the UMass Undergraduate Research Conference (URC) three times. 

The summer after her sophomore year, she worked as a veterinary assistant in a small animal emergency room, using skills learned from being a veterinary assistant in high school at a small animal general practice clinic, as well as learning new ones, such as performing physical exams, urinalysis and various bloodwork, cornea staining, blood pressure, EKGs, radiographs, CPR, IV catheter insertion, and more. Her junior year, she studied abroad in New Zealand, experiencing the magnificent natural beauty and myriad of sheep, cattle, and alpaca farms. While there, she took a quick trip to Australia to learn about koalas and kangaroos, traveling independently for the first time and enjoying hostel life. After junior year, she was a teaching intern in the Riley Lab for the Summer Research Intensive where she taught both international and local high schoolers microbial techniques and helped them develop experiments and posters to present at a concluding conference. 

Laura is grateful to have been on the Dean's List every semester, and was awarded the Chancellor's Scholarship, the Sherwood-Delaney Scholarship, the Doctors Irving & Joan Ratner Endowment Fund, and the Richard and Sandra Johnson Scholarship. Her efforts are not without tremendous hard work and time management struggles. 

Outside of academics, Laura is a volunteer firefighter in the Amherst Fire Department Student Force. She loves reading fantasy, writing poetry, and arts and crafts. She is a member of the Association of Women in Science and the Bi/Pan/Queer Collective, and has participated in the Pre-Vet & Animal Science club, UMass poetry club, and UMass Astronomy club. Consequently, she has not regretted her decision to attend UMass at all - it's where she feels most at home.