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May 19, 2021

Animal Advocate


The veterinary aspirations of Kaylee Zabava ’21 began, literally, from Day One. “When I was born, my family actually had three dogs at one time,” she says.

“I came to tour the campus, and my mom and I both fell in love with how beautiful it is and the really in-depth, proactive Honors Program. It was just an amazing experience with Heather Hayton [Honors Program Director] that I’ve had for the past four years.”

Kaylee Zabava
Biology, Health Sciences double major

Those first three furry friends were the beginning of a lifelong love for animals and concern for their well-being. 

The Biology and Health Sciences double major and Honors Program scholar plans to go to veterinary graduate school. Because of the strong academic advising at Guilford and Kaylee’s dedication to gaining as much veterinary experience as possible, her future in the field is bright.

“Michelle Malotky is my adviser, and she always kept me on schedule,” Kaylee says. “She made sure I was able to graduate on time and that I took all the classes I needed for my majors.”

In addition to her academic courses, Kaylee has worked at a veterinary clinic for the past five summers. Last year she interned at Carolina Veterinary Specialists, where she worked in different specialty departments. “Because of that experience I’m thinking of specializing in either day practice, emergency, or radiology,” she says.

Guilford Years

After seeing her play at a recruiting event, the Women’s Soccer coach invited Kaylee, a forward, to visit Guilford.

“I came to tour the campus, and my mom and I both fell in love with how beautiful it is and the really in-depth, proactive Honors Program,” she recalls. “It was just an amazing experience with Heather Hayton [Honors Program Director] that I’ve had for the past four years.”

Kaylee also notes that Biology Professor Melanie Lee-Brown was a big help with her senior thesis research. “I've had many classes with her,” she says. “As a professor, she’s always pushed me to the fullest, making sure I got all of the education I could out of her courses.”

Soccer was another big part of Kaylee’s college experience. “It was really nice to have a set group of girls, a set group of friends, coming into school,” she says. “Having a schedule for soccer also kept me on track with my discipline and time management.”

Last spring, Kaylee was elected secretary of Guilford College ROAR, Reaching Out for Animal Rights. ROAR is a student group focused on serious issues mixed with fun and caring for animals and the environment. She also worked in the Athletics and Admission departments.

Paying It Forward

For students interested in veterinary medicine, Kaylee recommends they get as much experience as possible in high school. 

“Get into the field as an assistant or volunteer or look for an opportunity shadowing a doctor to get a feel for what the veterinary medicine field is,” she explains. “I learned there are a lot of different things that can go wrong. You see a lot of suffering and pain with animals, and that’s not something that you really realize when you go into it just wanting to help animals.”

Reflecting on what drew her to the veterinary field, Kaylee says, “I want to be an advocate for pets, making sure I educate owners on how to best and properly care for the animals and then try to figure out what they need.”

Do you dream of becoming a veterinarian? Learn more about Guilford's sciences and the pre-veterinarian medicine program during your personalized visit to campus. Contact the Office of Admission at 336.316.2100 or admission@guilford.edu to learn more.