Carmel Witte's road to the San Diego Zoo started with a big-time award.
“The summer between my freshman and sophomore year, I received an award from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to do original research with a professor at Illinois. I connected with one of the faculty members at the vet school and she seemlessly integrated me into her lab with graduate students.
"As an undergrad, I spent hours every week on the third floor of the Veterinary Medicine Basic Sciences Building participating in epidemiology research in the Department of Pathobiology.
"Of course, this made my 19-year old self feel like I was doing something pretty important on such a big campus. It turned out to be the most formative part of my U of I education and launched me into my career today.”