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Washington State University

Honors Student Profiles:
Summer Ott

Summer Ott with a cowSummer Ott is an Honors College student studying Animal Sciences and Spanish as she prepares for a career in veterinary medicine. Summer grew up in Seattle, Washington, where her fondness for animals and interest in science began. Knowing she wanted to become a veterinarian, Summer looked into Washington State University while searching for colleges. She was very interested in the Honors College Seven-Year Veterinary Medicine program, loved the feel of the Cougar Family, and wanted a tight-knit community where she would be surrounded by other students who enjoyed learning. The WSU Honors College was a natural fit for Summer. Before attending WSU, Summer went on a Broadreach study abroad program in Costa Rica. There, she worked with veterinarians and wildlife biologists to check for fibropapillomas, take tissue samples, and do physical exams on sea turtles. On land, Summer worked with local farms to deworm their animals and also worked in local small animal clinics. Highlights of this experience include physical examinations on baby coatis and anteaters as well as making food puzzles to provide enrichment for monkeys. Summer also worked with a veterinarian on a ranch in Republic, Washington.

Also during that summer, Summer attended ALIVE!, WSU’s student orientation. At ALIVE!, Summer met with advisors who helped her plan classes for her first semester and beyond. This and ongoing advising sessions have helped Summer prepare for vet school and stay on-track to begin after completing her third year of undergraduate study, which is important for students in the Honors College 7-year program.

During her first semester, Summer became involved in the Pre-Vet Club and animal-related volunteering around Pullman. She volunteered at the Humane Society of the Palouse weekly, and occasionally at Orphan Acres, a local horse sanctuary.

During her second semester at WSU, Summer contacted the Honors College dean, Dr. M. Grant Norton, about research. That led to a connection that allowed her to plan her research for that summer. So, during the summer following her first year at WSU, Summer began her research with calves.

Also during that summer, she was an intern through the Hands-on Animal and Veterinary Experience Program (HAVEP), an internship started by two Honors College alumni. Through this program, Summer got to experience the life of a veterinarian by working and living with a dairy veterinarian. The wife of the dairy veterinarian is a small animal vet who now teaches and directs a veterinary technician program, so Summer gained that perspective, too, while also learning about managing different types of veterinary practices.

Summer was invited to apply to the Honors College Seven-Year Veterinary Medicine program following her first year at WSU, and after applying, was interviewed in September of her sophomore year. Before her formal interview, she did mock interviews with students who had been admitted to the program in previous years as well as one of the founders of HAVEP. When she learned she had been admitted into the program, Summer was thrilled!

Outside of veterinary interests, Summer is also an Honors College Mentor. For this, she welcomed incoming freshman during the summer and the week before classes started her sophomore year. Every incoming first-year student in Honors College has a mentor like Summer, which is something she finds valuable. As another way to give back, Summer is also an Honors College Ambassador, meeting with prospective students to help them learn about the Honors College and WSU.

If you’d like to contact Summer, send an email to and indicate you’d like to connect with her.