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Jody Kull

'01 Animal Bioscience; Veterinarian and Owner, Valley Mobile Veterinary Service, Inc.
Jody Kull, '01 Animal Bioscience

Jody Kull, '01 Animal Bioscience

Why I Give

"When I give, I especially want to give back to the students. They're the ones who may graduate with a debt load while looking for a job. Scholarships were so helpful to my family, both for my parents when I was a student, and now for me and my own family as I pay back educational costs. The Ag College scholarship program gave us the financial advantage of helping with the costs of tuition."

Jody's Story

College of Agricultural Sciences alumna Jody Kull is always eager to visit her alma mater – and it's easy to understand why – the College has been part of her life since her youth, years before she enrolled as a student.

"My parents had a dairy farm in northern Chester County, and my sisters and I grew up showing cows and pigs, and coming to Penn State to stay for several days for summer 4-H activities. It was ingrained in us early that Penn State and agriculture went together – we grew up with Penn State – it was part of us," says Jody.

As a high school student, Jody enjoyed an extended summer visit when she was selected to participate in the Pennsylvania Governor's School for the Agricultural Sciences, a month-long residential education program in which she attended classes in subjects across the College of Agricultural Sciences. She says the program confirmed her interest in attending Penn State, and gave her a foundation of contacts coming into college, including her future faculty advisor. She later contributed to the program as a student staff member, spending two college summers working as a Governor's School Assistant, one of her early opportunities to mentor other students.

Knowing she wanted to apply her childhood dairy and livestock connections to a large-animal veterinary career, Jody completed an animal bioscience degree as a precursor to veterinary school. Jody's extracurricular involvement included lending her musical talents to the Penn State University Marching Blue Band and serving as an Ag Advocate, as one of the agricultural college's key student ambassadors. She remembers valuing the opportunity to attend the annual College of Agricultural Sciences Scholarship and Awards Banquet, to meet and thank the individuals and businesses who donated to the multiple agricultural scholarships she received during her college years.

"It was so helpful to have the college scholarships, especially with the goal of going to vet school in the future, I knew those expenses were coming too. You especially appreciate it once you get into the real world and have bills and see what the costs of living are."

After earning her doctor of veterinary medicine degree from the Virginia / Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, Jody settled in central Pennsylvania with her husband, once again residing in close proximity to Penn State. She stayed connected to the College of Agricultural Sciences, first as a member of its Ag Advocates Alumni Group. She soon became increasingly involved with alumni events and initiatives, and was elected to serve two terms on the Ag Alumni Society Board of Directors. Jody was recently inducted into the Armsby Honor Society for agricultural alumni, in recognition of her service, and in 2011, she was recognized by the Penn State Alumni Association with a Recent Alumna of the Year award. Jody is also one of the alumni who regularly participate in the student mentoring program organized annually by the College of Agricultural Sciences.

"In addition to giving financially, one of the most rewarding things is interacting with the new students. I want to give back to them what other alumni offered to me – a voice out in the real world who they can connect with," says Jody. "When I was a student I remember hearing about alumni's experiences and having them encourage me to get involved, and to meet people in college. That was so valuable to me. So now when I volunteer with the Ag Alumni Society, I like to be involved in the student activities. I try to be that alumni contact for the current students."

Jody has a lot to share with students from her experiences both as a practicing veterinarian, and as a business owner. After four years of working in a mixed animal hospital, Jody purchased the large-animal portion of the practice in 2008, when the owner divided the small- and large-animal portions of the business. Jody expanded on her existing large-animal clientele to build her own mobile veterinary services practice. As the owner and sole veterinarian for Valley Mobile Veterinary Service, Inc. centered in Danville, Pennsylvania, she has spent the past eight years developing an extensive client base in a ten-county region, and providing mobile veterinary care for food animals including dairy and beef cattle, sheep, goats, swine, llamas and alpacas.

Jody says she and her husband strongly value the relationships they've continued to build with other alumni over the years (her husband is a Penn State alum from the liberal arts college, though she considers him an "honorary ag alum," with the many friendships they've both made through the Ag Alumni Society). Likewise, she's maintained connections with graduating students in the animal sciences and veterinary fields who attended alumni and career events, or visited Jody's mobile practice to shadow her on the job. Between in-person alumni events, Jody stays in touch with many alumni and their businesses over social media – connecting through her Valley Mobile Veterinary Services business Facebook page, which offers a window into the world of on-farm veterinary duties.

"The Ag College really has been part of how I got to be where I am today – from when I was eight years old in those early days coming to 4-H events, to then attending Governor's School, and then college," says Jody. "I love going back to the College of Ag, and I love contributing to it, and sharing in college experiences. It's very rewarding."