The combination of a passion for caring for animals mixed with a love of science creates the ideal pre-vet student. Not only did Emma Bliss pursue her dream of being a veterinarian, she decided that the University of Minnesota Crookston campus was the perfect place for it. 

Emma Bliss

The senior from Nevis, Minn., is an animal science major with a pre-vet emphasis. She decided to attend the U of M Crookston after touring the campus and getting to see the facilities and barns. The small town feel is similar to that of her hometown as well as the feeling of having a supportive and involved community. The animals on campus along with the opportunities that clubs such as Ag-Arama and NACTA could offer drew Bliss in to UMN Crookston.

“The hands on approach to academics is one of my favorite aspects of my education here at the U of M Crookston,” explained Bliss.

Bliss grew up on a small beef cattle farm, which allowed her to enjoy showing livestock in 4-H. She has shown almost every species of livestock. Bliss also enjoys four-wheeling, hunting, knitting, playing sports, and spending time with her family and friends.

One of the most outstanding experiences for her was spending time on a University of Minnesota's Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) project with Assistant Professor Paul Holland. Her research focused on the area of small ruminant parasitology. Over the course of the project, Bliss collected fecal samples from the U of M Crookston sheep and goat herd, which were then placed in a fecal float and observed under a microscope for parasites.

Involvement on campus includes serving as president of the Pre-Vet Club, a member of the Study Abroad Club, Animal Science Association Vice President, chair of the Ag-Arama Dance Committee, serving as a Student Orientation Staff Leader, and tutoring in any area there is a need. Bliss also keeps busy with a work study at the information desk and playing pep band at UMN Crookston Golden Eagle sports events.

“The Pre-vet club is always busy. We have fundraisers throughout the year such as dog washes, that allow us to take trips to vet schools and have speakers come in to talk about their path to vet school and hot topics in vet med,” stated Bliss.

This summer Bliss interned at the Marshal Animal Clinic, in Marshall, Minn. The clinic was predominantly small animal with a large amount of cats and dogs coming in and occasionally some horses. The most memorable animals for Bliss that came into the clinic were a hedgehog, an owl, and a raccoon.

“This experience was extremely valuable for me and it allowed me to learn more about the business side of a career in veterinary med,” explained Bliss.

In May of 2019, she was able to set her sights on a destination completely across the globe, Australia. While on her Loop Abroad she was able to get hands on with Australian wildlife, learn new suturing practices, complete lab work, take part in necropsies, and learn from vets and pre-vet students from all across the United States.

“Being able to create an enrichment project for the Dingoes was my favorite part of my trip. We were able to simulate a bobbing for apples situation for the Dingoes using a kiddy pool and some eggs. The only downfall of Australia was the spiders,” noted Bliss.

Future plans for Bliss include attending vet school and opening a veterinary practice of her own. Bliss applied to 5 schools and will know in January if she was accepted. Acceptance is based on a wide variety of qualifications, experience, class work, grades, GRE exam score, and essays. The number one school on her list is Kansas State.

“The application process is extremely long. I wrote over 11 essays and I had to enter every class I’ve ever taken. The cost that comes with each application took a sizeable amount out of my bank account,” remarked Bliss.

Some words of advice for other students pursuing the pre-vet path include, take every opportunity you can, use your resources, and always follow whatever makes you happy.  

About UMN Crookston

One of five campuses in the University of Minnesota System, the University of Minnesota Crookston cultivates curiosity by engaging students in hands-on learning connecting theory to practice. As the experienced leader in delivering education online, the Crookston campus offers a distinctive learning environment providing personal attention and mentorship to develop leaders, lifelong learners, and engaged citizens. Visit Crookston at 

About UMN

The University of Minnesota System, with campuses in Crookston, Duluth, Morris, Rochester, and the Twin Cities, is driven by a singular vision of excellence. We are proud of our land-grant mission of world-class education, groundbreaking research, and community-engaged outreach, and we are unified in our drive to serve Minnesota. Learn more at  

Story Contact: Shawn Smith - - (218) 281-8414