In a departure from our regular student profiles this month we are featuring a student who will become a veterinary student this fall.

Michael Anthony Marciano

Studying pre-veterinary dairy science within the three-plus-one program here at Virginia Tech, and I will be in the DVM Class of 2027

What is the three-plus-one program?

So the three-plus-one program*– it's between the Dairy Science Major and the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine. It involves students such as myself, who enter their freshman year and apply for the program. If accepted, students can complete their undergraduate requirements and graduate in three years. If they do that and maintain a 3.5 GPA, they are granted an interview at Virginia-Maryland.

When did you find out you had been accepted?

I was right here in the shop making horseshoes (Podiatry Barn). When I got the letter, Travis Burns (chief of farrier services) was here and actually my parents as well. I told them I heard a rumor that they would be releasing news on Friday. So my parents decided to drive down here. Everybody was, like, all happy. It was awesome.

When did you decide to go to veterinary school?

My story is quite unusual. One of the things that they did in my school was they would try to help you get into the college that would best prepare you for your predicted career field. I didn't know what I wanted to do. I remember being in the lab when our high school counselor approached us and asked us that question. They asked my buddy first, and my buddy said that he wanted to be a vet. So I was like, that sounds cool, so I put that down too! But once I started working at small animal clinics, which branched out into jobs with the local large animal practice in the area, then I started working on farms. Working on those farms, I saw the hours the farmers were putting in and the passion they put into their animals. That was what clicked with me. Seeing the kinds of people that agriculture produces and the effort they'll put into what they do makes me want to work harder.

How did you become interested in farrier work?

The summer before I entered my undergrad, I shadowed Dr. Tom Massie (B.S. '91, DVM '95). He was doing a quick trim on it, and I think it was a laminate pony. And I noticed the stuff he was doing was pretty intricate. And I asked him, How did you learn to do that? So he recommended I should reach out to Travis and Dr. Scott Pleasant. They suggested a few schools and I went to Heartland Horseshoeing School in Missouri because it fit my class schedule. I went on the practical farrier course. And that was hard because I had no horse experience. I put in so many hours over the eight weeks because it was just really hard. When I graduated, I kept in contact with Travis and I’ve been able to continue my education with him.

Travis has been kind enough to give me all kinds of learning opportunities. He's been a wealth of knowledge.

A person who has inspired me...

A person who has inspired me would be Dr. Thomas Massie. His career is centered around animals, but he has utilized a people-oriented approach that unique to him. I find that he raises people just as much as the animals under his care, and this is an element of his practice I am to emulate in my future.

If I had a superpower, it would be...

It would be the ability to fly at supersonic speeds. I don’t like spending time traveling, so this would be not only fun but also much more efficient.

My no-fail, go-for-it motivational song...

My motivational song would have to be “Just a Phase” by the Band Camino. They are the reason why I got into guitar, and this song is so fast-paced it is hard not to get amped up.

Favorite way to end the day...

I love ending my day playing a few songs on the guitar. One of my favorite songs to play is “The Breakup Song” by Mateus Asato.

Top of my bucket list...

At the top of my bucket list is to go to San Marzano, Italy. My family is from Southern Italy, and we believe the best tomatoes to for cooking come from this region as well.

You start at the veterinary college in August - what are you looking forward to most?

I think, I would say probably the ability to just focus on one thing! Undergrad has been an awesome opportunity to try all kinds of different experiences. But I think going into vet school and being able to eat, breathe and sleep one thing I’m looking forward to.  I'm sure it'll get tiring at times, but I remember, at least for me in farrier school, you know, spending so many hours focusing on one thing, it was hard at times, but because you were so focussed you could really make the most strides when you're moving.

*The official name is 3+1 Veterinary Scholar Program in Dairy Science. The Veterinary Scholars in Dairy Science program is for highly qualified high school students wishing to obtain a BS in Dairy Science and a DVM from the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine in a “3 + 1” model. The program is designed to allow scholars to complete required undergraduate courses in a 3-year period and become eligible to interview for early admission to the DVM program. 


Andrew Mann
Director of Communications and Marketing