May 6, 2024
After gaining hands-on work and research experiences, Cicero, NY, resident Melinda Bara is well on her way to achieving her dream to become an equine veterinarian.

HACKETTSTOWN, NJ, May 6, 2024 —Melinda Bara has always wanted to be an equine veterinarian. At age 4, she started to care for her aunt’s horse and developed a love for riding. Today, Bara is well on her way to achieving her dream with an acceptance to Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine. The Cicero, NY, resident graduated from Centenary University on Saturday, May 4, with the Class of 2024, earning a Bachelor of Science in Animal Health: Pre-vet Track.

While Bara set her sights on attending veterinary school as a youngster, there was no lightning bolt moment that inspired her career plans. “I never had that big moment when I said, ‘Wow, I really want to be a vet,’” Bara recalled. “When thinking about careers, I just kept going back to the things I really enjoyed doing and realized that they all involved veterinary medicine.”

A college search tool first prompted Bara to consider attending Centenary. The University’s small campus and personalized environment appealed to Bara, who graduated from a very large high school where some of her teachers didn’t know her name. During her first year at Centenary, she immediately began working in the barn alongside Jesslyn Bryk-Lucy, DVM, assistant professor of equine studies and the University’s resident veterinarian. She also developed close relationships with other Centenary faculty.

“What’s really great about Centenary’s equine program is that we learn concepts in the classroom, and then take what we’ve learned and apply it in the barns immediately after class,” said Bara, who is a member of the University’s Honors Program. “It’s a very supportive community.”

Knowing that veterinary schools look for experienced, well-rounded students, Bara took several years building her resume in preparing for the application process, which can be extremely competitive. Through Dr. Bryk-Lucy, she made connections to get a job as a veterinary technician at an equine hospital, and was part of a student team that conducted a yearlong canine empathy research project. On campus, Bara has served as a co-captain of Centenary’s Hunter/Jumper Team, an officer with the Student Government Association, and a member of Tri Beta, the national biology honor society. She has also worked as a peer tutor and student note taker.

Her efforts were rewarded with two veterinary school acceptances: Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine and the College of Veterinary Medicine at Midwestern University in Arizona. Looking back on her years at Centenary, Bara said, “From day one, Dr. Jesslyn never had any doubts in my ability to go to veterinary school. It’s been really nice to have a veterinarian have so much confidence in me. Everyone at the Centenary equine center is so welcoming and supportive.”


Centenary University offers extraordinary learning opportunities that empower students to develop intellectually, emotionally, and interculturally—keys to career and personal success. Under the leadership of President Dale Caldwell, Ed.D., the University aspires to advance its reputation as a world class institution offering innovative programs, including the world’s first Master of Arts in Happiness Studies, to lift the future for our students and local communities.


Kristen Volkland
Erbach Communications Group
(201) 960-3102

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