Something New Every Day
If you like routine then Dr. Hayley Springer’s job wouldn’t be for you.
“I really enjoy the variety this position offers me,” Springer said. “Each day can look so very different.”
Springer is an assistant clinical professor and extension veterinarian at Penn State University. Her primary appointment at Penn State is in Extension where she serves on three different teams – livestock, dairy and vector borne disease.
But that’s not all she does.
“I have days where I teach undergraduates all day, others when I’m traveling to farms, and still more engrossed in research,” Springer said. “I am the only extension veterinarian at Penn State with small animal experience, so I pick up a lot of companion animal flea, tick and mosquito education.”
In her role as an extension veterinarian, Springer produces a wide mix of articles, videos, and online courses, as well as providing in-person educational events. She does what she terms as “a fair bit of production-related teaching,” including co-teaching one undergraduate course and providing guest lectures and labs in many others.
Springer also co-teaches courses in Penn State’s newly developed One Health minor. She mentors undergraduates working on research projects and has even taken on mentoring an honors student for her undergraduate thesis work.
In addition to her professional duties, Springer is pursuing a PhD in pathobiology with a focus on pre-harvest food safety through mitigating antimicrobial resistance in dairy calves.
Like we mentioned earlier, it’s something new every day for Springer at Penn State.
Springer’s road to Penn State included a stint as an associate veterinarian for a mixed animal practice in central Pennsylvania before working as an on-staff veterinarian for a large Pennsylvania dairy. Before moving to Penn State, she also worked in cattle pharmaceutical sales.
It would come as a surprise to many who knew Springer when she was growing up in the Keystone State that she has focused much of her professional career on beef and dairy cows. Not that she would eventually become a veterinarian but rather her animal focus.
“I am definitely among the group of veterinarians who have known exactly what they wanted to be from a young age,” Springer said. “But I actually touched a cow for the first time when I was 17 and attending the Pennsylvania Governor’s School of Agriculture Sciences.”
This five-week, on-campus experience at Penn State introduced Springer to agriculture, research and she says, “most importantly cows!”
“I absolutely fell in love with all of it,’ she said. “I began milking for a local dairy during my senior year of high school and worked in a diary nutrition research lab during my freshman year of college.”
Which has come in handy for her career since Pennsylvania agriculture is dominated by the dairy industry.
“I certainly have a stronger background on the dairy side, but really enjoy working with beef cattle as well,” Springer said. “In my job I get to work with great research collaborators, talented teachers and an amazing team of extension professionals.
“Rarely does a day go by that I don’t learn something new.”