Spring 2018

Working Life

Daryl Buss MS’74, PhD’75

Daryl Buss grew up on a small Minnesota farm where he enjoyed daily work with a variety of animals. On the farm, Buss quickly realized the importance of the local veterinarian and regarded him as an early role model. This early fascination with veterinary medicine propelled Buss down a path of academic accomplishments, beginning with a veterinary medicine degree from the University of Minnesota and followed by a lifetime of accomplishments at UW–Madison. Buss received his master’s degree from the Department of Veterinary Science in 1974 and rolled straight into his Ph.D., focusing his research on the cardiopulmonary system. From there, Buss held a variety of academic and research positions at numerous institutions such as the Max Planck Institute for Physiological and Clinical Research in Germany and the University of Florida, Gainesville. In 1994, Buss returned to Madison and was hired as the dean of the UW School of Veterinary Medicine. He served for 18 years and helped solidify the school’s position as one of the top professional schools of veterinary medicine in the country. Today, Buss utilizes his years of expertise as the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Veterinary Medical Education. “After many years in academic administration, this role has offered a new and complementary venue for continued national and international engagement with veterinary medical education,” Buss says.

Kris Ellingsen BS’79

Spending your workday surrounded by fluffy felines may sound like a fantasy for cat lovers, but for Kris Ellingsen it’s just another day at the office. As a veterinarian with a special interest in cat care, Ellingsen enjoys interacting with both the feline patients and their owners while helping make cats better understood and cared for properly. Her journey to feline medicine began at age 16 with her first job, working for a local veterinarian — a job she kept while pursuing her CALS undergraduate degree in bacteriology. After the UW School of Veterinary Medicine (SVM) opened in 1983, Ellingsen realized she could combine her passion for medicine with her love for animals. She applied and was accepted into the Class of 1988. After graduation from the SVM, she headed to the Pacific Northwest, where she spent 11 years in Seattle and the past 18 in Portland, Oregon. In Seattle, Ellingsen found her ideal position at Cats Exclusive Veterinary Center, one of the first feline-only clinics in the U.S. She currently lives in Portland, where she works as a veterinarian for Cat Care Professionals. Aside from her daily veterinary medical practice, Ellingsen has also been involved with the non-profit Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon since 2001. In 2008, she was elected president of the organization, which helps to feed, treat, and spay or neuter more than 6,000 feral and stray cats annually

Kathy Huntington MS’91

If you ask Kathy Huntington how she chose a career in animal pathology, she may argue that it chose her. “Pathology is like a big puzzle to figure out, and I love that challenge,” she says. “That, along with my love of wilderness and wildlife, makes it a pretty amazing combination for me.” In hindsight, it seems like an obvious fit, but her path to pathology wasn’t so simple. Huntington began her career with a degree in zoology before coming to the UW–Madison campus, where she received a D.V.M. followed by a master’s degree in veterinary science and wildlife diseases. She relocated to Alaska upon graduation and began practicing as a small animal veterinarian. After a few short years, Huntington was sure of two things: she loved Alaska, but she was not content as a small animal veterinarian. Luckily, her degree in wildlife diseases was there to rekindle a forgotten passion and jump-start her career in wildlife pathology. Huntington now works as a diagnostic pathologist and owner of Alaska Veterinary Pathology Services. There she acts as a consultant and research pathologist on projects with marine and wildlife agencies such as the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, the U.S. Geologic Survey, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In the field, Huntington is able to learn all about the diverse species that inhabit what she calls one of the United States’ most transformative and scenic states.

Travis Kuhlka BS’03

Travis Kuhlka became interested in animal agriculture when he was a freshman in high school. He accepted a job at a local hog farm, where he found his niche caring for sows and piglet litters. When it came time to choose a career, Kuhlka stuck to his experience and pursued a bachelor’s degree in animal sciences from CALS. Here he worked as a large animal reproduction technician for a campus lab and acted as the head student veterinarian at the UW–Madison Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital. This clinical experience solidified his career path into veterinary medicine. Upon graduation, Kuhlka applied to the UW School of Veterinary Medicine, where he earned his D.V.M. Today, Kuhlka lives in North Dakota and practices as a large animal veterinarian through his private company TK Veterinary Services. Though his technical training is in veterinary medicine, Kuhlka credits CALS for his foundational skills, such as how to safely handle cattle, relate to farmers’ lifestyles, and understand clients’ needs. “I attribute my background in livestock handling to my relationships and experiences with those in the Department of Animal Sciences,” Kuhlka says.

Gayle Leith MS’85

Gayle Leith says she has achieved her childhood dream. “I grew up in southern California riding horses and was fortunate to realize my career goals as an equine veterinarian at a very young age,” she says. Leith earned her master’s degree in veterinary science and D.V.M. at UW–Madison. Today she is an owner and partner of an equine referral practice through Arizona Equine Medical and Surgical Centre. There she acts as a self-named “family practitioner for horses,” making routine and emergency visits to stables. But these stables aren’t always nearby. Once a year, Leith organizes a group of veterinarians and hikes into the Grand Canyon to provide veterinary medical care to the horses of the Havasupai Tribe. “My favorite part of my work is helping horse owners maintain the health of their fourlegged friends,” Leith says. Now a seasoned veterinarian, Leith enjoys passing on her expertise to students and interns. In 2010, Leith took her passion for teaching a step further by completing a master of arts degree in learning with technology, and she has been teaching an undergraduate science class at Ashford University ever since. Keeping horses healthy and happy may be her dream, but Leith also enjoys a rewarding life outside of the office. She loves to travel and enjoy the outdoors with her husband, Preston, and daughter, Jordyn, but horses never stray too far from her mind. Some of her favorite equine activities include trail rides with her family and training her young thoroughbred gelding for the show ring.

David Lunn MS’87

David Lunn was born in Wales and received his bachelor’s degree in veterinary science at the University of Liverpool in 1982. After spending two years practicing as a veterinarian, he ventured to America and earned his master’s degree in veterinary science from UW–Madison. In 1988, he returned to the U.K. and received his Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge in 1991. Just a year later, Lunn became a certified diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine and returned to UW–Madison. Here he served as a professor in the School of Veterinary Medicine for nine years before accepting a job as an associate dean and director of the UW–Madison Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital. Today, Lunn serves as the dean of the North Carolina State College of Veterinary Medicine. He is a renowned expert in equine immunology and infectious disease, backed by more than 90 academic publications, 16 book chapters, and service on countless boards, committees, and review panels. At NC State, he enjoys a busy but exciting career. As the veterinary medical college’s dean, Lunn is responsible for many, many things, but student education continues to be his top priority. “Our most important role is making better vets,” he says. “We are constantly trying to find ways to improve education at every level and find the best opportunities for these young people.” Even the busiest careers require occasional rest and relaxation. In his downtime, Lunn hikes with his wife, Kathy, raises terrier pups, and skis inexpertly but enthusiastically

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