Episode 48: A magical journey to zoological medicine

April 15, 2021
Kelsey Gustafson, Associate Editor

On this episode of The Vet Blast Podcast, Dr Christman is joined by second-year veterinary student Christian Capobianco who reflects on the life-changing experience that inspired him to become a wildlife veterinarian and offers useful advice to pre-veterinary students.

Disney World is considered one of the most magical places on earth, and rightfully so. For second-year veterinary student Christian Capobianco, this enchanted place ignited his passion for zoological medicine.

On this episode of The Vet Blast Podcast, Capobianco shares more about his magical path to zoological and wildlife medicine and offers words of wisdom to pre-veterinary students.

A dream turned reality

“I remember distinctly the first time I knew I wanted to become a veterinarian, and it actually happened at Disney’s Animal Kingdom,” he tells Adam Christman, DVM, MBA.

Years ago, during a family trip at Disney World, Copbianco watched veterinarians perform a procedure on a lion at Rafiki’s Planet Watch in Animal Kingdom. That’s when the lightbulb went off for him. “From then on out, I was like, I’m going to become an animal doctor, and I’m going to work with those wild and weird creatures that no one else wants to work with,” he says.

When Capobianco, a native of Long Island, New York, was a junior in high school, he decided to attend North Carolina State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine due to its accredited exotics program. His family, in support of his pursuit, moved to North Carolina.

After receiving his undergraduate degree in Animal Science, Capobianco says he had a 6-month window before starting veterinary school and decided to apply for Disney’s veterinary and conservation education internships. He was convinced he would be selected for the veterinary scholarship but instead was selected for the conservation education one. At first, he was disappointed but soon realized it was the best thing that could have ever happened to him. The lesson learned? Not everything goes as planned, but in the end, your dreams can still come true.

Tips for pre-veterinary students

Capobianco’s piece of advice to stressed pre-veterinary students uncertain about their future is to take it easy and trust that things will work out the way they’re supposed to. As far as applications go, he recommends highlighting what makes you stand out.

“I was one of those pre-veterinary students who—like many in the veterinary realm—was Type- A. I needed all my applications to be perfect and all my experiences documented,” he says. “You need to remember that they are seeing a lot of applications when you apply to school. So, you need to find that one thing that makes you special and different and make sure to hit on that in your application.”

Listen below for more on Capobianco’s magical path to zoological medicine, plus a fun fact about him.