Meet the Class of 2022: Tessa Van Diest

Tessa as a child with her grandfather and current day with her 2 cats.

After years of riding horses with her grandpa Roy, fourth-year veterinary student Tessa Van Diest is on track to earn her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine this spring. With plans to specialize in equine medicine, it’s no surprise what her favorite rotation has been thus far. “We had lots of foals, and I love neonates,” she said. “Horses are just such magnificent creatures, and we need more large animal veterinarians in the industry.”

It’s been a long time coming for Tessa, who knew she wanted to be a veterinarian when she was in high school. “I grew up with cats and dogs. I’m also an only child, so in a way those pets were like my siblings,” she said.

The left-handed veterinarian-to-be now has two pets of her own; two cats, Scottie, a rescue from the Lewis-Clark Animal Shelter in Lewiston, and Cinder, one of many animals left homeless following the 2020 fire that claimed 228 structures in Malden, Washington.

Tessa is off to a one-year internship at Loomis Basin Equine Medical Center in Penryn, California, outside Sacramento. She’s already completed a 6-month internship at Hagyard Equine Medical Institute in Lexington, Kentucky. Once she completes her internship she may go to the East Coast. “I want to go to a practice that offers equine care in in-hospital and outpatients settings,” she said.