Recent alumna Lindsey McCrickard (DVM ’11) achieves dream of global public health career
Lindsey McCrickard, who grew up in Vienna, Virginia, always thought growing up that she wanted to be an equine veterinarian. In 2004, she was accepted to Virginia Tech as an animal and poultry sciences major. While visiting the campus, McCrickard and her father stopped to look at the newly constructed Alphin-Stuart Livestock Arena and met Max Bales, director of development for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Upon meeting McCrickard, Bales offered her a part-time job in the college’s development office where she worked during her undergraduate career.
Prior to graduation, McCrickard applied to the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, where she was offered early acceptance based on her exceptional qualifications. During the school year and her summers, McCrickard worked in the large animal hospital to prepare for life as an equine veterinarian. However, during her second-year bacteriology class with Jennifer Hodgson, professor of microbiology in the Department of Population Health Science and associate dean for professional programs, McCrickard decided to change her track from equine to public/corporate.
“I realized that I love interacting with people and working on problems that are cross-cutting between humans and animals,” McCrickard said. “Thinking about the movement of disease within a population rather than an individual animal really spoke to me, and I felt that I could make a much greater impact focusing on public health.”
During her time at the veterinary college, McCrickard served as president of the Student Chapter of the American Veterinary Medical Association from 2009-2010, was a participant in the Veterinary Leadership Experience, and received several scholarships. During a fourth-year externship, she worked with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Anchorage, Alaska assessing giardiasis in pet and Alaska Native populations. For her other externships, McCrickard worked for the National Institutes of Health, Johns Hopkins University, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations in Rome, Italy, an opportunity organized by former faculty member Tracy McCracken.
After veterinary school, McCrickard was offered a full-time position with the FAO in Italy, where she spent two years working on One Health projects in Burundi, Bangladesh, China, and Vietnam. To obtain more “on the ground experience,” McCrickard transitioned to the FAO Sub-Regional Office for East Africa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to work on an international food safety project. While in Ethiopia, she served as a board member and riding instructor at the Addis Ababa Equestrian Society, purchased a horse, Vasco, and rescued an Ethiopian street dog, Gizmo.
McCrickard currently works in Atlanta, Georgia as an epidemic intelligence service officer for the CDC. As a “disease detective,” McCrickard deals with global outbreaks of waterborne illness, analyzes public health issues, travels both nationally and internationally, and writes articles. During her time at the CDC, she has also responded to waterborne disease outbreaks and served as a technical expert in Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Zimbabwe.
Next summer, McCrickard plans to move to Washington, D.C. to be closer to her family and work in international public health. She is also engaged and plans to marry in July 2017. Her fiancé runs an agricultural business in East Africa and splits time between East Africa and the United States. In her spare time, McCrickard loves horseback riding, hiking, and biking.
In the future, McCrickard hopes to eventually start a consulting firm focusing on international capacity building for public health and epidemiology. Although she is still a recent alumna of the college, McCrickard has racked up a long list of accomplishments and, if she keeps up the pace, we’ll be hearing more from her in the years to come.