Dr. Mark Stair ’70 Shares Passion for Veterinary Practice With Wilkes Student
Wilkes junior biology major Brianna Smith’s part-time position at the Trucksville Dog and Cat Hospital is more than a job. It’s an opportunity to be mentored by Dr. Mark Stair ’70 at his practice in Dallas, Pa., and to explore her passion for the veterinary field. Such opportunities with alumni are typical for Wilkes students during college.
Smith was able to connect with Stair through the assistance of Eileen Sharp, the pre-professional advisor at the University. “I’ve been working under Dr. Stair for eight months and have logged more than 700 experience hours,” says Smith.
Smith, who is also minoring in chemistry, knows that this opportunity is unique and rewarding. “Thanks to Dr. Stair, I have never been more sure of what I want to spend the rest of my life doing,” Smith says.
When Stair was an undergraduate biology student, mentorship opportunities were not as readily available, but he found a mentor in Charles Reif, professor emeritus of biology.
“He taught me and everyone who took his courses a great deal about the natural world,” says Stair. “My relationship with Dr. Reif wouldn’t fit the strict definition of a mentorship, but he saw in me someone with potential in the biological sciences and encouraged me every way he could.”
Now Stair stresses the importance of gaining pre-professional experience for students before graduation.
“Today Wilkes students enjoy a pre-professional health sciences program which helps them prepare in the best way for application to professional schools, a valuable service which didn’t exist when I was a Wilkes student,” says Stair.
Because Stair has someone watching and learning from what he does, he tries to embody what he believes is most important about being a practicing veterinarian, which is respect and compassion for all life, human and non-human.
“I try to convey to anyone who shadows or works for me that the veterinarian, first and foremost, has to put the animal’s quality of life first, and all other considerations second,” Stair says. “Brianna also sees the difficulty and frustration that can occur in trying to do this, but anything worthwhile, including veterinary medicine, will not always be easy.”
Through Dr. Stair’s time, patience and effort, Smith now understands all the demands associated with being a veterinarian.
“My future can go in many directions. As long as I land working with animals, I will be more than happy,” says Smith.
Stair believes she can achieve her goal because of the passion for learning she displays. The mentoring experience has proven so valuable that Smith is already looking forward to the time she can provide it to students.
“It is my greatest hope that I can provide future students with an experience similar to what I have been given,” says Smith.
Dr. Mark Stair ’70, Trucksville, Pa.
Married to Maureen Clinton Stair ’70
Bachelor of Science, Biology, Wilkes
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania
Career: Veterinarian at the Trucksville Dog and Cat Hospital
EMPLOY A WILKES INTERN
Did you know that 1,415 undergraduate Wilkes students have completed internships to gain valuable professional experience in real-world settings? You can help provide these opportunities by inquiring about internships with your organization and, if you’re in a position to supervise an intern yourself, give him or her access to your professional network. Students from any academic discipline, especially those in sports management, accounting, biology, criminology and computer science, can benefit from an internship. Share your opportunities by contacting the alumni office at email@example.com or (570)408-4134.