College of Veterinary Medicine
Years in Position: 1.5
Years at MSU: 1.5
For Dr. Will Kay, being a veterinarian is a family value.
“I am a third generation vet,” Will said. “I grew up at a vet hospital. I’m also a second generation neurologist. Dad is a neurologist and Mom is a veterinary surgeon.”
Neurologists treat patients with issues related to the nerves and nervous system, including the brain and spinal cord.
Will is in the second year of a three-year residency at the MSU College of Veterinary Medicine.
“We see primarily referrals and emergencies from the local veterinary community, up to a 5-hour radius for various neurological cases,” he explained. “From seizures to surgical cases, traumas, and emergency herniated discs in dogs, we provide imaging, such as CTs and MRIs, and diagnosis. Then we provide the best treatment plan, whether it be medical or surgical.”
In a typical day, Will and the team see three new appointments and a couple of rechecks, plus the various inpatients in the hospital. His patients are primarily dogs and cats.
“The team is a combination of a good group of veterinarians, excellent veterinary technicians, students, and our front-of-house staff. My mentors are board-certified neurologists. We all work very closely together, and we work with the imaging staff,” he said. “We teach the students in 2-week rotations to get them familiar with neurological exams. They learn how to come up with a reasonable differential list so they are better able to provide care, communicate with clients, and refer to us when necessary.”
Will said he enjoys working up some of the more difficult cases and provide an outcome they might not have had at a smaller institution.
“I like providing that service for the community and owners to extend the time they can have with their pets,” he said. “The highlight of my residency so far was sending home a young husky puppy to his family after a month in the hospital for treatment of tetanus.”
Will enjoys running and spending time with his family, including his wife, Tiffany, a veterinarian in Columbus, their 4-month-old son, James, and their dogs.
Southern Rural Development Center
Years in Position: 9
Years at MSU: 15
Texas native Rachel Welborn is committed to the well-being of people and communities in the rural South.
As program manager for the Southern Rural Development Center, Rachel works with her colleagues across the region on various multistate projects.
“The Southern Rural Development Center’s mission is to build capacity and collaboration among the 13-state region’s land-grant universities on issues around rural development,” Rachel said.
After earning a degree in elementary education in 1982, she taught first grade and then took a position as parent educator within the school system. In 1995, she received her master’s in family studies from Abilene Christian University.
Rachel worked as a county educator in Jones County and as a Community Health Coordinator for the state prior to taking this regional position.
She said she enjoys fostering civic engagement.
“This past year has raised awareness of the importance of helping individuals and communities work through challenges of difficult issues in ways that are both respectful and productive,” she said.
The nation’s increased focus on rural America shines light on the importance of SRDC’s mission to serve the rural South, she said.
“The majority of our food, energy, and water comes from rural areas,” Rachel said. “So protecting, building and sustaining rural America is a priority that affects us all.”
Another one of Rachel’s passions is her faith.
“I enjoy spending time with my church family, especially working with college students that share my faith in God and His Son,” Rachel said. “These young adults inspire and challenge me to live my faith in fresh, authentic ways.”
In addition to church activities, Rachel has a small photography business, Come and See Photography, which allows her a creative outlet.
Rachel and her husband have been married for 33 years and have two sons.
“We’ve enjoyed watching our sons grow into strong men,” Rachel said. “They have both married phenomenal women, and we are experiencing the joys of being grandparents with two little ones in our family.”
At each annual DAFVM Summer Celebration, the Staff Spotlight recipients from the previous year will be acknowledged. The DAFVM website will have an archive of all winners listed by month/date.
An employee cannot be chosen more than once during a two (2) year period.