Support Services

Our students have access to a wealth of resources and support services that help create a pleasant, positive, and productive experience.

Faculty Advisors

All our incoming DVM students are assigned faculty advisors. Newly matriculated students will meet their faculty advisors during orientation. This brief meeting is meant to be a building of a relationship. The faculty advisor's role is to serve as a source of support and guidance for their students.

Peer Mentors

The goal of Peer Mentoring is to help incoming first year DVM students make a smooth transition and adjust to life as a student at the college. Peer mentors are second or third year DVM students and are invaluable resources as they can offer advice based on their personal experience at the college.

Peer Mentors are assigned to all first year DVM students. Incoming students are typically contacted by their peer mentors during the summer before they are scheduled to enter the DVM program.

Class of 2023 Peer Mentors

Alexis Margolis

Hello and welcome to Cornell Vet! My name is Alexis and I am a rising third year student. I grew up on Long Island, NY and graduated from Cornell undergrad in 2017 after majoring in Animal Science and minoring in Business. I am most interested in small animal medicine, but I'm still unsure as to whether or not I want to specialize. Since starting vet school, I have become involved in several clubs at Cornell, including VBMA, Pet Loss Support Hotline, and the Women's Veterinary Leadership Development Initiative (there are so many amazing clubs to choose from). I love running, hiking, exploring new restaurants and breweries, and showing off my adorable chinchilla, Mochi. There are so many fun things to do and places to explore in Ithaca and I would love to share my favorites with you! Looking forward to meeting you soon, and please don't hesitate to reach out with questions!

Emmy Hirsch

Hello, Class of 2023! We are thrilled to welcome you into our Cornell veterinary community. My name is Emmy and I am a rising second year. I grew up in Westchester, NY and attended Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, PA where I majored in Neuroscience. During my gap year between graduating F&M and attending CUCVM, I worked for the Humane Society of the United States in Gaithersburg, MD as a Wildlife Policy intern and at Friendship Hospital for Animals in Washington, D.C. as a veterinary assistant. Although I am still undecided about which veterinary track I will ultimately pursue, I am deeply interested in shelter medicine and non-profit and international work. In my spare time, you can find me at the dog park with my two dogs, Frankie (Frank when he’s in trouble) and Ryan, jamming out on my guitar, drawing in my sketchbook, or snowboarding when there is snow on the ground. Although studying is a priority, I always make time to watch Game of Thrones or Friends. I am an iced coffee fanatic, peanut butter junky, and nap connoisseur. Fun fact: I have fallen off of a chairlift. Twice.

Leo Ragazzo

Hi there, I'm Leo - a member of the class of 2022 with interests in zoo/wildlife, infectious disease ecology, pathology and some other stuff. I love cooking, playing all kinds of sports, and being outside with friends while the weather is still kind. I am originally from Florida and did my undergrad in Atlanta, GA, so I'm still adjusting to Ithaca's cold weather and what comes with it (I'm still learning how to stay upright on ice skates and desperately trying to transition out of year-round iced coffee orders). Before coming to Cornell Vet, I took two gap years where I was a Hall Director for a college residence hall and a lab manager for a primate conservation research lab. With my previous work in Residence Life, I have experience in various angles of support and am always happy to have a chat! Welcome to the CVM family!

Loren Lassiter

My name is Loren Lassiter and I am a second year with an interest in zoo, exotic, and wildlife medicine. I was born in Texas but spent much of my life in the California Bay Area, and now currently live in Michigan. I was a student athlete at Northeastern University and graduated with a B.S. in Biology and minors in English and Ethics. In my free time I like to read, bake, go to the movies, listen to music, and try new things.

Rachel Marderstein

My name is Rachel Marderstein and I am  a current second year. I did my undergraduate degree at Cornell university majoring in animal science with a minor in biomedical sciences. I grew up in Westchester NY but have moved all over the world while growing up. While I’m not in school I love to bake and have recently found a new interest in running. I am excited to be a peer mentor!! 

Edna May Seymour

My name is Edna May and I’m a proud Peer Mentor for the incoming class for a second year. I’m currently the SAVMA President at Cornell and am dedicated to helping my fellow vet students as much as I can. I’m interested in small animal medicine, international veterinary medicine, and entrepreneurship. 

Alex Bourgeois

My name is Alex and I'm a third year vet student. I'm mostly interested in small animal surgery in the long run, but I'm open to other career paths (except anything large animal). I'm originally from Chicago, but I went to Cornell for undergrad here as well, so you ask me anything about Ithaca! Outside of school, I like to work out, help coach the Cornell gymnastics team, and pretty much anything involving food. Can't wait to meet all of you! 

Christopher Payne

My name is Chris Payne, and I’m a third year veterinary student here at CUCVM. I grew up just outside of Tulsa, Oklahoma, but have lived in the northeast for the last 6 years. I graduated from Boston University in 2017 with my Bachelors in Marine Science, and started vet school the following fall. I’m incredibly passionate about aquatic animal medicine, and hope to work in aquarium or marine rehabilitation medicine. I’ve completed both AQUAVET I and III, so if you ever want to talk about either program let me know!

Outside of studying, I volunteer as much as I can at the Southside Healthy Pet Clinic and Cornell’s Wildlife Health Center. I also try to relax and unwind, usually by re-watching episodes of Parks and Recreation or Nailed it on Netflix, or by having board game nights with my friends.

Emily Feldman

A little about me: I’m 27 years old, and grew up in Englewood, NJ.  Before college, I took a year off and lived in Israel where I adopted my baby girl, Izzy (in the picture). I attended NYU for my undergraduate education, and then took another 2 years after graduating to work and use that time to decide if I truly wanted to go into veterinary medicine. During that time I worked as a technician in a neuroscience lab at NYU, where I trained baby monkeys to play video games (yes, cute cute baby monkeys!). I also spent some of that time working with a bovine veterinarian in Virginia, where I lived with a beef cattle farmer and his wife. I got married the summer before vet school, and my husband and I (and Izzy of course) are based in Brooklyn when we’re not up in Ithaca. I love hiking and biking, and am a travel/backpacking enthusiast- I spend every vacation I can crossing a new country off my list of adventures! 

Jayden Robert

Hi everyone! My name is Jayden and I'm going to be a second year. I'm originally from Kansas, did my undergrad at UC Berkeley in California, and made it out here for vet school! Ithaca is an awesome town- most weekends you can find me hiking at one of the incredible state parks. My boyfriend and mini-aussie named Gemma both came here with me and we live with 4 other incredible vet students. I've got way too many plants and love to cook. I adore my job in the small animal ER and I have leadership roles in Cornell's Student Chapter of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine and the Ophthalmology Club (which we just re-founded!). Additionally, I'm the Business Track Chair for the SAVMA 2020 Symposium that Cornell is hosting and an active member in the Veterinary Business Management Association among other clubs and organizations on campus! As for my professional goals, I've got a variety of interests and want to keep my options open but am currently focusing on ophthalmology and have gotten involved in research with one of our professors. Congrats on getting here, you are going to love it!

Karuna Katariwala

I am a current D.V.M. candidate for the class of 2022. I am originally from Colonia, New Jersey which is a small town about 45 minutes west of New York City. I have always been interested in veterinary medicine from a very young age and have recently sparked an interest in research. I went to Cornell for undergraduate where I majored in Animal Science and did an honors thesis in the Microbiology and Immunology Department at their veterinary school. I am interested in Small Animal Medicine and I am still deciding between pursuing an internship and residency or a PhD in a field of interest. Long-term, I would like to return to academia and be a clinician or professor at a veterinary school. My favorite way to spend my time is to procrasti-bake. You will see me carrying a tray of my latest procrastination endeavor in the atrium at least once a week. I love to read and try to do as much of it in my free time as I can as well as enjoy the beautiful outdoors Ithaca has to offer. Outside of academics, I am very involved in the Cornell Community. I am on the executive board for Radiology club, Veterinary students as One In Culture and Ethnicity (VOICE), and Women’s Veterinary Leadership Development Initiative (WVLDI). I am also the Treasurer for the SAVMA Symposium Planning Committee, a tour guide and a library assistant.

Kristen Essannason

My name is Kristen Esannason and I am a second year from Rockland County, NY. I graduated from Washington University in St. Louis in 2016 with a major in Anthropology and a minor in Dance. During my gap years, I worked at a VCA specialty hospital in Westchester County, NY before starting as a research associate in a neurobehavioral and neurophysiology lab at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. There I fostered my interests in neuroscience, neurology and laboratory animal medicine. When I am not studying, I enjoy choreographing, dancing, enjoying the sun with friends(while it is nice in Ithaca) and traveling. 

Victoria Albano

Hello everyone. My name is Victoria Albano. I am a third year from Staten Island, New York. I graduated from Cornell in 2015 with a Bachelor's in Animal Science. Before coming to vet school, I took two gap years where I worked as an intern at the New York Aquarium and in a small animal clinic. My interests are in Anesthesia and Zoo/Wildlife Medicine, but I am still open to other areas as we learn more about other specialties and careers. Most of my animal experience before vet school was volunteering at the Staten Island Zoo, so I'm especially passionate about conservation education programs. In my free time - I love to do things outdoors like hiking, exploring, or catching dinner on the Ithaca Commons. I'm very excited to get to meet you all in August; I hope you all have a wonderful summer!

Xanth El-Sayed

My name is Xanth El-Sayed and I'm a 2nd year student. I'm originally from the San Francisco Bay Area (Easy Bay if anyone knows the area) but went to undergrad in Santa Barbara where I majored in Aquatic Biology. After school, I lived in Santa Barbara for a few years working at the Santa Barbara Zoo in many different positions and as a technician at a small animal hospital. After Santa Barbara I drove across the country with my rainbow boa, Noodle. Professionally, I am interested in everything from small animal/exotics private practice to Zoo/Aquatic medicine. As far as interests outside of school, I love being outdoors, traveling (when I can afford it and sometimes when I can't, haha), hanging with friends and watching trash TV with my housemates. Looking forward to meeting everyone and am always around to chat about anything you'd like.

Caroline Warren

My name is Caroline, and I am originally from Ridgefield, Connecticut. I went to undergrad at Wake Forest University in North Carolina where I was a Psychology major with Biology and Chemistry minors. Prior to starting vet school, most of my animal experience was with an ambulatory equine vet. I have also spent many years volunteering with The Sato Project, an animal rescue organization based out of Puerto Rico. Now that I have completed my first year at Cornell, I am planning to pursue a small animal specialty track (although this may definitely change!) Whenever I am not studying, you can find me on one of Ithaca's many hiking trails, refining my yoga at Mighty Yoga studio downtown, or binge watching Netflix. One fun fact about me is that I have successfully climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. I am so excited to meet you all and welcome you to the Cornell Vet community!  

Student Disability Services

It is our intention to provide reasonable accommodations for students with qualifying disabilities who are admitted to the DVM program. The accommodations apply to classroom and examination situations and activities based in the Cornell University Hospital for Animals.

Students who believe they are entitled to an accommodation should contact the Director of Student and Academic Services and Multicultural Affairs. In order to make decisions based upon an individual's specific situation, it may take some to determine what is appropriate and fair given the nature of the disability as well as the requirements of veterinary education. When possible, a student should initiate the process in the summer before his/her matriculation, or, if later, as soon as the disability arises.

While your prior history is relevant for determining reasonable accommodations, you should realize that we might not grant the same accommodations that you have received in the past. Your request for accommodations will be carefully reviewed according to what is reasonable and appropriate given the nature of your disability and the essential components of your academic program. The final authority regarding accommodations rests with the Dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine.

Counseling Services

Confidential counseling services are available at the college to all CVM students. The counseling office is located within the Office of Student and Academic Services.  The counselor, Anna Pirog, is available to meet with students on Wednesday afternoons from 1-5pm. Students may schedule an appointment by contacting her at

Diverse approaches to personal problem resolution, including short-term psychotherapy, crisis intervention, stress management training, and academic counseling are used. Long-term therapy and psychotherapy can be arranged for those in need of these services. DVM students can also avail themselves of mental health services offered by Cornell Health

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