A fellow's tale

Combining Research with Clinical Practice: AO VET Fellow Valentina Riehl.

25 October 2017

Valentina Riehl recently completed a fellowship in Preclinical Services at the AO Research Institute. In this interview, the German veterinarian shares more about her experiences during the program, and what lies ahead for her professionally.

Valentina Riehl Fellowship

1) How did you find out about the AO VET fellowship program?

In 2015, I spent two months at the AO Research Institute, where I completed an internship at the preclinical facility. During this time, I met a lot of people, and learned about the opportunity to participate in a one-year fellowship program in Davos.

2) What made you decide to become a vet?

My interest in medicine in general has increasingly grown since my time in school. At some point, I had to decide what kind of medicine I wanted to study. It might sound funny, but in the end, the decision was easy to make: since I had my own horse, which needed a lot of veterinary care, I decided to enroll in veterinary medicine instead of human medicine, so that I could save money in the future by being my horse’s own vet.

3) What was your fellowship experience like? What was a highlight? Was there something that particularly stood out for you?

During my fellowship, I had the opportunity to met people from all over the world who work in all different kinds of research. One of my biggest highlights was the opportunity to attend the AO Foundation Davos Courses in 2016. I am also very glad that I could combine my fellowship with a study that served as my doctoral thesis.

5) What kind of vet do you aim to be?

Once I started studying veterinary medicine, I realized that I actually prefer working with small animals. From my internship experience, my interest in bone healing, wound and fracture management, and infection studies has also grown. Because of these factors, I decided to specialize in small animals, and work on clinical cases and with patients.

6) How was the transition from being in a fellowship program to working in a vet clinic on a daily basis?

I started working at a private clinic in Germany in August 2017. On one hand, I was a bit sad to leave Davos and all of the people at the institute, as I had a great time. On the other hand, I looked forward to working with clinical patients. In summary, I needed some time to adjust, but I now feel very comfortable at the new clinic. That said, my experiences in Davos are not far from my mind, and my next visit to Davos has already been planned.

About Valentina Riehl

  • Studied at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich
  • Completed an internship at the AO Research Institute in 2015
  • Completed a Research Fellowhip at the AO Research Institute in 2017
  • Currently works at Tierklinik Hofheim in Germany


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