The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies
Royal Dick School of Veterinary Studies Bicentenary

Andy Hopker: UK - Class of 2003

Lecturer in Farm Animal Practice, R(D)SVS

Andy Hopker

How did the R(D)SVS contribute to your career choices?

The R(D)SVS provided me with an excellent, well rounded education, which as well as giving me a good grounding to work as a vet with all species of domestic animals, also developed my skills in problem solving and thinking outside the box. This has allowed me to recognise and capitalise on opportunities which I have encountered since leaving University.

Did your EMS placements help you in determining the field of veterinary medicine you wanted to pursue professionally?

EMS has helped to shape my skills and experience and has introduced me to some of the people who have helped me with my career progression, particularly in the early years. However, the general skills gained through EMS, as well as recognising opportunity and pursuing it, both during my time at college and afterwards, has been much more important in shaping my career than specific EMS placements.

Can you tell us of any personal or professional achievements in your career progression?

I graduated from R(D)SVS in 2003. I then worked in mixed practice for ten years, in the UK in private practice and as a volunteer in India working with NGO’s. During my time in India as well as working directly with the livestock, donkeys and horses, and pets of rural and urban people I also trained UK and Indian vets to enable them to carry out this work. During this time I also met my wife, also a UK vet, working in the Indian jungle.

Since 2013 I have worked as a clinician and lecturer at the R(D)SVS. I am still very involved with work in India and run an education programme for small farmers in rural India aimed at improving animal health, welfare and productivity as a route to lifting people out of poverty, assisting with food security and protecting the natural environment. The work in India is the basis for my PhD, which I study part time. I am also very interested in how we can help our undergraduate students to enhance their problem solving skills and apply them to the real world problems. I work as part of an R(D)SVS team developing and delivering this kind of learning. I am also an assessor for the RCVS Advanced Veterinary Practitioner Certificate in cattle.

Work hard, but don’t forget to have fun, you only live once.

Andy HopkerClass of 2003

If you could offer some advice to prospective students what would it be?

Work hard, but don’t forget to have fun, you only live once. Some choices should be made very carefully, but life happens while we are making other plans and often the pivotal decisions turn out to be the ones that seemed trivial at the time.