One of the goals of the MILE Program is to prepare cohort members for their next steps in life. For Kullen Sorrels, the program did exactly that. A member of MILE II, he graduated from Texas Tech University in December 2021 with a degree in animal science pre-vet and a minor in chemistry and biology. Kullen said the MILE Program gave him the opportunity to build professional skills and network as he prepared his vet school applications. He was accepted into the new Texas Tech University School of Veterinary Medicine’s second class and started his vet school education in Amarillo in the fall of 2022.
Growing up in Dalhart, Texas, Kullen said he originally wanted to become a game warden. In high school, he started working for Dalhart veterinarian, Dr. Atha, which was an experience that changed his career goals.
“It’s always been in the back of my head,” Kullen said. “Every decision that I made; this is where I wanted to end up. For the past five, six years, this is all I’ve thought about. This is all I’ve been working for.”
Not only is he passionate about his career goal to be a veterinarian, but he is also proud of his degree from Texas Tech. He applied to both vet schools in Texas, but in the end, it was the personal, face-to-face interactions he had throughout the application process with Texas Tech’s vet school that influenced his decision to go to Amarillo. Although applying to a program as new as this one was daunting, he said he is thankful to be a part of the school.
“Since I’ve been here, I’ve not regretted my decision one bit,” Sorrels said. “I’ve loved every minute of being a part of this new program. The labs and classrooms are second to none.”
In addition to being part of the second vet school class, he was also part of the second cohort of the MILE Program. Kullen said being in MILE prepared him for the rigorous schedule of vet school. The communication skills and connections he developed throughout his MILE experience gave him the ability to thrive where he is now.
“Being through the (MILE) program helped me [develop] my professional and leadership skills and be able to handle stuff professionally, not only face-to-face, but even in writing,” Kullen said. “Gaining those professional skills through the program has definitely made a huge impact here at the [vet] school.”
Kullen’s cohort began in January 2020 and was off to a great start until Covid 19 changed everything. While he and his MILE classmates were able to attend some meetings in person locally, many of their experiences were online.
He said one of his most memorable sessions was the Zoom meetings with policy officials from Washington, D.C. and Austin. Despite not being able to travel to those locations, the group was able to meet in AgTexas’ boardroom in Lubbock and meet virtually with representatives and professionals to learn about policy and the legislative process.
Kullen said prior to those meetings, he did not have any familiarity with the policymaking process. Those meetings helped educate and expose him to a new side of things in the industry, which has since aided him in a class he took in vet school
“We have a class here at the vet school called “professional professionalism” where we talk a lot about the law and things that accompany being a veterinarian and owning a business,” he said. “Some of the skills we learned and some of the talks that we had during those several days that we got to meet everybody from D.C. and Austin were relevant to the course.”
Kullen said the MILE Program equipped and prepared him in so many ways for his next steps in vet school, and the lessons he learned are helping him thrive. He feels he is handling the challenges of school better with all he gained from the program.