INSPIRING LIFE OF A LADY VETERINARIAN IN INDIA
Careers are shaped not just by academic and professional experiences but also by exposure in various roles and capacities as a veterinarian amidst diverse cultures, languages, and the people we interact with in our daily life. This is what Dr. Smruti Smita Mohapatra, a veterinarian, firmly believes in. Her various experiences of moving from her hometown Bhubaneswar to Chennai to pursue her Veterinary masters, taking up her first job as small animal clinician at Ahmedabad and pursuing a PhD (Veterinary Physiology) at Calcutta – all her choices have been greatly influenced by a love for animals. Selected as Child Scientist in 12th National Children Science Congress and adorned with Master Mind Award by Animal Care & Shelter Home for Animal Welfare, Preservation of Environment & Eco-System during school days, the young veterinarian has a knack for science and literary writing since the beginning. Literary champion of her college, she graduated in Bachelors in Veterinary Science & Animal Husbandry with Honours from Orissa University of Agriculture & Technology, Bhubaneswar in 2014. Her keen interest in research began taking shape while working on the ECG of Ganjam sheep of Odisha during her internship under the guidance of the department of Veterinary Physiology. She volunteered for health care camps for pets in Bhubaneswar during college days. She was an active part of animal vaccination and health camps at different districts of Odisha in their ambulatory clinics. An active member of NSS, she was a part of different animal vaccination camps conducted by NSS units in her college days. She completed her Masters in Veterinary Science with specialization in Veterinary Physiology (Hons & Distinctions) from Asia’s first veterinary and animal sciences university – TANUVAS, Chennai in 2016. Her Masters dissertation on avian nutritional physiology is duly recognized in Krishikosh (E-granth), an institutional repository of NARES, India by ICAR-IARI, New Delhi.
Without any further break after Master, she began her career the same year as a small animal clinician in a multispeciality hospital in Ahmedabad under the guidance of a senior lady veterinarian. She moved to Madhya Karnataka in 2017 bagging her first government job opportunity as an academician in Animal Husbandry Polytechnic in the small municipal town of Shiggaon, also known as Shiggavi, in Haveri district of Karnataka. Subsequently with the suggestions of her seniors and well wishers, she decided to join as a teaching faculty in her specialization at Gannavaram in 2017.
A veterinarian by profession, she personifies compassion, kindness and affection. She is a strong advocate of animal welfare issues, agriculture policies, UN Sustainable Goals and global climate change. She has been awarded with various merit scholarships during her study period. She has authored and co-authored research papers in the field of Veterinary Physiology. She has been invited as jury for various competitions. She has been awarded second prize in Innovative Idea Competition 2019 from DSIR–TOCIC, IIT-Kharagpur, CSIR-CGCRI and CSIR-CMERI. A passionate science writer, she has many popular, technical articles and scientific abstracts to her credit in various animal husbandry magazines, websites and national/international conferences. She has been included in the honorable Editorial Board of many reputed monthly magazines on agriculture and animal husbandry. Simultaneously she writes blogs for Readers’ Blog of the Times of India, OpIndia and Women’s Web. She writes essays and technical articles on animal welfare and global climate change for various animal husbandry websites. She writes and invites guest posts for her own blog – ‘Smruti Way! – Can we talk?’ on various social issues.
Her contribution to the society has been in the role of a veterinarian and an active social volunteer. She has been a votary of Lotus Sutra since the past eleven years. Apart from her professional pursuits, she has donated hair locks as a part of a hair donation drive for the benefit of cancer patients in Adyar Cancer Centre in 2015 during Masters days following which she was recognized as the youngest Udyam Social Icon of the Week 2015 by NMIMS, Bengaluru. As a compassionate and ethical vegetarian vet, she was the PETA India’s 2015 Cutest Vegetarian Next Door finalist from Chennai. She volunteered for various NGOs – Blue Cross of India, Bhumi, PETA Chennai, Make A Difference Chennai, TEDxYouth Napier Bridge, MASH Project, YIF, Save the Turtles campaign, Angel of Marina and Chennai Beach Clean Up during her Madras tenure.
She was proactive in early morning Turtle Walks in winters during the breeding season of ridley turtles along the shores of Chennai. She participated in Run for Cause – Ridley Run marathon in 2015 meant for conservation of ridley turtles. She was invited as a Special Jury for the Ridley Run Sand Sculpting Competition organized by Tamil Nadu Forest department and Ezone India at Marina Beach consecutively for the years 2015 and 2016. As she moved to Kolkata for her PhD studies, she volunteers as Hunger Hero for Zomato-Feeding India in Kolkata. As a young achiever, she has been felicitated with many awards for the year 2020 and Inspiring Lady Veterinarian Award 2021 on International Women’s Day by Pashudhan Praharee. She was shortlisted and interviewed amongst 18 female researchers and scientists from South Asian countries under ‘Women in Science and the Pandemic’ – an initiative by UNESCO considering her active engagement in STEM. Her interview on The Interview Portal as a Career Pathbreaker meant for the students for career to pursue is a must read. She was a delegate International Model United Nations Online Conference 17.0 at International MUN recognised by UN and Australian Embassy. The wife of a serving young Armed forces officer, she is an active volunteer for DESH which is a group of committed individuals that give moral, psychological, emotional and social support to the martyrs’ families in India irrespective of the ranks. Apart from her academic pursuits, she mentored the underprivileged girl child under Call & Connect India initiative during the pandemic. She has been awarded with Humanitarian Excellence Awards 2020 for her compassionate and altruistic intentions to improve the lives of others. She believes that God gifts you more and even pours from unexpected corners, if you help others selflessly. Thus the lady vet is already out on her unique journey to make this world a better place for women, children and animals and mankind, in general, in her own small ways.