Ashley Steuer combines her love of large-animal care and parasitic discovery to empower the next generation of veterinary students.
From the time she entered veterinary school, Ashley Steuer knew she wanted to be a practitioner in the equine/dairy industry – which just so happens to be one type of student the Texas Tech University School of Veterinary Medicine in Amarillo is targeting to become veterinarians, serving the needs of rural and regional communities of Texas.
Along the way, though, Steuer discovered a related, complimentary path, morphing into parasitology in her first year. From that point, she knew that would be her new career.
Only a few years out of veterinary school, Steuer now is finding a way to combine both interests, bringing together her love of large-animal care and the study of parasites and their effects as a faculty member of the Texas Tech School of Veterinary Medicine as an assistant professor of parasitology.
"To be able to join a school at its start is awe-inspiring and a great adventure," Steuer said. "I am excited to be a part of developing the school and curriculum, be a part of this community and watch its successes, both students and otherwise, for years to come. My greatest successes are my students, and I cannot wait to see what they bring to this profession."
Steuer will be able to relate closely to what current veterinary students are going through as she is not that far removed from earning her own degrees.
She earned her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Tennessee in 2016, and this past May earned a doctorate in veterinary sciences from the University of Kentucky (UK). During her time at UK, she served as the Zoetis Resident in Veterinary Parasitology in the Maxwell H. Gluck Equine Research Center.
Her research interests focus on host-parasite interactions and how they influence each other, practical parasite control and solutions, and parasite epidemiology and diagnostics specifically focused on equine and other large animals.
"Twenty-five percent of a small animal general practitioner's sales, on average, is due to parasite control and management," Steuer said. "Pet owners, farmers and ranchers experience parasites in animals on a daily basis, and it is not as simple as giving them a dose of a certain medication due to resistance and new management practice. My goal is to help teach the next generation of veterinarians practical parasite knowledge and management to help owners navigate the best possible route for their animals."
She also has taught classes in veterinary parasitology and led a diagnostic pathology senior rotation as an adjunct faculty member at Lincoln Memorial University and as a guest lecturer at the University of Tennessee. She is dedicated to helping shape the next generation of veterinarians while also improving animal health by discovering new parasitic species.
"The world is full of parasites that live on or in animals," said Guy Loneragan, dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine. "Not surprisingly, understanding parasites and how to effectively diagnose, treat, prevent and control them is extremely important to veterinarians. Ashley brings so much enthusiasm to this position. She is going to help the school reach a new level, and our equine and livestock industries will benefit from the work she will do at Texas Tech."
Steuer received the 2020 American Association of Veterinary Parasitologist (AAVP) Merck Outstanding Graduate Student Award and the Merck Award in Veterinary Parasitology in 2012. She is a member of the AAVP, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the American Association of Equine Practitioners.
"Dr. Steuer completed her doctorate in parasitology at a well-known equine research group in Lexington, Kentucky, the Gluck Equine Research Center," said John Dascanio, senior associate dean for academic and student affairs at the School of Veterinary Medicine. "She obtained a great education that she now brings to Texas Tech. Ashley has an infectious enthusiasm for the 'little critters' that most of us would prefer to not even think about. I had the opportunity to work with Ashley previously and can attest to her love of education and for research. We look forward to her contributions and the huge impact she will have in region and beyond, helping our constituents to battle the effects of parasitism."
Steuer becomes the 23rd faculty member for the School of Veterinary Medicine. Additional faculty members will continue to be added over the summer and fall.
About the School of Veterinary Medicine
Thanks to the generosity of Amarillo and communities across Texas, and the commitment of legislators from around the state, the Texas Tech University School of Veterinary Medicine in Amarillo, established in 2018, is working to enroll its first class in the fall of 2021, pending approval by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Council on Education.
The School of Veterinary Medicine will recruit and select students with a passion to serve in rural and regional communities. Its curriculum is focused on the competencies and skills necessary for success in practices that support these communities. Texas Tech's innovative and cost-efficient model partners with the wider community of veterinary practices across the state to provide clinical, real-world experiential learning.