Dr. Darcie Stolz
Penn Vet Class of 1982

Anonymous quotes from women in equine practice


A great collection of UPenn women graduates

Other Memoirs of large animal veterinarians

Two generations of Women veterinarians in the Marshall Family

Texas A&M veterinary school didn’t graduate any women before 1966

Dr. Elinor McGrath was the first woman veterinarian in the US.

If you doubt that gender discrimination is much of an issue, read these anonymous quotes from women in equine practice. They will break your heart.

There are other memoirs of women large animal veterinarians.

No Job for a Lady: The Autobiography of M. Phyllis Lose, VMD was published in 1979, but unfortunately is out of print. The UPenn library has a copy. Dr. Lose also wrote A Woman’s Job is Never Done, about her time as the veterinarian for the Philadelphia Mounted Police. Dr. Lose graduated from UPenn Vet School in 1957 and was the first female equine veterinarian.

Mary Clark Keyser wrote Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary, published in 2009. She graduated from Penn in 1944. She was the first female licensed veterinarian in Delaware.

A great collection of UPenn women graduates who were pioneers in their field, including me!

Dr. Darcie Stolz, Penn Vet Class of 1982

Dr. Stolz graduated four years after I did, but her story is very similar to mine.
She was a girl from the suburbs, came to large animal medicine because she felt at home in the barn, had a hard time finding a first job, and then had to convince the Amish to trust her, just as I had to convince the Mormons.

As the commencement speaker for Penn Vet’s Class of 2009, Dr. Darcie Stolz left the graduating class with this inspiring thought: “If a girl from the suburbs, who knew nothing about agriculture, could end up being the first woman food animal practice owner in the heart of dairy country in Pennsylvania, you can do anything.”

Stolz exemplifies perseverance. Both her high school guidance counselor and college advisor strongly discouraged her from pursuing veterinary medicine as a career. But she steadfastly followed her calling. “I loved animals ever since I was a little girl,” she said.

As an undergraduate at Penn State, Stolz had every intention of becoming a small animal vet. But she volunteered at the sheep barn during lambing season, and that changed everything. Large animal medicine “was just a whole new world. I really liked the people and being outdoors. The lifestyle seemed to fit me.”

With signature stick-to-itiveness, she applied twice to Penn Vet before being accepted on her third try. “I graduated in 1982, at a time when women were still in the minority, and women interested in large animals were few and far between,” Stolz noted. “In fact, in my class of 103 students, I was the only woman who wanted to focus on bovine medicine.”

While she found supportive mentors at Penn Vet, going out into the workplace was a different story. Many large animal practices would not even grant her an interview. She finally found a job working in a two-person large animal practice in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. “I was very fortunate that once I did get hired, [my boss] was a good mentor and helped me get my feet on the ground,” Stolz said.

She also had to earn the trust of the local Amish population. “My big break was when I saved the Amish bishop’s cow from death. That catapulted my career within the Amish community,” Stolz said. “I initiated preventative herd health programs, beginning with scheduled herd checks.”

In 1989, Stolz purchased the dairy, beef, and small ruminant portion of the practice, and she has had a thriving business since. “You’ve got to build up that ‘trust account’ like a bank account,” she said, adding, “As a woman, it took longer and you had to work harder.” She credits her husband for his unwavering support. The demands of juggling practice ownership with raising children “take a spouse who is behind you 100 percent.”

Stolz is the Production Animal Practice Veterinarian At-Large representative to the Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association Board of Trustees, and she served on the American Association of Bovine Practitioners Board of Directors for six years. She presented the talk Families, Females and Food Animals: Can We Do It All? at the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges’ annual meeting. And she considers speaking at the Penn Vet commencement “one of the highlights of my career.”

All of this might seem impossible to a girl discouraged from pursuing a passion for veterinary medicine. But as Stolz noted in that commencement address, “Remember that even the most unlikely goals can be accomplished. I am living proof of that.”

Joan C. Marshall, DVM and Kerri Marshall, DVM, MBA
Two generations of women veterinarians

Dr. Elinor McGrath was the first woman veterinarian in the US. She graduated from the Chicago Veterinary College in 1907. Here is a little bit of her history.