Vienna earned both her BS (in Animal Sciences) and MPH at CSU, and graduated from the Graduate Program in Public Health in 2012. Her focus was Animals, People, and the Environment, and she completed her practicum and capstone with the Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS)—the branch of the USDA responsible for slaughterhouse inspection.

Vienna’s practicum consisted of 120 hours spent on the floor of various meatpacking plants in Northern Colorado. She rotated between two large plants, one beef and the other lamb, as well as several smaller facilities, including a cow plant, a bison plant, a chicken plant, and several fabrication and packaging facilities. These experiences provided her with a detailed understanding of the slaughter and disassembly of various animal species, as well as potential high-risk areas for contamination.

Following her practicum, Vienna completed her MPH capstone project with the risk-analysis section of the FSIS, branched out of Fort Collins. She and her two mentors from FSIS created a model to assess the increased risk posed by beef carcasses that drop from the rail during the de-hiding process.

Vienna presented the results for her project and later submitted it for publication. It was accepted and published in the journal Food Control. She completed her MPH in May 2012 and started a PhD program in Microbiology at CSU that same fall.

After completing the first year in her new program, Vienna is very content in her lab. Her research focuses on the immune kinetics of Francisella tularensis in cottontail rabbits.

“I am passionate about infectious, zoonotic disease research, and the MPH in conjunction with a research-oriented PhD will provide me with a solid foundation to further pursue my interests.”