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Taylor Gasser-Marshall fulfilled her calling for helping animals through MSU

Taylor Gasser-Marshall (16) didn’t have a single moment where she knew she was destined to be a veterinarian. She had several.  

“My mom pinpointed it when I brought home every single thing I found outside and tried to rehabilitate it,” she said.  

A few moments stand out to her, though. There was the time, growing up in Cynthiana, Kentucky, where she tried to “rescue” a snapping turtle the size of a hubcap under her house deck when she was almost eight years old. When she later moved to Richmond, Kentucky, she found a baby robin by a peach crate (which she then aptly named “Peaches”) and nursed it back to health.  

“He went on to attack anyone with red hair because he thought they would also feed him,” she said, laughing.  

Gasser-Marshall is still focusing on animals’ health and well-being as an emergency veterinarian at the Metropolitan Veterinary Specialists and Emergency Service in Louisville. It took her a unique journey to get there (more on that later) – a journey that started at Morehead State.  

When Gasser-Marshall came to MSU, she said she immediately wanted to enroll after seeing the 325-acre University Farm and meeting the attentive staff and veterinary advisors. She was enrolled in the George M. Luckey, Jr. Academic Honors Program, earning two bachelor’s degrees in veterinary science and Spanish when she graduated in 2016. While she was a student, she was active with Delta Zeta Sorority, participated in Sigma Delta Pi – National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society, and worked with the campus’ service dog organization, 4 Paws for Ability.  

She said instructors like Dr. Phil Prater, professor of veterinary medicine, helped mold her into the veterinarian she is today.  

“My time in classes with Dr. Prater to this day, whenever I talk to clients about certain things in veterinary medicine, I use wordings and things from his lectures,” Gasser-Marshall said. “Getting to the people where you can help them help themselves, which is something that you can apply outside of veterinary medicine. That’s something that’s never left me.”  

Her unique journey to becoming a practicing vet had everything to do with the distance she traveled. Upon graduating from MSU, a “silly Google search” led to Gasser-Marshall enrolling in The Royal Veterinary College in London, England. She said she chose to go to vet school in London for the education model, the ability to practice in multiple countries upon graduation and the benefit of traveling and experiencing different cultures.  

“I would have never thought leaving Morehead to go to England, I would have seen the countries I’ve seen,” she said. “It satiated this desire to know more than just what was right around the corner.”  

She left London both with a degree and her husband, James. The couple met less than a year into the program when she served him working her way through school as a bartender. After returning to Kentucky in the summer of 2019, Gasser-Marshall worked her way into her current position as an emergency vet. She said the job is not without its challenges, whether it is the long overnight hours or the nature of her patients. It’s a running joke with her siblings who also work in the medical field like her younger brother, registered nurse and MSU alumnus Justin Gasser (18).  

“I always joke to him my job is harder because my patients can’t go, ‘Oh, I ate two pounds of chocolate. That’s why my heart is racing,'” she said. “I like the challenge of being an advocate for something that doesn’t have a voice.”  

Taylor-Gasser said a day’s work could include a concerned owner bringing their cherished pet in for a perceived emergency that turns out to be something minor or having to do everything from setting a puppy’s leg to stabilizing a patient before life-saving surgery. No matter the patient or the task, she feels fulfilled as long as she helps animals live healthy lives. 

“I can genuinely say every shift I go in, I can say I do something to make sure an animal is better off,” she said. “Right now, I feel like I am making the most difference where I am.”  

For more information on veterinary programs at MSU, visit