by Jessica Travis

SUNY Cobleskill is proud to announce that our distinguished alumna Dr. Judith St. Leger will be the honorary commencement speaker at the Spring 2014 graduation ceremony. Dr.  St. Leger’s passion for conservation and science paired with her education, has propelled her to her current position as the Director of Veterinary Pathology and Research at SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment. As a 1985 graduate of SUNY Cobleskill, who earned an Associate in Applied Science Degree in Agriculture Science: Animal Science and went on to obtain advanced degrees and attain well-respected professional standing, Dr. St. Leger will be a beacon of real-world inspiration to graduating students on Saturday, May 10.

In her role at SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment, where she has served for the past twelve years, Dr. St. Leger is part of a large, dynamic team of veterinarians and biologists working to advance health and disease knowledge in free-ranging and zoologically housed non-domestic species. Her work has taken her on a collection of adventures to many different places including Australia, Peru, Vietnam, and Antarctica.

Following her graduation from SUNY Cobleskill, Dr. St. Leger attended Cornell University and did advanced training in pathology through the University of California-Davis diagnostic laboratory. Her primary areas of interest include clinical pathology, anatomic pathology, advanced imaging, and molecular investigations. Her current investigations explore viral screening in dolphins and whales, pathogenesis of select infectious agents in marine species, and penguin embryonic development and diving physiology. She has authored several publications and book chapters and has held many prestigious positions in organizations related to her field, including – board member of the CL Davis Foundation and the SeaWorld–Busch Gardens Conservation Fund and past president of the International Association for Aquatic Animal Medicine (IAAAM). Dr. St Leger is currently on the scientific advisory board of the Morris Animal Foundation  and speaks annually at STEM events, particularly those focused on promoting women in science.