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May GDB Alumni Spotlight: Shelby Hackenburg

Hey Fellow Aggies! 

My name is Shelby and I’m a member of the class of 2018. At Davis, I majored in Global Disease Biology and completed my practicum in the Gareau-Reardon Lab studying neural pathways that facilitate communication of the microbiome-gut-brain Axis. I was also on scholarship as an ROTC cadet and was a member of the Alpha phi sorority. Upon graduating, I commissioned as an Active Duty Medical Services Officer. Soon after, I served as a Platoon leader and Executive Officer, completed a combat deployment to Saudi Arabia and earned my Expert Field Medic Badge. 

As a military medical planner, a background in medicine, or even science, isn’t required. However, when COVID hit a quarter of the way through my combat deployment, I was called on to plan screening operations for my base. Yep, it was challenging. But, even more so, it was genuinely fulfilling to use my GBD background to react to a novel infectious disease outbreak overseas. Our team worked unilaterally with Surgeons (military doctors) throughout CENTCOM and across services to develop screening, quarantine, isolation, treatment and evacuation protocols. It was a reminder of why I loved my major and why I plan on returning to it once I complete my military service. A special shout out to my GDB classmates, professors and practicum mentors. I’m constantly grateful for you all.