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College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Elena M. McGoey

Elena M. McGoey Elena M. McGoey

Department of Animal Sciences 
Animal Sciences - Animal Biosciences 
Pittsburgh, PA 

2023 Distinguished Senior Award Recognition Reception Program (.pdf) 

2023 Distinguished Senior Award Recipient Reception Poster (.pdf) 

Elena McGoey’s greatest sense of accomplishment comes from raising her daughter as she pursues her degree. As Elena reflected, “Each step I get toward my career goal of becoming a veterinarian also gets me closer to my goal of being able to provide for my daughter, financially and as a role model.” Through the Office of Diversity and Inclusion’s College and High School Aspiring Mothers Partnership for Success (CHAMPS) program under the ACCESS Collaborative, Elena has served as a 
mentor to a young mother in high school seeking to further her education, helping her mentee realize her potential, connecting her with community resources, and assisting with the college application and financial aid processes. 

Her research in the Parasite and Pathogen Ecology Lab at the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine under Dr. Risa Pesapane allowed Elena to investigate the prevalence and diversity of tick-borne pathogens across eastern Canada. This research has led to two scientific publications in which Elena is credited as second author. Her Honors Research Distinction project under the mentorship of Dr. Pasha Lyvers Peffer analyzes learning management system data of Animal Sciences students to investigate self-regulated learning strategies.

Internships at both the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and the Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium offered Elena the chance to work with a wide variety of species and improved her understanding of zoo animal welfare. While at the Columbus Zoo, she designed new 
enrichment items for gibbons and siamangs designed to provide mental stimulation and promote their natural behaviors and implemented a new enrichment calendar for the zoo’s pair of wolverines. A third internship at the Humane Animal Rescue of Pittsburg Wildlife Rehabilitation Center saw Elena rehabilitating and supporting Pennsylvania native wildlife, and eventually re-releasing those animals. 

Elena identifies Dr. Pasha Lyvers Peffer as her mentor and shares the following: “Dr. Peffer has played a significant role in preparing me for life post-graduation. We have worked together in several ways, through advising, taking two of her courses, serving as a teaching assistant for her Honors course, and completing my Honors research project and thesis. She has seen how I perform inside and outside the classroom and has helped guide me toward success and professional and academic growth, and she has supported me through my navigation of pursuing a degree while parenting my daughter. Her feedback and advice have challenged me and given me reassurance.”

A native of Pittsburgh, PA, Elena will work as a veterinary assistant for the coming year while she applies to veterinary schools. Her long-term goal is to become a food animal veterinarian and licensed wildlife rehabilitator.

Service, involvement, and accolades: OSU Irish Dance Team | The Fish and Wildlife Society at OSU, treasurer, interim president | Eminence Fellows Program, ambassador | CHAMPS Program Mentor | Students with Children at OSU, student officer, social media and marketing chair | Glade Run Adventures| Humane Animal Rescue of Pittsburg Wildlife Rehab Center| Cultivate Columbus, co-founder| Towers Agricultural Honorary | Buck-ISERV | Franklin County Dog Shelter | American Society of Animal Science Undergraduate 

Elena McGoey - Press Release