Laura Catherine Gamard


Fairhope, AL

Academic Interests

Biology, Marine Science and Conservation

Fun Fact

I’m following my childhood dream of becoming a veterinarian!

My hometown of Fairhope, Alabama is a small coastal city that features quaint yet gorgeous beaches, rivers, and bays. Growing up surrounded by this abundant natural beauty has made me passionate about environmental sustainability. I love swimming, boating, kayaking, paddle boarding, and just generally spending time on the water. I am fascinated by marine science and plan to spend at least one semester of Duke at the Marine Lab in Beaufort. I also enjoy hiking and rock climbing, especially in Pisgah National Forest! While I initially explored environmental science and marine biology, I have come to realize that my skills and strengths are better suited toward being a practitioner rather than a researcher. I am now on the pre-veterinary track, and I dream of being a wildlife or exotic animal veterinarian. I hope to care for sick and injured wildlife, especially those whose populations are dwindling due to natural disasters, habitat loss, and climate change. It feels strange to decide on the pre-veterinary track so late in my academic career, but I believe I’ve fully explored my various interests and landed on something that is truly exciting and fulfilling to me.

I’m involved with several things on Duke’s campus that allow me to explore my interests in marine science, environmental science, and veterinary medicine. I am part of a research team that cares for two dogs with glycogen storage disease, and our research aims to find a solution for this condition that could eventually be applied to human medicine. As the Vice President of Duke’s Pre-Veterinary Society, I organize events to help pre-vet students at Duke find resources and opportunities to get involved with animals in Durham. I’m part of a BASS Connections research team that studies the genetics and population structure of dolphins, and once a week I help care for the Lemur Center’s lemurs and lorises by volunteering as a Technician Assistant. Outside of school I love to bake for my friends, read, and I’m (slowly) learning to crochet!

What do you like about being a SPIRE Fellow?

I’ve taken advantage of the amazing resources SPIRE provides for its fellows, such as funding for tutors and textbooks, a great mentorship program, and frequent emails about various opportunities for STEM students at Duke. I especially love the people in SPIRE and the fun events we have, and I love being a part of the Living Learning Community in Craven!

Laura Catherine Gamard
Laura Catherine Gamard