Staying Close to Home Important to Northeast Grad

Published on: August 4, 2020 ,

Location, location, location. That is one of the main reasons Dr. Ross Pinkelman of Bloomfield chose Northeast Community College to start his education as a veterinarian.

Pinkelman, who graduated from Wynot High School in 2008, said he took one semester at South Dakota State University, but found he really wanted to be closer to home. He transferred to Northeast’s pre-veterinary science program, graduating in 2010.

“I was able for at least part of the time at Northeast to attend classes in the morning,” Pinkelman said, “and work on my uncle’s farm in the afternoon and on weekends. I graduated from Northeast with almost no debt.”

And the more economical cost was the second big reason Pinkelman chose Northeast. “The biggest challenge is getting that tuition paid off,” Pinkelman said. “The cost to earn a DVM is almost the same as an MD but you aren’t going to get paid as much.”

After graduating from Northeast in 2010, Pinkelman transferred to the University of Nebraska Lincoln. “All my classes transferred easily,” he said. “I didn’t miss a beat by starting at Northeast. And the smaller class size and more hands-on experience at Northeast gave me a good start.”

Pinkelman entered the two-plus-two veterinary medicine program between UNL and Iowa State University in 2012, graduating with his DVM in 2016. He practices at the Bloomfield Vet Clinic with Dr. Paul Oltjenbruns. Pinkelman said their practice is mostly large animal, especially cattle, and he enjoys that.

“Veterinary medicine has changed a lot in the past 10 years,” Pinkelman explained. “The profession has become more specialized. Although we have a mixed practice, we work mostly with cattle, but I have some colleagues who see only hogs, or only small animals.”

For a young person considering veterinary science as a career, Pinkelman said getting experience with animals is important. “The interview process to get into the program with Iowa State was mostly all about experience,” he said. “Your grade point average didn’t matter as much as whether you had experience and the drive needed to complete the program.”

To help attract more students and provide a better learning experience for students like Pinkelman, Northeast is in the process of building new ag facilities through the Nexus campaign. The initial phase of construction includes a new veterinary technology clinic and classrooms, a new farm site with a large animal handling facility and other farm structures for livestock operations, a farm office and storage. The new facilities will be located near the Chuck M. Pohlman Agriculture Complex on E. Benjamin Ave. in Norfolk. Site work began in April and construction should be completed by the Fall of 2021.

The funding for the agriculture facilities will come from the College’s commitment of $10 million, as well as external fundraising to fill the gap. With a total project cost of $22.3 million, the College has raised enough funds to begin construction; however, fundraising for the Nexus campaign will continue, as more is needed for equipment, technology and furnishings.

In August 2019, the Acklie Charitable Foundation (ACF) announced a $5 million lead gift to the Nexus project. ACF was founded by the late Duane Acklie and Phyllis Acklie, both Madison County natives and graduates of Norfolk Junior College, a predecessor institution of Northeast Community College.

For more information on the Nexus Campaign, contact Northeast Associate Vice President for Development and External Affairs Dr. Tracy Kruse, at, or call (402) 844-7056. Online donations may be made through Checks may also be mailed to Nexus Campaign, Northeast Community College Foundation, P.O. Box 469, Norfolk, NE 68702-0469.