Armed with desire for knowledge and helping others, Bonnie Loghry has followed her passion for public health education to four countries in the past four years. During that time, she also earned a bachelor’s degree in veterinary technology from SPC.
Loghry, who works as a Veterinary Technologist and an Occupational Health and Safety Trainer at Yuba College in northern California, is a registered veterinary technician with more than 30 years of experience in developing vet tech course work. She is an OSHA-certified safety specialist who focuses on assessing and troubleshooting veterinary workplace safety.
As a working mom of two children, she had made a few attempts over the years to get a bachelor’s degree but had never found anything that piqued her interest until she discovered SPC’s Veterinary Technology program.
“I evaluated vet tech curriculum from other colleges and they just didn’t really light my fire,” Loghry said. “St. Petersburg College offered the best well-rounded, in-depth curriculum. That’s why I chose them.”
She enrolled online in the veterinary technology program in spring 2008 and graduated in May 2011. When she enrolled, her supervisor encouraged her to take an international trip to Haiti to instruct local veterinary agents in large animal medicine and surgery. Hesitant at first because she had never traveled outside the U.S., she eventually agreed to go on what would be a life-altering experience.
“When we were there, we would drive out to some really remote place and basically set up shop under a tree, and villagers from all around would start showing up with their animals,” she said. “Giving them some rudimentary skills that they could then use to help their neighbors with their animals was very rewarding, and I was absolutely hooked after that.”
Loghry went on several more overseas trips over the next few years, paying for some herself as well as with support from the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Farmer-to-Farmer program.
Her trips have included:
In 2009, she travelled to Luxor, Egypt to work with Animal Care in Egypt and Egyptian veterinarians to teach treatment and care of small and large animals to the community.
In 2011, she travelled to Haiti with the Farmer-to-Farmer program, training Haitian veterinarians in sustainable veterinary practice, public health and occupational safety.
In March 2012, she travelled to Bangladesh for two weeks working with ultra-poor women, teaching animal husbandry and how best to care for their goats.
“In developing countries, their dependence on their animals is so different than what we have here. We don’t realize how dependent we are on animals because we can go to the local store and buy food and not think about it,” she said. “These folks, they need donkeys in order to get to the river to get water. I guess it just brought me back down to ground level of what veterinary medicine is all about.”
Two of her SPC instructors remember her fondly.
“Bonnie is wonderful and she represents St. Petersburg College well,” said Wendy Rib, Instructor of Veterinary Technology. “She’s made significant contributions both during her tenure here at the college and since she’s graduated. She’s already embarked upon some fantastic steps within her career.”
“Because we are an online program and we have a diverse pool of learners, I think it’s very beneficial as a student to expand yourself by being opened up to other points of view,” said Cindy Grey, Faculty in Veterinary Technology. “I think the program itself is set up for these students to engage each other and exchange ideas, and that it certainly was very helpful in her taking the next step in her education and career.”
“I can’t say enough about the whole baccalaureate degree program in veterinary technology, but those two ladies in particular are amazing educators and just lovely people,”Loghry said about Rib and Grey. “Every chance I get, whenever anybody calls and wants me to say something about St. Petersburg College, I just go on and on until people’s eyes start rolling into the back of their heads—mostly because of those two ladies.”
Loghry has been accepted into the Master of Public Health program at the University of California, Davis, where she will begin classes in August.