Archive for the ‘Veterinary Technology’ Category

To help celebrate National Veterinary Technician Week, the School of Veterinary Technology will host its annual Open House from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 15 at the Veterinary Technology Center, 12376 Ulmerton Road, Largo.


Animal lovers of all ages have fun at the annual Open House held at the Veterinary technology Center.

Members of the public are invited to the event, where they can tour the state-of-the-art facility, learn about programs and career options, meet faculty, and explore a “day in the life” of a veterinary technician.

The event will feature many hands-on activities, such as the opportunity to examine blood samples under a microscope and observe cat clicker training. Additional presentations will be held on pet care and nutrition, avian and exotic species.

Pets will also be available for adoption.

Vendors will include: St. Petersburg College’s International Programs, Animal Lovers Dream Rescue, Avian & Exotics, Animal Services, Humane Society, SPCA, Operation Snip, Paws for Veterans (service dog demo), Dog Tag Heroes, Southeastern Guide Dogs, Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Therapy Dogs International, Student Veteran’s Association, Vet Tech Society (VTS), Florida Veterinary Technicians Association (FVTA) and  PSTA (SPC Rides Free).

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SPC alumna Nicole Becker looks over X-rays from one of her four-legged patients while working as lead veterinary technician and office manager at North Boulder Companion Animal Hospital in Boulder, Colo.

SPC alumna Nicole Becker looks over X-rays from one of her four-legged patients while working as lead veterinary technician and office manager at North Boulder Companion Animal Hospital in Boulder, Colo.

Attend our Open House

Wednesday, Oct. 15
4 to 7 p.m.
RSVP online

History of successful vet tech alumna
SPC alumna Bonnie Loghry received the 2013 Linda Markland Outstanding RVT of the Year Award – Non-Private Practice from the California Veterinary Medical Association. Read more about Loghry.

St. Petersburg College School of Veterinary Technology alumna Nicole Becker was named 2014 Technician of the Year by the Colorado Veterinary Medical Association Sept. 20.

Since she was a child, Becker, 30, knew that her future would revolve around the love and care of animals.

“Ever since I was 9 years old, I always wanted to be a veterinarian or work with animals,” said Becker, who serves as office manager and lead veterinary technician at North Boulder Companion Animal Hospital in Boulder, Colo. “I never really strayed away from that; my feelings for it never changed.”

Born in Colorado, Becker grew up in Pinellas County, where she attended high school in Indian Rocks Beach. She remained local for college, and received an associate degree in veterinary technology from SPC in Summer 2008.

“The biggest thing I find that I am grateful for during my time at SPC was all of the hands-on training that we did,” Becker said. As a student, she worked on animals every day in the kennel – taking X-rays, placing catheters, performing dental and other medical care.

Her dream is to own and operate her own veterinary clinic.

“Nicole was always a great student,” said Rich Flora, dean of the School of Veterinary Technology. “She was dedicated to her courses, her learning and mastering the skills required to be an effective, contributing, valuable member of our profession. I have no doubt that she will be a very successful practice owner.”

A few years after graduation, Becker moved back to Colorado in August 2011, where she began working as a veterinary technician at North Boulder Animal Companion Hospital. After a short period of time, she realized she wouldn’t be satisfied in the entry-level position. When the hospital’s lead veterinary technician quit with only a week’s notice, she jumped at the opportunity to take on the role.

“I told my boss that I would like to try to take on the responsibility of head technician, so I took the reins and ran with them,” Becker said. When the animal hospital’s office manager left a few months later, she decided this was her chance to do and learn more.

“I asked her to let me also take on this responsibility,” she said. “I want to keep going and don’t want to stop – I want to work my way as high up the ladder as I can go.”

What she wasn’t expecting was the difficult she faced hiring new employees. The lack of direct animal contact in veterinary education in Colorado was a shock to Becker, who spent nearly every day working hands-on with the animals as an SPC veterinary technology student.

“Out here in Colorado, animal rights organizations are a huge thing,” she said. “The students out here don’t seem to get to practice on real animals. I get CVTs (certified veterinary technicians) who come in who are certified but have never placed an IV catheter in a real animal.”

“From an office manager’s point of view, where I am now trying to hire people, I think that is the biggest factor that stands out for me,” she said.

Becker said that at SPC, she learned how to not only understand what she was reading and learning through hands-on instruction, but how it also applies to her work as a veterinary technician.

“I see it too with my new hires,” she said. “They want to understand it – and they think they do. But when they try to work through a problem, you realize that their knowledge is completely based on what they memorized from their books.”

Becker said she wants to continue her education online to receive a Bachelor of Applied Science in Veterinary Technology from SPC, where she knows the faculty are dedicated to her education and success.

Flora said it is no accident that Becker and many other SPC graduates are successful in their profession.

“The dedication and concern shown by our faculty and staff toward our students is reflected by their success after they leave St. Petersburg College,” he said. “We look forward to having her back in our BAS program.”

The SPC School of Veterinary Technology recently received full accreditation from the American Animal Hospital Association, signifying the highest level of medical care within the veterinary medical profession. Only three of the 221 veterinary technology programs accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association also are AAHA accredited.

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Lori VanValkenburg, SPC alumna of the Veterinary Technology program at St. Petersburg College.

Lori VanValkenburg, SPC alumna of the Veterinary Technology program at St. Petersburg College.

Lori is another wonderful example of our alumni. Through her efforts in her job and in the professional organizations she participates in, the quality of our graduates is reflected. This further solidifies our position as the leader in veterinary technology education.”
Rich Flora, dean of the School of Veterinary Technology

St. Petersburg College alumna Lori VanValkenburg credits the faculty in SPC’s Veterinary Technology program with helping her succeed in the field of veterinary medicine and education and for providing guidance throughout her education and beyond.

VanValkenburg, 39, serves as Program Director for the Veterinary Technician and Veterinary Assistant programs at Pima Medical Institute in Houston. Since it’s a new program, she has been preparing the program to earn AVMA accreditation.

“The knowledge and skills that I learned while taking courses at SPC have prepared me well for my career field,” VanValkenburg said. “Every single course that I have taken in my degree program at SPC has made a positive impact on my career.”

Veterinary medicine and education is actually VanValkenburg’s second career. She worked in the medical industry for nearly 10 years as a surgical assistant, but realized it wasn’t humans she wanted to spend her life treating; her sights were set on taking care of man’s best friend and teaching others how to do so.

“I always loved animals and I had the opportunity while I was married to be able to go to school and really do what I wanted,” said the now single mother.

After earning her associate degree in veterinary technology from the Lone Star College System, VanValkenburg wanted a veterinary bachelor’s degree. But she had trouble finding a local program that could meet her demanding schedule as a busy working professional.

While searching for veterinary technology bachelor’s degrees online, she came across the St. Petersburg College website and was excited to discover the program was offered entirely online. VanValkenburg also found SPC’s faculty very caring and dedicated.

“They were just so personal and understanding, and they connected with students really well,” said VanValkenburg.

While in school, VanValkenburg faced personal family challenges that made it difficult to keep up with her studies and appreciated the support she received from some of her vet tech faculty, even when she took a break from classes. She eventually graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in veterinary technology from SPC in Summer 2011.

She has remained in touch with her instructors since then.

“I feel like they are proud of who I have become and that I can contact them any time for further guidance. I guess you could say they are my cheering section.”

Cynthia Grey, professor of Veterinary Technology, describes VanValkenburg as a creative, goal-oriented individual.

“As a learner, it was not enough for her just to complete something,” Grey said of her former student. “Lori went beyond looking at her degree path as a series of assignments to check off when completed. She capitalized on having an enriching learning experience.

“I think what further contributes to Lori’s success both academically and professionally is her passion for veterinary medicine … She is enthusiastic and proud of herself and her profession, and this is reflected in her successes.”

Rich Flora, dean of the School of Veterinary Technology, said VanValkenburg always looked beyond the surface and wanted to understand the deeper principles.

“Having a student like Lori, who loves our profession and has dedicated herself to it, assures me the future is in very good hands,” Flora said.

VanValkenburg has always been active in her field. Since February 2010, she has taught full-time veterinary technology classes and written exam questions for the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE) national boards. She currently serves as Director-at-Large for the Association of Veterinary Technician Educators and recently served as president of the Texas Association of Registered Veterinary Technicians (TARVT).

On Sept. 20, she expects to graduate from the University of Phoenix with a master’s degree in adult education and training. She is considering working on a doctorate degree once her 5-year-old son, Nathan, gets older.

“I’m a single mom and he’s just known me as doing my homework all the time,” said VanValkenburg. “I’m sure that him seeing me as a student like this will be a positive motivation for him in the future.”

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Higher oneSt. Petersburg College Veterinary Technology student Tracye Sackett has been announced as the winner of the Higher One’s Tuition Freedom Sweepstakes. The prize, which covers up to $120,000 of college tuition costs, allows Sackett to complete her education and graduate free of student loan debt.

“Winning this sweepstakes is a huge deal to me,” Sackett told Higher One. “This scholarship means that I can continue with my studies and be able to afford to finish the program that I am in.”

It was her love for animals that led her to pursue the degree in veterinary technology at SPC. With 10 years of veterinary field experience under her belt, Sackett decided to expand her knowledge and abilities through education.

“[Pursuing a degree] has been a bit of an uphill climb, but it has given me a sense of accomplishment and something to be proud of—in the end, it will have all been worth it.”

As the issue of rising college costs and growing tuition debt continue to be part of national discussion, Higher One officials view this sweepstakes as an opportunity to make a difference, providing peace of mind to one student to graduate without the burden of tuition debt.

“We congratulate Tracye and wish her much success in completing her studies at St. Petersburg College,” said Miles Lasater, president and chairman of Higher One. “At Higher One, we are committed to working every day to help our university clients more effectively change the lives of millions of students.”

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The Veterinary Technology program at St. Petersburg College will host a presentation about commercial breeding facilities titled Puppy Mills: From Iowa to Florida on Wednesday, Oct. 9. The event will begin at 7 p.m. and is free and open to the public at the Veterinary Technology building, 12376 Ulmerton Road, Largo.

The presentation will be facilitated by Mary LaHay, president and founder of Iowa Friends of Companion Animals, a nonprofit dedicated to research and education on the issue of puppy mills.

According to the group, Florida is the second largest market for puppies produced in commercial breeding facilities in Iowa, with hundreds of puppies shipped to Florida annually.

LaHay also will speak at 7 p.m. Oct. 10 at the SPCA of Tampa Bay, 9099 180th Ave N, Largo.

Both presentations are free and open to the public.

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It’s the end of the old Veterinary Technology building at SPC’s Health Education Center.

Buzzy Misiura with Facilities Services submitted these photos of the building’s demolition. Work at the site started last month, Misiura said.

The building was outdated to serve the needs of the Veterinary Technology program, and renovation costs were prohibitive.

Additional parking at the site will be created to accommodate the growth of HEC’s programs, said Jim Waechter, Associate Vice President of Facilities Planning & Institutional Services. The current timetable for the new lot to open is by the start of the fall semester.

See more photos on the college’s Facebook page.

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The work of Christine Jarrett, a St. Petersburg College Veterinary Technology graduate, is in the news in Central Illinois.

Jarrett conducted a survey for her senior “capstone” project gauging community awareness and support for an off-leash dog park in Meadow Valley Park in the state’s Washington Park District, Courier Newspapers reported. Her research revealed that the area was a “dog friendly” town but few people were aware of plans for the park.

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