After spending 20 years in U.S. Army intelligence, Tammy Mintler decided to finally pursue her lifelong dream of working with animals. After earning her associate degree in veterinary technology from Colby Community College in Kansas, she pursued another dream: to live in Montana.
Last fall, she graduated from St. Petersburg College’s online bachelor’s degree program in veterinary technology. She will use her degree to teach vet tech.
“For an online program, it was much more challenging than I expected,” said Mintler, who will represent upper division graduates when she addresses her peers at the morning commencement ceremony.
While Mintler found the courses demanding, she values the knowledge she has acquired.
“I wish I had known a lot of this stuff when I first started out as a technician, like OSHA, legal and ethical issues and dental classes,” said Mintler, who made the President’s Honor Roll at SPC four times. “I feel more rounded now. And as an instructor, I can draw from my personal experience and the new things I have learned.”
Mintler spent 10 years working as a veterinary technician and always enjoyed working with high school groups when they came into the practice where she worked. She would show them around, give tours and quiz them.
“They said ‘you should be a teacher.’ But I really couldn’t afford to move to get my bachelor’s.”
After finding St. Petersburg College’s program online, Mintler got a call from Dean Rich Flora, inviting her to apply.
“The faculty was extremely supportive,” Mintler said. “Everyone is willing to go the extra mile to help students. I never expected (the dean) to call me like that.”
Mintler plans to remind her fellow graduates that “education itself is an opportunity and learning is a lifelong process. Learning is what makes life interesting and challenging. […] Learning is limited only by apathy, and you only truly fail when you stop trying.”