Archive for the ‘Veterinary Technology’ Category

Congratulations to the seven St. Petersburg College faculty members chosen to receive the 2014 John & Suanne Roueche Excellence Awards from the League for Innovation in the Community College.

The awards will be presented at the Innovations 2015 conference in Boston in March.

The League is an international, nonprofit organization dedicated to catalyzing the community college movement. It hosts conferences and institutes, develops Web resources, conducts research, produces publications, provides services, and leads projects and initiatives with member colleges, corporate partners, and other agencies in a continuing effort to make a positive difference for students and communities.

The 2014 St. Petersburg College award winners are:

Michael R. Gordon

SPC faculty Michael Gordon

Michael Gordon

Outstanding Student Engagement (On-Campus or Blended)

Michael Gordon serves as associate professor in the College of Computer and Information Technology. In response to a grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Labor to help the long-term unemployed gain employment, Gordon designed a blended Cisco Certified Network Associate certificate program that can be completed in just one semester – half the time it normally takes to complete the program. The blended format allows the vast majority of in-class time to be devoted to hands-on lab work.

Results have been outstanding, with 80 percent of the first cohort completing the program successfully and 86 percent of these students passing the CCNA exam on their first attempt. Beyond just academic accomplishment, many cohort members have gone on to find employment with local companies like Tech Data, American Computer Telecom, YMCA, NetWolves, Vology and Cisco Systems.

Cynthia Grey and Wendy Rib

SPC veterinary technology faculty Cynthia Grey and Wendy Rib receive an award from the League for Innovation.

From left: Cynthia Grey and Wendy Rib

Outstanding Student EngagementOnline

Cynthia Grey and Wendy Rib, professors of Veterinary Technology, collaborated to restructure the curriculum for the college’s online bachelor’s degree program in veterinary technology. During this process, Grey and Rib identified a need for a capstone course that spanned two semesters instead of one, and worked together to implement engaging online learning techniques to create a more individualized, learner-centered experience to improve learner outcomes and increase student success. An interactive activity implemented in the capstone courses is the use of the collaborative technology of WebEx, affording capstone students the ability to share their newly created knowledge in a synchronous online environment. To increase engagement, learners attend at least two presentations besides their own and actively participate in a question and answer period.

Other activities incorporated into the capstone experience are the out-of-class mentors and peer champions. Students contract with a mentor outside of the course whom they have identified as having specific skills that will help them successfully complete their senior project. For peer champions, classmates volunteer to support, encourage, and act as a resource for at least one other classmate’s project.

Students also receive individualized guidance from their professors. Both Rib and Grey spend time consulting with each student, usually by telephone, on their progress throughout capstone journey.

Ray Menard

SPC natural science faculty Ray Menard

Ray Menard

Excellence in Student Coaching and Support

Ray Menard serves as associate professor of Natural Science and has worked to help develop students’ technical skills in microbiology research for about seven years. Students visit the lab on their own time to learn the theory behind the techniques they use and gain hands-on experience in performing the experiments that make them successful and better prepared for the workforce. They develop critical thinking skills, learn to work individually and in groups, and also learn about science in a low pressure environment.

Through his coaching and support, students have investigated how spices inhibit microbial growth, and isolated an antibiotic-producing microbe that was identified as being Bacillus clausii. They have performed several molecular and biochemical analyses, and have isolated and characterized both DNA and proteins. The students have acquired good sterile techniques, are able to successfully culture microbes, and also have learned how to analyze the data and format figures and graphs.

Menard’s work with students also provides out-of-class support. In addition to being available to students in his classes to help with research, he also is available to help them with their other science classes. An unexpected benefit is that the students also help each other through questions they have regarding their classes.

Therezita K. Ortiz

SPC faculty Therezita Ortiz

Therezita Ortiz

Innovation in the Use of Technology

Therezita K. Ortiz serves as professor in the College of Computer and Information Technology and has been a full-time faculty member at St. Petersburg College since 1999. As of Fall 2014, she has taught more than 165 online courses, including Microcomputer Applications, Operating System Security, and Ethical Hacking, Network Defense and Countermeasures. She also has developed courses for traditional, blended and online formats.

Ortiz was the first in CCIT to implement the use of virtual machines for students in her courses. She also implemented the use of LABSIM, a web-based tool that created real-world, high-fidelity lab simulations, for networking, operating systems, Linux and security-related courses. Her use of multiple online communication resources like showmewhatswrong.com has allowed her to generate step-by-step video tutorials as she provides assistance to her students by walking them through particular tasks. This tool also enables the student to generate videos of what they are doing – right down to their key strokes as they work on assignments and projects. This capability is an asset to any learning environment, especially if it is online..

Ortiz holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Puerto Rico and a master’s degree from Nova Southeastern University. She has held Microsoft certificates and is CompTIA Network+ certified.

Anthony Valentine

SPC faculty Anthony Valentine

Anthony Valentine

Innovative Pedagogical Approaches to Teaching and Learning

Anthony Valentine, instructor of Communications, teaches communication and theater courses at St. Petersburg College. Valentine has more than 30 years’ experience as a professional actor and as an acting coach, including appearances on Days of Our Lives, Miami Vice, Night Court, Cybill and Murder, She Wrote, in addition to numerous professional plays.

He incorporates his professional performance experience into his speech courses by demonstrating to students how speaking in public is a form of performance that is similar to acting onstage. His acting experience helps students with both the performance and the business sides of theater and film, and his research includes acting for the camera based on a model of interpersonal communication, public speaking as performance, and teaching diversity in the classroom.

Valentine holds a bachelor’s degree in mass communications, a master’s degree in communication/performance and a doctorate in fine art/theatre. He currently teaches Introduction to Speech Communication, Public Speaking, Introduction to Theatre Arts, and Acting for the stage and for the camera.

James A. Wallis

SPC faculty James Wallis

James Wallis

Innovation in the Use of Technology

James Wallis, professor of Natural Science, teaches at the Tarpon Springs Campus. His research background is in the development of science-oriented virtual field trips. His interest lies in developing multimedia presentations that provide virtual experiences that are comparable to those of students who physically access natural habitats, when it is not possible to visit those locations.

Many of the students attending St. Petersburg College cannot attend field trips due to restrictions on their time, such as taking night classes or traveling to locations that are a great distance from the college. Students often are place-bound with respect to engaging in activities, such as field trips, that may enhance the educational experience in the sciences. As an alternative, Professor Wallis has developed a repository of completed virtual field trips (VFTs), videos and images to be used to develop multimedia presentations to support classroom instruction. The images have been collected during trips throughout Florida, Belize and Costa Rica. The repository includes a collection of images that are focused on topics in natural science and ecology. Images are sorted into groupings for quick reference, such as tropical species, reefs, aquatic species, and images of students engaged in science-related activities.

Many of the visuals collected were the result of a grant from the Center of Excellence for Teaching and Learning to purchase materials needed to develop virtual field trips. They have been housed on Dropbox to allow access to the materials by other instructors who are interested in developing lessons that need relevant visual support. All materials are freely available for use by other SPC instructors to develop classroom support materials. This provides open access to a growing collection of images and video covering various topics. To date, 700 images and videos are available for use in developing classroom materials by interested SPC instructors.

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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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