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Students paw their way to future jobs

Seniors intern at vet clinics to earn valuable experience, connections

Ashley Ramirez

Ashley Ramirez

SETTING UP: Filling up vaccines needed for the next patient is senior Morgan Walk. Walk believes this will help make a career decision in future. "This class has given me more experience in the field of veterinary medicine where I can make a better educated choice, since I enjoy this class I am more likely to enjoy a career in veterinary medicine down the road."

Ashley Ramirez, James Bowie High School

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Waking up early, getting dressed, and heading to class is normal for any high schooler. However, for student in the Vet Practicum class instead of sitting at a desk they are working at veterinary clinics around Austin.

Seniors Morgan Walk and Gabriela Minjares are part of the Vet Practicum class that allows them to spend half the school day working hands on with animals.

“I arrive at the clinic at eight then don’t leave till twelve,” Walk said. “Once appointments come in I help restrain or treat the animal as they come in or I will take care of the dog that are there for the day.”

Some students like Walk joined the class because of her love for animals.

“Ever since I was little I’ve had lots of pets and lots of experience with animals,” Walk said. “I joined because of my love for animals and wanting to help them.”

Others joined the class to take the steps towards a future career in this field.

“Freshmen year I took Principles of Agriculture to be in FFA then I saw that there was Vet Practicum class,” Minjares said. “I decided to take the route of animal and livestock because I want to do that in the future.”

Even though this class is both first and second period it does require time outside of class.

“The whole goal is to get your Certified Veterinary Assistant (CVA) and in order to get that we have to work 300 hours or more which means we have to work holidays and breaks,” Minjares said.

Having only been at the clinic a couple of months, Walk has had to make adjustments to help her succeed.

“The most difficult adjustment I have had to make is learning so much in such a short span of time to meet the level that they are at because it a business not just another high school class,” Walk said.

When attending the clinic students are required to wear a specific uniform.

“You have to wear closed-toe shoes and scrubs,” Minjares said

Out of all the animals that go in and out of each clinic, Minjares believes cats are that most difficult to work with.

“Cats are the hardest to work with because they get fussy and the have sharp nails,” Minjares said. “ They are scared easily and are less domestic than dogs.”

Walk takes great pride in helping out at the clinic.

“My favorite part is all the animals I get to see and the experience I am earning,” Walk said. “I have a passion for caring for animals so it is just really rewarding to go in a help out the animals and help out the clinic take care of those animals.”

In order to join the Vet Practicum class students will have to apply first even if all prerequisites have been taken.

“For Practicum they have to take the Vet Med class before this and they have to apply to be in the program,” Vet Practicum teacher Amber Dickinson said. “They fill out paper and from their teachers they will get a letter of recommendation and I will also decide on who i feel will be responsible enough to show up to the vets and do what they need to do.”

Students in the Vet Practicum class have a great advantage when applying to a vet program.

“They get 500+ hours and you need quite a few hours to get into a vet program so they already have that advantage getting an internship while they are doing school instead of having to get a outside of school job,” Dickinson said.

Read the original story here

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