Veterinary technology student reflects on Early College course

My name is Avril Rose Valdez and I am a senior at Waipahu High School. Currently, I am taking an animal science course in high school. Just recently, our Early College program offered ANSC 140 from Windward Community College. It is a course under their veterinary technology program for veterinary technicians. As a student in the Academy of Natural Resources, I am grateful to our academy advisor Rachel Domingo-Awo for introducing and encouraging me to take this course. 

Taking the ANSC 140 course was really an eye-opener for me. Although it is an introductory course, I learned so much about not only the basics of the veterinary field, but also the behind-the-scenes specifics that animal caregivers do. My professor Kacie Tom-Dela Cruz meets our class in person every Monday and online every Tuesday and Thursday during period two.

We were first taught about the different regulatory agencies involved in the the veterinary field, including the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Further in the course, we were also given the opportunity to get certifications through online lessons. I am proud to say that I completed the Fear Free program, and got a certification in Initial Bloodborne Pathogens and Initial General Biosafety. 

Throughout the course, our professor enabled us to connect with different guest speakers in the field. One that was truly memorable to me was Mission Rabies. Mission Rabies consists of a group of individuals who strive to prevent the spread of rabies in vulnerable places. They do mass dog vaccinations in countries like India, a hotspot for the virus. This presentation shifted my direction to conservation. I want to broaden accessible animal care in undeveloped countries that may not have the necessary resources. I plan to be a part of a group like Mission Rabies. 

Additionally, our professor also taught us the different zoonotic diseases that can be transmittable to humans. As an aspiring veterinarian, I find this part of the course very informative. I believe it is one of the things we should be knowledgeable of in order to keep our community safe and comfortable to live in. 

Finally, our last unit of the course is animal breeds. Our final project for the course was a breed presentation where we were paired to present a specific canine group. I was given the hound group. The breed unit in my opinion was the most fun. Being able to learn about the different breeds allowed me to use my learning outside of class. For instance, I recently started an internship at the Waipahu Waikele Pet Hospital and it is always amusing for me to be able to recognize a certain breed.

If you have any interest in veterinary medicine, I highly recommend this course as a start.  Our professor promotes the veterinary technology program at Windward Community College quite often. She goes over the application process and general information of the program. The veterinary field is not just about petting dogs and cuddling with kittens; this course will definitely help you visualize the actions behind clinic doors.