2016 Scholarship Recipient

Stephanie Navarro

MCC Maple Woods

Essay topic: Other than a love for animals, what lead you to choose veterinary technology as a career path?

2016 navarro"My journey to becoming a veterinary technician is much longer than most students I am attending classes with at Maple Woods. Growing up, I always had a great love of animals. My mother decided to become a veterinary assistant when I was eleven years old and I spent many afternoons and weekends at the clinic where she worked. As I grew older, I would help clean cages, answer phones, and make appointments. Like many kids, I wanted to be a veterinarian when I grew up. Around the age of sixteen, when life choices start becoming real, I began to have serious self-doubts. I always had, in the back of my mind, “what if I’m not smart enough? What if I fail?” Eventually, I wandered away from veterinary medicine, but not from my love of animals. I went to college, received a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and spent seven years working as a social worker. After working in social services, I went to work for a natural gas company. It was a nice job with good income and benefits but I never woke up happy to be going to work. It was comfortable.

My husband and I moved to the Kansas City area three years ago and we started volunteering for the Kansas City Pet Project. Every Saturday morning from 8:00 to noon, we walked dogs, helped with play groups, cleaned litter boxes, and socialized cats. I began to realize that this was something I truly loved doing and started volunteering one night a week in the clinic. I helped clean, made surgery packs, and administered medications. Ensuring the animals were receiving love and care in a compassionate way was something I was passionate about doing. Eventually, I admitted to myself that years ago, I gave up on something I wanted out of fear of failing. I decided that my eleven year old self had it right, this was the career path I was always supposed to follow. I was older and more confident. This time, I knew if I truly wanted it, I could do it. After some research and soul searching, I decided I would go into veterinary technology. I found the best school in the area, researched requirements, quit my well-paying job, took a low-paying kennel attendant job, and applied to Maple Woods.

I enjoy every aspect of my career. I love the husbandry, I love the hands on technical skills, and I really love helping people give the best care for the animals they have in their life. Above all, I want to help. If I can help educate people so they are part of the solution or if I can help them through a difficult time, I feel fulfilled. Not knowing what to do is a frightening feeling and I want to be a part of alieving or reducing that fear. In the future, I want to be a part of educating other students. I believe it is part of our responsibility to encourage others that are entering this field. It’s challenging, exhilarating, and heartbreaking. I have never been happier. I know this is what I was meant to do."

Pictured: 2016 MOVTA scholarship recipient Stephanie Navarro with MCC Maple Wood's program director, Dr. Chris Morrow.