2019 Scholarship Recipient

Dana Thompson

MCC-Maple Woods


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

2019 thompson"The road I took that led me to choose veterinary technology as a career path is not as straight forward as other students, but I don’t regret any of it.

I have always had a love for animals since I was a child and had thought I would become a veterinarian when I grew up. However, in high school my interests expanded into other sciences including genetics, psychology, and epidemiology. I wasn’t certain what I wanted to do for a career by the time I graduated high school, but I knew I loved science. I decided to go to Truman State University where I earned my bachelor’s degree in biology. While attending college I took numerous science classes that only broadened my scientific interests to include microbiology, parasitology, and ecology. Outside of the classroom I kept my love of animals alive by spending time volunteering at the local animal shelter with a close friend who was planning on going to veterinary school after undergrad.

In college I had begun thinking I would go to graduate school to do research, but I hadn’t picked a specific field. I spent the summer before I graduated as an intern at Catalent Pharma Solutions, a pharmaceutical company in my hometown. I had applied to different summer research programs as well as an internship I found for a microbiology lab. I was very surprised that my interview was for a chemistry lab instead of the microbiology lab that was advertised, but I decided to accept the position.

During my last semester of college, as I faced another graduation, I was filled with uncertainty. I thought I would enjoy research and wanted to apply to graduate schools, but I had not had the opportunity to conduct any research. I was accepted back at the pharmaceutical company as an intern upon my graduation while I applied to graduate schools. I was invited to interview with a graduate school for a master’s program in ecology. I was interested in anthropogenic effects and wanted to help correct all the problems caused by humans. Unfortunately, it was not a pleasant experience and I went home more confused than ever.

I sat down and made a list of all of my interests and I researched careers within those interests. Veterinary technician was one of the careers on my list and I knew there was a school with a program in my hometown. I shadowed a local veterinary hospital several times before I made a decision.

I had been with the pharmaceutical company for over a year and knew I would have a stable job as a full-time analyst in the laboratory that would allow me to pay off my student debt. Leaving the security of a stable job was harder than I had imagined, but I knew being a chemical analyst wasn’t going to make me happy.

I applied for the veterinary technology program and was accepted. I haven’t been in the veterinary field long, but I can honestly say I am much happier than I was before. This field combines the various interests I have in science with my love of animals. I was not aware of how many career paths were available to veterinary technicians before joining the program. I am very excited by this prospect because I could see myself specializing after graduation or even teaching the material one day. I believe that a career as a veterinary technician will fulfill my desire for meaningful work within my interests."

Pictured: 2019 MOVTA scholarship recipient Dana Thompson with MCC Maple Wood's program director, Dr. Chris Morrow