In this Alumni Spotlight we caught up with Ashley Surrena, graduate of the Veterinary Assistant training program who is currently employed at Whispering Pines Veterinary Clinic in Greenville Pennsylvania.
What where you doing prior to enrollment? What made you enroll in school?
Prior to attending Great Lakes, I was working part time at a local gas station. I wanted a career change and animals were always a passion for me.
Where have you worked since you graduated and where do you currently work? What is your title?
My first job in the field was at Alpine Trails Veterinary Clinic where I worked for 2.5 years. My current place of employment is at AWhispering Pines Veterinary Clinic. I’ve worked here since July of 2015 and my title is a Veterinary Technician.
What types of things do you do there day to day?
My daily routine at Whispering Pines includes surgery, client/patient service, running labs, filling prescriptions, machine maintenance, and sample collection.
What do you like about your career?
One of my favorite things about my career is each day is never the same. There is always something new coming through the door, that requires me to push my boundaries and expand my knowledge. I also love that we run a fast paced schedule. One minute I can be tending to vaccines and the next fixing a broken leg or delivering puppies.
What did you like most about attending Great Lakes? What did you like most about the Veterinary Assistant program?
What I loved most about Great Lakes was the education they offered me. The administrators always lent a helping hand towards getting us hired and setting us up for success in our field of choice. What I loved about the Veterinary Assistant program was the hands-on experience I gained. The program itself helps get you ready to go into the veterinary field and helps you get comfortable with routine clinic life.
What are your career goals for the future?
My career goal for the future is to continue growing in the veterinary field at my current place of employment. I would also like to take some classes towards specializing in behavior and nutrition.
What advice can you give current students and new graduates that can help them be successful?
My advice to current students, take every opportunity to draw that sample, run that lab, and restrain that dog. Growing your hands-on skills will land you that job. Asking questions will help you learn. For students that have graduated, volunteer at local shelters and rehab centers. Be inquisitive at interviews and ask questions. Assistants and technicians working in this field love to help new students grow and in my experience grow fond of the ones who share in the passion for knowledge.