For 20 years, Angela Targrell, 43, worked in the children’s garment industry, until a year and a half ago when she lost her job.
“I realized that it was more work than career,” said Targrell.
However, instead of panicking, she started volunteering at the ASPCA and applied to the LaGuardia Community College Veterinary Technology program.
Now, Targrell is one of the 48 students accepted into the program – the only accredited one in the city – and has a new future ahead of her.
The veterinary program has two phases, the pre-clinical with 120 students, and the clinical where only the top 48 students are accepted.
“Students need to demonstrate 100 skills and take certain courses before they graduate and are able to take the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE) and become licensed,” said Dr. Robin Sturtz, the director of the program. The exam is given just twice a year, in January and in June.
Since only a few people are accepted into the program, many of the students appreciated the abundance of support that the course offers and the extra help the professors give to their students.
“You can see the bond between the teachers and the students,” said Tiffany Santiago, 21, a second year student who helped during the program’s September 29 pinning ceremony.
Hallie Rawson, 34, a second year student, has never experienced any program so comprehensive. When asked why he decided to go into the program, he actually credited his dog as his inspiration.
“I would go to and take him to the doctor’s and I didn’t know anything, and I just wanted to have more knowledge about what was going on. Your pets are like your family,” said Rawson, one of three males in the program. He has a job lined up at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine when he graduates in the spring.
The program stresses the value of student internships.
“Internships are a mandatory requirement during the course of their studies,” Dr. Susuan Kapp, one of the two program professors, said. “Students usually get internships at The Bronx Zoo, ASPCA and small animal clinics around the city.”
In addition, after graduation many students are able to convert their internships for permanent positions.