Grand Canyon – November 2014

Grand Canyon – November 2014

Have the best day of your life…

And live each day as your last…

Every day.

That’s my motto which I am dedicated to living by each day. There are a lot of things that it encompasses which I believe in too, but that motto is what I’m all about.

Too long, won’t read version:

My Education:

Veterinary Assistant Graduate from NCTA

My Work:

  • Currently pursuing a career in exotic animal husbandry
  • Writing for MakeUseOf
  • Creating websites for people
  • And some other stuff

My Pastimes:

  • Caring for my pets
  • Mountain biking
  • Personal writing/blogging
  • Photography
  • Helping others

The more detailed (and very long) version:

I have always had a deep passion for helping animals. Over the years my goals and interests have changed and been refined, but my initial purpose has stayed the same: to work cohesively with others and do my best to provide the best care to injured animals. Most of the changes came once I started college and began to see all the opportunities the veterinary field offered. Currently I am excited to pursue a career of rescuing and rehabilitating wild or exotic animals, and am specifically interested in animal training, and health and well-being, and educating others about different animals. Ultimately I would love to do this with sea life, but I am willing to keep an open mind to other ventures as well.

I’ve learned that it’s not necessarily what you do, where you live or what you make, but who you work with that makes your job, and ultimately your career, an enjoyable part of your life. Because why wouldn’t you want something you do every day to be enjoyable?

I have a lot of goals in life, but I feel that sums up that one pretty well: to have a career where I am able to work interdependently with people while helping wild or exotic animals, or sea life and to do it to the best of my ability!

Let’s jump back into the past a bit.

Even when I was young, I was fascinated with frogs, toads, salamanders, lizards, snakes, really anything that crawled that I could catch. This hasn’t left, but I’d like to think my care for my pets has improved just a tad since I was ten.

My Western Box Turtle, Victoria

Fast forward to high school, I still was obsessed with exotics, in fact that’s when I was the most able to own a lot of those pets — when I had money. I was also very involved in High School extracurriculars. I spent my evenings and early mornings doing show choir, practicing for musicals and One Act, basketball, running for track or cross country and working on projects in shop and on the engineering team. Each of these organizations taught me something different that shaped who I am today. Most of them, although still difficult, I was natural at. I’ve always loved singing; that wasn’t a problem. Musicals and One Act thrive on outgoing personalities, which I have so I didn’t struggle too much with that either. Engineering used math, which was never my strong point, but there were enough other intriguing aspects about it that I was able to overcome that small obstacle. And although I wasn’t the top track star or fastest Cross Country runner, I still felt I didn’t do too bad. I faced one of the biggest obstacles in High School, however, with my favorite sport — basketball. I wasn’t that great. At all. I encourage you to read more about my basketball experience under “My Philosophy.”

Education
While in college, I was very involved not only in student organizations, but in the college itself — which I take an interest in. I’m very passionate about NCTA’s mission and the service they provide for their students. And as one, I am also passionate about students. I have surrounded myself and gotten quite close with most of the staff and faculty during my time here — being a small school, that’s one of the big advantages that the students here have.

As I began looking for a place to pursue my Veterinary Technology education in college, I debated between three schools, eventually settling on the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture because of their tremendous focus on hands on and vast variety of animals to develop experiences with. Much of what I have learned here, I have never experienced anywhere else, primarily in agriculture, and even though I don’t plan to own a ranch or farm or anything of that sort, I have gained unforgettable skills working with equine, bovine and other large animals.

Like I previously mentioned, while at NCTA I was very involved with several organizations. I was employed by the college as a Student Ambassador, RA, office assistant and am currently a campus photographer for events, student life and really anything they need photos of. I’ve been a representative of Student Senate, which resulted in me becoming elected as Parliamentarian for the 2011-12 school year. But you can’t have an exciting college experience without truly getting out of your comfort zone. Now, for most at my college in Curtis, NE, it’s not all out of their comfort zone, in fact, it’s the norm. I joined the Equestrian Team the summer of 2011 while taking required classes and like it so much I continued through the fall semester. Unfortunately, due to an injury unrelated to riding horses, I was unable to continue riding and it’s something I truly miss. I plan to get “right back up on that horse” (as they say) eventually, once another opportunity shows itself. Riding is something truly amazing, no matter your skill set.

The organization I dedicated most of my time to at NCTA, however, has been the journalism team. Our main product is Aggie Up, the official college newspaper. Here’s the catch though, I’m the only student that was in the organization the semester of 2011-12. I often corrected people when they asked “Are you the guy that does Aggie Up?” by saying “No. I’m just in the organization.” Unfortunately, the school seemed content with one or two students running the entire newspaper, which is a lot of work! All that is behind every issue is the faculty advisor of the organization and me. I was happy to see that the following year after I graduated, the school, not only reached out and recruited more students onto the team, but also doubled the size of the paper — which was very exciting for me to see. However, as selfish as it may seem, I am somewhat glad that I was the only one at the time, as it allowed me to pretty much do whatever I wanted and try things out without running it by other students who may be more concerned about what people might think. When in doubt, I go for it. I have also learned my way around Macs, Photoshop and InDesign very well.

It was these skills that I believe allowed me to obtain three internships and other experiences that I’ve had the priviledge of having.

Work Experience
Internships didn’t come easy. I had to work really hard to get them — If I received a dollar for every time I called and left a message, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t even need to work the rest of my life. I have completed three internships. One at the Lincoln Children’s Zoo in Lincoln, Nebraska (2010), the second at Pet Emergency Treatment (PET) in Anchorage, Alaska (2010), and the third at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE (2012-2013), where I interned for a year. All were incredible experiences for me.

At the Lincoln Children’s Zoo I refined previous skills and learned new ones in the area of exotic animals. In the short time I was there, I managed to experience almost all the areas of the zoo. I learned safety precautions, not just for myself (e.g. knowing boundaries and distances away from the cages), but also for the animals. In an example of safety for the animals, one precaution that is taken is that the same person who cleans the Squirrel Monkey exhibits and cages, can’t also clean the Golden Lion Tamarin exhibits.

Other animals that I received a lot of experience with are several breeds of tortoises (e.g. African Spurred and baby Galapagos Tortoises), camels (Bactrian and Dromedary), otters, primates (e.g. Gibbons, Baboons, Ring-tailed and Mouse Lemurs), leopards, many species of birds (e.g. Hamerkop, Tawny Frogmouth, Guinea Fowl), lizards of all sizes (e.g. Monitor, Gila Monster, Day Gecko) and snakes (e.g. Western Hognose, Green Tree Python).

I could go on, but I think you get the picture — I gained a lot of experience in a little amount of time. I handled some of the animals, prepared their diets, cleaned their cages, learned about and prepared enrichment for various animals and witness surgery and physical exams of tree kangaroos, otters, baboons, etc.

At Pet Emergency Treatment, I learned not only many emergency skills, which I’ll expand on, but also how to work with others who are perceived as difficult to work with. Through this experience I feel I learned, matured and grew in experiences most would view as negative. I view my experience at PET challenging, but very rewarding. Many of the experiences I gained at PET were essential in developing the skills I have today. Aside from school is is where I built up the majority of my veterinary technology skills. These skills are listed on my resume.

Vector Marketing was another place I worked at. This was a direct sales job selling a high quality line of cutlery to customers. I acquired my customers on my own on a referral basis. In the time working there, I was promoted five times, received a letter of recommendation from the President of Vector Marketing based on performance, became an Assistant Manager Intern where I hired job applicants through a group interview process and was a Branch Manager Candidate, but due to my passion in veterinary technology chose a different path. I also trained representatives through field training which consisted of them attending my own appointments to watch and learn.

While at NCTA, I’ve had multiple work-study jobs including a Student Ambassador, Resident Assistant and Campus Photographer. There also used to be a company on campus called Frontier Technologies that had patented ultrasound, holographic equipment which I maintained and operated.

For 12 years, I have also worked for my dad’s landscaping company, Living Landscapes. I have primarily had the responsibility of the lawn care side, but I have done some on the landscaping. I wouldn’t consider myself an expert in the industry, but I have built up work ethic, dedication and general knowledge in Horticulture.

After graduating in May of 2012, I started looking for career opportunities. I spent one week working at an avian sanctuary in Colorado, which taught me more about birds, specifically psittacidae, than I had ever known before. It was very fascinating. I then began interning at the Henry Doorly Zoo and then shortly after started writing for MakeUseOf. Writing about technology isn’t necessarily something in the directly line of the career field I’m pursuing, but it is flexible, yet stable and allows me to do something I enjoy while still expanding my skills in other areas as well. In August of 2012, I began working as a Vet Assistant at Best Care Pet Hospital and worked there until February of 2013.

While interning at the Henry Doorly Zoo, I worked in so many areas and with so many kinds of animals, I don’t think I’ll even go into it all here. However, I have really been thankful for all the opportunities I received and skills that I built while working there. While I was there I worked in the Lied Jungle, Desert Dome, Aquarium, Pachyderm & Sea Lion Crew, Amphibian Conservation Area, and Madagascar.

I cherish all of the experiences that I’ve had so far before and after graduating from NCTA, and am continuing to explore new opportunities and ventures.

WOW! You’re still reading this? You must be really interested! Feel free to email me any questions or thoughts that you may have.

Thanks for stopping by and reading. It’s very much appreciated and I look forward to connecting with you.

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