Growing up in small town New Jersey I never expected I would have been privileged enough to be standing where I am today. I have to admit, coming from an agricultural school like Delaware Valley University, I was a little timid when I was given the opportunity to come to the city. Little did I know, the decision to come to Drexel to get my Master of Laboratory Animal Science Degree would be one of the best I’ve ever made. Throughout the duration of this program, the professors have been beyond helpful and I have gained experience in areas I otherwise may not have. With that being said, I hope to pursue my dream of becoming a veterinarian, and without Drexel’s MLAS program I would have never realized I wanted to go into lab animal medicine. Drexel has prepared me more than I could have ever hoped and I truly feel confident working towards my future endeavors.
I initially applied to the MLAS program to boost my applications for vet school. I have wanted to be a veterinarian ever since I was little, but I had no idea what lab animal medicine actually entailed. During the past year and a half in this program, I've been given a great introduction to animal medicine and have been able to meet lab animal residents and professionals from many different areas of the field. The program has a good mix of lab animal courses as well as graduate-level science courses that have been a great foundation for veterinary school.
I attended UC Berkeley for undergrad, during which I volunteered at the Oakland Zoo in the giraffe and eland exhibit. After graduation, I completed a three-month internship at a Wildlife Rehabilitation Center where I worked with squirrels, possums, birds of prey and more. Afterward, I worked as a veterinary technician at a small animal hospital for almost two years before coming to Philadelphia.
While taking my first-year courses, I worked as a technician at PAWS (Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society) where I ran weekly low-cost vaccine clinics and assisted the on-site veterinarian in appointments. This year I am working as a surgical technician at a private clinic in Rittenhouse Square, involved with pre-, intra-, and post-operative care for patients, including monitoring anesthesia for the duration of the procedures.
I'm one step closer to attending veterinary school and pursuing a career in wildlife medicine. I have already been accepted to one school, and I am currently going through interviews for several others!
"For people who are thinking about applying to this program, I would say it has provided nothing but great, life-changing opportunities for me, and I have only been able to further my experience and gain really valuable experience. For me, it's been a great choice and absolutely worth the hard work and dedication."
Alumni of the Master of Laboratory Animal Science program are a force when they gather with their peers at the annual American Association for Laboratory Animal Science TriBranch meeting. The conference, which includes the Delware Valley, New Jersey and New York branches, was held this year June 6–8 in Atlantic City. Julia Krout, MLAS ’09, who works at New York University, was elected TriBranch chair for 2017. She presented a poster at the meeting.
Other MLAS alumni presenters were Khary Adams, ’05, of Incyte Corporation (two posters); James Brennan, ’16, of Bristol-Myers Squibb, who made a platform presentation and was a poster author; Kristna Carter, ’14, of Mount Sinai, New York City (poster); Penny Devlin, ’06, of Penn State University at Hershey (poster); Danielle Kulich, ’14, and Daniel Quiros Molina, ’14, who work at Drexel College of Medicine (posters); and Melissa Semenas, ’15, of GlaxoSmithKline (platform presentation).
Kelly Patterson, ’15, of Montclair State University, and Stephany Silva, ’12, of the University of Pennsylvania, were presenters of the Mini Leadership Academy Workshop.
MLAS alumna Stephany Alvarez completed the program in 2012. She is currently working as an animal husbandry training specialist at the University of Pennsylvania. During her second year, we asked her about her decision to enroll in the MLAS program and what she hoped to gain from her time at Drexel.
"The best aspects of this program are the hands-on experience and the connectivity between students and alumni. We take courses where we are taught how to care and handle lab animals. While providing a break from the monotony of regular lecture-based classes, these classes have also been the most beneficial as students learn more by seeing and practicing the techniques they will need to use in the future."
MLAS alumna Catrina Wong completed the program in 2013. She is currently working as the veterinary sciences coordinator at CBSET, Inc. in Lexington, Mass. During her first year, we asked her about her decision to enroll in the MLAS program and what she hoped to gain from her time at Drexel.