Pruden graduate revisits center

Published 9:59 pm Monday, October 10, 2011

Jessica Sprouse’s lifelong passion for animals grew to a profession when she went through the veterinary assistant program at Pruden Center for Industry and Technology.

After finishing the program and graduating from Lakeland High School in 2008, she opted to continue her education and become a veterinary technician.

Jessica Sprouse, a Lakeland High School graduate, discusses her choice to become a veterinary technician with a class of first-year veterinary assistant students Monday at the Pruden Center for Industry and Technology. Sprouse completed the center’s vet assistant program during high school.

“Animals have always been my niche,” she said. “As a veterinary technician, you get to fix them and love them.”

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Sprouse, who is in the final year of her studies at Blue Ridge Community College, returned to the Pruden Center Monday, hoping to inspire other high school students to consider becoming veterinary technicians.

“It’s still a foreign subject to some people,” she said. “So, I just want to inform them about the career.”

Sprouse, who will graduate from Blue Ridge’s vet tech program in May, discussed her career choice with a group of first-year vet assistant students as a part of National Veterinary Technician Week.

She talked about the different schools that have programs in Virginia, what classes are required in those programs, strategies for preparing to become a veterinary technician and career options after graduating.

“We help vets take care of their animals,” Sprouse told the students, explaining the different support services vet techs provide, including educating clients about nutrition and providing anesthesia to animals.

During her presentation, Sprouse also gave an example of a typical day at Blue Ridge and discussed the different fields that required veterinary technicians.

She stressed to the students that working at a small veterinary practice isn’t their only option.

“Even the police department needs vet techs to take care of their animals,” she said.

Anne Hudson, a veterinary technician who teaches the veterinary assistant students at Pruden, said she was glad to have Sprouse back to talk to the students because it introduced them to other options for their careers.

“We’ve had several students go on to become vet techs,” she said.

Hudson added vet assistants tend to do well as technicians because they have a solid background in veterinary studies.

Sprouse said she thinks any student who feels like veterinary medicine is his or her passion should continue their education.

“If you truly love it, you should push for it and keep going,” she said.