By: Johanna Marano February 5, 2017
Matt Prior is a junior Small Animal Science major at Delaware Valley University. He is also looking to add a minor in Large Animal Science. He is an RA (resident assistant) in Centennial Hall. Matt also works in the Mandell Small Animal Lab on campus. He is one of my best friends and we both aspire to become veterinarians. However, the paths we are and plan on taking are very different despite having the same major. So I wanted to sit down with him and chat about his goals and aspirations.
Why did you choose Delaware Valley for your undergraduate degree?
I chose Delaware Valley because of one of my vo-tech teachers, who is a DelVal alumni. I never heard of DelVal prior to her talking about it. She told me it was a very hands on school with animals on campus. I researched the school and liked it. I then took a tour and despite it being a very rainy day, I still fell in love with it.
Why did you choose to major in Small Animal Science rather than something more general like Biology?
I wanted my major to be specific to what I was interested in doing. I took a class at vo-tech that was about small animals with a focus on pre-veterinary medicine. It gave me a taste of what I would be doing in college and I fell in love with it. I am also adding a Large Animal Science Minor because I fell in love with those animals too.
What do you plan to do after graduating from Delaware Valley?
I plan on applying to veterinary school and going to any one that will accept me. Then after attending vet school, I plan on go into the army as a veterinarian.
What made you want to pursue a career in veterinary medicine? And then a career with the army?
I had no idea that I would want to work with animals one day. I originally wanted to be an architect. During my sophomore year of high school, I researched vo-tech schools and saw the variety of programs they offered. They offered a program on animals. I always liked animals and thought it would be interesting. The more I took classes, the more I fell in love with it because of the very hands on experiences I was receiving. I began to realize that I could make a career of working with animals. This is what I wanted to do in life.
My dad is all about saving money and veterinary school is very expensive. By joining the army, they will pay for however many years of vet schools that you are willing to commit to them. I did more research and became more interested by the amount of experiences I would receive by working for the army.
Have you begun preparing or doing any research on veterinary school (schools, specializations, costs, experiences, connections, etc)?
I printed a list of all the veterinary schools. I should probably start preparing more because I will be apply this cycle (he is aware of the fact that the new application cycle for veterinary school opens May 15th)
How did you get involved working in the small animal labs (interest, student work job, etc)?
I got involved by word of mouth. I also took an Intro to Small Animal Management course my freshman year and that gave me a little insight as to what working in the labs would entail. So I decided to apply and got the position. Now I absolutely love it and don’t regret it, but those early morning checks are rough.
How has working in the labs benefited you?
I have gained a lot of experience and knowledge by working in the labs. It has been an amazing addition to my resume. I recently applied to a veterinarian’s office and working in the labs stood out on my application. This actually helped me to get the job.
What do you do when you are at work in the labs?
I assist in the care and husbandry of the animals that are housed in our facilities. I fill out various types of paperwork. I also help to maintain the efficiency of the labs.
Do you have any other experiences working with animals or veterinary medicine?
I worked at a veterinary clinic in high school. I have also worked at a wildlife rehabilitation facility for about two and a half years. I am currently shadowing at another veterinary clinic with pending employment.