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Vet Tech Student Pursues Her Zoo Dream at Broadview University

Published on October 29, 2014 by jhendricks

Amberlee Christensen, a vet tech student at Broadview University-West Jordan, recently got a job at Utah’s Hogle Zoo.

She recently sat down with us to talk about how her degree program here helps prepare her for her zoo career dream.

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I hope to one day specialize in zoo medicine. I currently work for Hogle Zoo, where I am a rides operator and educator. I have a passion for exotic animals and love my job at the zoo. I get to spend my day learning new things and educating others on the things that I learn.

2. Why do you want to be a veterinary technician?

I have wanted to work in the veterinary field sense I was 6 years old. That’s when my dog Hope, who shared my birthday, was diagnosed with lymphoma. The veterinarian told my dad and me that she would die and we would be better off euthanizing her, but my dad said no and we found a veterinarian that was willing to fight for her.

After a long battle she won and went into remission, and I told my dad that I was going to be a vet one day and never let anyone believe there was no hope for their pet. She lived until two weeks after our 10th birthday, when her cancer came back and she passed away. Ever since then, I believed if you had enough faith and hope that you could do anything. I chose to begin my pursuit of a career in veterinary technology.

3. Why were you interested in working at Hogle Zoo?

My sister actually suggested for me to apply there after having a horrible time working in retail. I always had aimed to work with wild life and the zoo was right up my alley. I applied for a customer service position and got an interview.

4. How did you get your job?

I first had a phone interview. They asked me questions about what “green” means to me. I gave them answers such as turning off lights when you leave a room, not wasting water and recycling.

I was then invited for another interview; now this is where it got even more interesting. It was a massive group interview.

They watched to see how we interacted with others, then made us dance to the “Hokey Pokey.” They asked us to bring something that showcased something about us, so I spent a week working on an ASL book for kids, and explained why it was important to me. After waiting a week they called and hired me said they loved my enthusiasm and my passion for education.

5. What do you do at Hogle?

I currently operate rides and educate people on the animals around the rides, such as giraffes, zebras, niala, guinea fowl, Egyptian geese and lions. I hope to one day get transferred over to being a zoo keeper in the hoof stock barn.

6. What do you want to do after you’ve graduated?

I want to hopefully continue my education and get a bachelor’s in zoo biology so I can go on to specialize as a zoo veterinary technician.

7. How has the vet tech program prepared you for what you want to do?

This program has shown me my passion time and time again. I am excited to do what I dreamed of as that 6-year-old girl way back when, and love that I am a step closer every day of achieving my goal!

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