Animal Studies Senior Breakfast


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Browse photos of the Animal Studies Senior Breakfast and other Becker College events at  

» View photos and descriptions of veterinary science seniors' preceptorships, below.

Friday, May 10, 2013
8:30 – 10:30 a.m.
Boutin Dining Hall, Fuller Campus Center, Leicester

Program of Events


Elizabeth V. Fuller, Ed.D.
Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of the College


Robert E. Johnson, Ph.D.

Richard French, DVM, M.S., Ph.D.
Dean of the School of Animal Studies and the Allerton Chair of Animal Health Sciences

Academic Recognition Awards

Stella M. Richard, M.S., M.A., Ph.D.
Professor of Veterinary Science

Paula J. Northrop, M.S., DVM
Professor of Veterinary Science

Charlotte Newell, DVM
Associate Professor of Veterinary Sciences

Margaret Delano, M.S., DVM, DACLAM
Associate Professor of Veterinary Sciences

Closing Remarks

James Q. Knight, DVM
Director, Animal Studies Programs, Professor of Veterinary Science

The Animal Studies Senior Breakfast recognizes the academic achievements of the seniors in the Animal Studies Program. Thank you for joining us today to celebrate their hard work and future success.


Samantha M. Barscz
Nicole A. Chabot
Shawna Lyhne Clifford
Brooke L. Cote
Emma Rose Crooker
Elizabeth M. DeAlmeida
Stephanie L. Dixon
Amber Jacqueline Dombroski
Bryan J. Fenton
Samantha Gordon
Megan B. Koski
Nicole Jane Leonard
Danielle Elaine Letiecq
Jessica Merrill-Roy

Nicole Morse
Ashley Pope
Suzanna Lee Richards
Dominique M. Russin
Chelsea M. Ruzzo
Whitley Ann Sabatini
Michael Santasieri
Whitney Kae Smith
Ashley A. Stevens
Jessica Szorentini
James Anelce Teixeira
Patricia Turmenne
Kellsey G. Wuerthele

Senior Veterinary Science Students


View photos and summaries of 2013 veterinary science majors' work at preceptor sites.
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Samantha Barscz (Small Animal) worked at the Forest Park Zoo, and the Cat Connection, where she found that her leadership and time management skills were very important, and where she utilized her nursing skills to help with three kittens diagnosed with cerebellar hypoplasia. The kittens were able to be adopted out as normal, healthy kittens. Samantha is interviewing for employment with organizations in her field.

Shawna Clifford (Small Animal) worked at Community Animal Hospital, and at Healthy Paws, where she played a major role in surgery prep and anesthesia, and dental prophylaxis done at the facility.

Brooke Cote (Small Animal and Conservation) completed her required externships, and she really enjoyed her conservation work, done on a global level for two years, with the Mazunte Turtle Project in Mexico. She learned the importance of the conservation of three types of turtles for the whole ecology of a region. She also learned about the challenges faced in a third-world country for companion animals that need basic medical care, spays, neuters, and vaccinations, and the importance of educating people on these matters.  Brooke is currently planning to pursue a master’s degree in communication and health care administration at Worcester State University.

Elizabeth DeAlmeida (Small Animal) completed externship hours at Idexx Labs and gained experience at Angell Memorial Animal Hospital in Boston, and at the Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. In all, Elizabeth has worked at 10 different facilities while studying at Becker, but she also decided to embark on a global experience through World Vets organization, traveling to Nicaragua, where she assisted with spays and neuters and did her case study on transmissible venereal tumors, a common problem in this region that is only more controlled through programs and organizations like World Vets.  She is employed at Merrimac Valley Veterinary Hospital and is looking forward to applying to graduate school in the near future.

Stephanie Dixon (Small Animal and Conservation) completed externship hours at Northshore Veterinary Hospital and Banfield Pet Hospital. She also participated in the OSA Turtle Project in Costa Rica, where she did health assessments, applied flipper tags, and worked with stranding protocols for four different species of tracked turtles in the region.

Amber Dombrowski (Small Animal) worked with a veterinarian who did mobile house calls, and she loved the experience. She completed a case study on Addison’s disease from her site at Hillside Veterinary Clinic and Home Care Veterinary Services. Though she is employed full-time now with Hillside she has not ruled out graduate school in the future.

Samantha Gordon (Equine Medicine) had a wealth of experiences, from working at Fort Hood Military Veterinary Hospital in Texas and Canton Equestrian Center to Sky Band Farm, and Suffolk Downs. She is now employed by Banfield Pet Hospital.

Megan Koski (Equine Behavior) has applied her veterinary science knowledge to helping neglected and abused horses find their way back to a healthy and adoptable life. She has gained experience at a number of facilities, including East Bay Veterinary Hospital, Mesa Farm, and Bay State Equine Rescue. Many people do not realize that rescue facilities do not only deal with animals that are malnourished and sick with parasites or disease, but they also need behavior training to build confidence and trust. Megan really brought this issue to the forefront in her case study. She was also featured in the Oakham, Mass. newspaper with one of her patients, “Breeze.”

Nicole Leonard (Small Animal Emergency and Exotic Medicine) has worked at the Boston Museum of Science, where some of her primary duties included working with their reptiles. She says she has mastered the way to skillfully pick up 30-pound snapping turtles without getting injured.  She then went on to New England Medical Center where, because of her reptile handling experience, she was the primary veterinary technician to care for a four-foot alligator that had been seized by New Bedford, Mass. Animal Control. Nicole will be attending veterinary school at Ross University in fall 2013.

Danielle Letiecq (Small Animal Medicine) has specialized in acupuncture. The same medical advances in human medicine are applied to animals. In fact, acupuncture was first practiced on farms animals about six thousand years ago in China, then it moved to human medicine and is now being practiced even more in animal medicine. Danielle was hired by her last externship, Boston Road Animal Clinic.

Jessica Merrill-Roy (Small Animal Emergency and Critical Care) has made an outstanding impression at her preceptorship with Angell Memorial Hospital in Boston, one of the three largest veterinary hospitals in the country. One of her Supervisors says, “Jessica has an ability to multitask and act well under pressure while being very compassionate with her patients. Her overall performance has been excellent and your preceptorship program is a great program.”  Jessica is still employed at Angell.

Nicole Morse  (Small Animal and Research)  has spent a lot of time at Brown University working with researchers in neurology helping those who are quadriplegic utilize chips in their brains to communicate through a computer .

Ashley Pope (Equine Behavior) worked at Ayer Medical Center in small animal medicine, as well as with rescued horses at the Bay State Equine Rescue where she did a case study on a horse named Gracie.

Suzanna Richards (Shelter Medicine) engaged in work that emphasized the importance of shelter medicine while working at the Worcester Animal Rescue League. The shelter’s responsibilities are not only to provide care and medical assistance to stray dogs and cats, but also to complete training and behavioral assessments on the animals they take in. In addition, Suzanna worked at the kennel at the Lenfest Animal Health Center at Becker College, as a teaching and kennel supervisor.

Chelsea Ruzzo (Emergency Medicine) completed a case study on parvovirus treatment. Chelsea’s work at Peiper Memorial Veterinary Center and its associated 24-hour hospital were instrumental in building her confidence and clinical expertise in the area of emergency medicine. She is currently employed at the Peiper Memorial Veterinary Center 24-hour facility.

Whitley Sabatini (Small Animal Medicine) worked in research at Community Animal Hospital and Banfield Pet Hospital, where she has been employed for the past year.  She is exceptionally upbeat and hard-working. She has found her niche working closely with the clients and her team at Banfield.  She is dedicated to her field, and she helps to train other externs at Banfield.

Michael Santasieri (Canine Behavioral Medicine) has always had a strong interest in animal behavior. He completed his case study on Ceasar, a dog who ingested a dish towel and also had a seizure disorder. He illustrated the impact that fear and traumatic events can have on an animal and how those behaviors are just as important in treatment of the overall animal as in treating for the vomiting and diarrhea caused by the ingestion of the foreign body.  Michael is employed full-time at Preventative Veterinary Medical Clinic and continues his work in the area of behavior.

Whitney Smith (Pharmaceutical Testing) experienced the Mazunte Turtle Project and its significance in conservation and aid for Mexico’s companion animal population, but she truly found her niche in doing pharmaceutical research at a facility called Bioconcepts where she works as chemist doing equipment calibrations, pharmaceutical testing, and has responsibilities in quality control measures.  She is currently employed at Bioconcepts and truly enjoys working at the bench finding solutions that benefit animals and humans.

Ashley Stevens (Small Animal Medicine) has worked at Second Chance Animal Shelter and VCA Wickaboag Animal Hospital. For her case study, “Oliver- who had virulent systemic calicivirus,” she was both client and veterinary technician, and she had the unique perspective of sitting on both sides of the table. She is currently employed at VCA Wickaboag, and through her externship experiences, she has been inspired to look into possible careers in animal control with a special interest in animal cruelty cases.

Jessica Szorentini (Exotic Medicine and Enrichment) worked in New Jersey at Allendale Animal Hospital and at Vet Idexx, a facility which does diagnostic laboratory work here Massachusetts. Her passion was working at the Bergen County Zoo in New Jersey, where she oversaw medications and procedures done by the veterinarians, as well as nutritional and environmental enrichment and educating fellow volunteers and the public. It can difficult to get zoo jobs, but Jessica has been offered a position at the Bergen County Zoo this summer.

James Teixeira (Small Animal and Behavior)was president of the Pre-vet Club and a leader and example for many students. His case study, “Fractures can happen to anyone,” really covered the nuts and bolts of fracture repair and the rehabilitation that follows. James’ externships at New England Animal Medical Center, Ocean State Veterinary Specialists in Rhode Island and Lloyds Animal Hospital are to be admired. He is currently employed as the manager of Great Scot Kennels, and he is planning on graduate school in the near future in the areas of evolutionary biology and conservation.

Patricia Turmenne (Small Animal and Exotic Medicine) worked at externship sites which included the zoo in Forest Park, in Springfield, Mass. and VCA S. Windsor Vet Clinic. Patricia also helped paint the sets for the drama club here at Becker College, was a member of the Animal Health Club, Pre-Vet Club, and assists with the Girl Scouts.  She is involved not just in her studies but also in her community.

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