Angela Culp loves animals and caring for them. Now, as a faculty instructor in Weatherford College's new Veterinary Technician Program, she will be helping others who also love animals learn to care for them as well.
"I used to say I wanted to be a veterinarian, but I am in the right field for me,” Culp said. “I have the typical story of always loving animals.”
It all started with her bringing home a class pet over spring break as a youngster in Rowlett - without telling her mother.
"She was shocked. It was a rat. That following Christmas I received my first adoption, a pet rat from Santa," Culp said with a chuckle. "Around this same time, I was involved with the Girl Scouts. My favorite memories were helping at the shelter to earn badges and going to camp for horseback riding.
"I received my first horse when I was a young teenager. I lost him right before my last semester in school and have a painting of him that hangs on my office wall. He has been what has driven me to work hard and do well in this field."
After graduating from Rowlett High School, she was unsure of the name of the position she wanted, but she knew she wanted to work with animals. She earned an associate’s degree in science from Richland College in 2006 and her vet tech associate’s degree from Cedar Valley College in 2009. She passed the state and national tests in 2010 to become a LVT (Licensed Veterinary Technician), and, after getting married in 2013, completed her bachelor’s degree in vet tech at Tarleton State University.
Before coming to Weatherford College, Culp worked in a clinic for four years, where she was the surgery technician and intern supervisor. She also worked with the Plano Independent School District as an agriculture substitute teacher and in their Veterinary Assisting Program.
"A veterinary technician is a person who has a passion for helping and saving animals the same way that a human nurse would feel for their profession," she said. "They can provide both routine and specialized care to an array of animals under the direct supervision of a veterinarian."
A person who holds this title needs to have graduated from an accredited program and passed state and national tests.
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At WC, her job will be to assist Dr. Kathryn Garofalo, program director, with classes that will prepare a future technician to be well-rounded in the field.
"We will be working side-by-side with the Weatherford/Parker County Animal Shelter to gain hands-on experience," Culp said.
That experience will include technical skills like surgery assisting, animal husbandry, clinical pathology and nursing care, just to name a few.
"I want to show our students how to approach new skills in an organized manner and safety to both students and animals. This is to allow the students a real hands-on approach to the clinic setting," she said. "I want to promote a constant want to learn. This field is ever-changing, and we constantly need to be improving our skills. I have a strong belief that all of our students can learn and succeed in this field with a little organization and a lot of belief in themselves."
Then, she added one of her favorite quotes from President Theodore Roosevelt, “Believe you can and you’re halfway there.”
"I am excited and look forward to the growth of this program and this field," she said. "I believe with dedication and organization we will be able to provide an excellent curriculum for the students to excel."
Dustin Deel, Director of Municipal and Community Services for the City of Weatherford, welcomed Culp into the college-city collaboration.
"This program has been a long time coming,” he said. “If it hadn’t been for the foresight of Dr. Katheryn Garofalo and Dr. Kent Glen, I can say with certainty that the animal shelter and Weatherford College wouldn’t be partnering in this first-of-its-kind partnership. It seems like yesterday we were saying to each other 'Wouldn’t it be cool if...' and now here we are today.
"Given the benefits this has to offer to our community, I suspect that this will become a new standard of how we care for animals in any community. We just happened to be the ones who did it first.”
by Rick Mauch
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