Numerous movies, articles and books have been written about the romanticism of the road trip. The idea and portrayal of leaving day-to-day life and learning more about yourself, and the open road, is an alluring idea that few take the initiative to experience.
This is not the case for veterinary technician student, and our Graduate of the Quarter, Martha Sutterlin. Her experiences with her travel-hungry family ultimately led to her interest in animals, zoos and exotic creatures of all kind.
“We did a LOT of road tripping,” Sutterlin recalled. “I’ve been to every state except Alaska and Hawaii, and I’m sure we went to a zoo in every state.”
Summers were dedicated to the highways of America in the Sutterlin family. Her family regularly piled in the family mini-van to explore the country—specifically, zoos.
“Our family is spread out everywhere in the U.S.,” she said. “I don’t think there was one summer we stayed home. My mom would say something like ‘We’re going to Colorado tomorrow, get ready’ and we would hit the road.”
The exposure to zoos and exotic animals, eventually helped Sutterlin land at the Minnesota School of Business-Plymouth campus in July 2011. Her internship at Lexington Pet Clinic in Eagan allowed her to work closer with exotic animals and gave her the opportunity to come face-to-face with a shark at Mall of America’s Sea Life exhibit.
“It was only for a few hours…we thought we were going to have to euthanize the shark, but he was doing better since his last check up, so we ended up doing a bunch of treatments on it,” she said.
Sutterlin’s ambition and initiative helped her land the internship at Lexington, where she now works part-time.
“I knew from talking to people at the Association of Zoo Veterinary Technicians (AZVT) conference, that [Dr. Amy Kizer] lets interns go with, but I didn’t expect anything like that experience.”
Her next goal is earning the Laurie Page-Peck Scholarship by writing a case study on her experience at Sea Life. The scholarship would pay her way to the next AZVT conference, and enable her to cross off one of two remaining states on her list—Alaska.
Ultimately, her dream is to work as a veterinary technician at the Minnesota Zoo, but in the meantime, she has the following advice for current students.
“Look into what you want to do,” Martha says. “If I hadn’t looked into being a zoo vet tech, I wouldn’t have found the AZVT, which means I wouldn’t have gone to the conference in September and never had heard of Lexington Pet Clinic.”