Pay Attention to What You Love: Q&A with Dr. Weaver, Veterinarian at Carrington College in Pleasant Hill
If you look at any photograph of Dr. Kristel Weaver as a child – at a family gathering or birthday party – she is holding a cat or dog. From early childhood, Dr. Weaver had a keen interest in animals. This love of animals plus a passion for learning led her to a career as a veterinarian and now as a faculty member of the Veterinary Technology Program at Carrington College’s Pleasant Hill campus. This is her story.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m from Encinitas, California which is a beach town in North County San Diego. I was a good student and played a lot of sports growing up. As an undergraduate, I went to the University of Pennsylvania and played on their Division I volleyball team.
When did you first start pursuing becoming a veterinarian?
I realized I wanted to be a veterinarian the summer after my freshman year of college. Through the volleyball community I got a job in a veterinary hospital and after my first day working there, I knew I wanted to become a veterinarian.
So you applied to vet schools after that?
After college, I did a master’s degree in biochemistry at San Diego State University and worked in biomedical research before I was accepted to UC Davis’ School of Veterinary Medicine. Because of my interest in research and public health, while in veterinary school I concurrently enrolled in a second master’s degree program in veterinary epidemiology, called a Masters of Preventative Veterinary Medicine (MPVM).
And after that?
After veterinary school, I did a one-year small animal internship at San Francisco Veterinary Specialists. From there I was hired as an associate veterinarian at Bishop Ranch Veterinary Center in San Ramon, where I worked for 12 years.
That’s a long time.
Yeah, I loved it. Veterinary medicine is very challenging work, and I was fortunate to have great clients and co-workers. I got married and had two children. Eventually I developed compassion fatigue and began to think about the next chapter in my life.
And what did you see?
Well, I always loved educating clients and staff. One of my former coworkers, Olivia Hernandez, was the Vet Tech Program Director at the Carrington College campus in Pleasant Hill. I always liked working with Olivia and when I found out Pleasant Hill was hiring a new veterinarian, I applied for the position.
How long have you been there?
I started working at Carrington in February of 2020.
Would you please describe to us what exactly the Veterinary Technology program is about?
The purpose of the Vet Tech program is to train students to become Registered Veterinary Technicians (RVTs). Once licensed, veterinary technicians are legally able to do more tasks than an unregistered assistant, like induce general anesthesia, suture skin, extract teeth, and administer controlled substances. RVTs in the veterinary hospital are the equivalent of Registered Nurses (RNs) in the human medical system.
What do you like about teaching at Carrington College?
We have the best students at Carrington College! I love watching our students grow as they work through the program. Our students come from unique backgrounds with widely different experience levels. In a short time, they develop technical skills, gain an understanding of veterinary medicine, and become competent technicians. It’s very rewarding to be a part of that growth.
I’m also fortunate to work with an awesome team of instructors! We support one another and each bring a different strength to the program. Together we are committed to supporting student learning.
What can a student expect on a given day in this program?
This program is a mixture of classroom lectures, hands on labs and clinical rotations in local veterinary hospitals. It is academically rigorous and moves fast. In lab, students learn skills like how to draw blood, place IV catheters, suture, place a bandage, handle birds, reptiles, rodents, etc. Towards the end of the program, students apply all their skills in a surgery lab where we put real patients under anesthesia for a dental cleaning or surgery.
Is there anything you would like to add – any words of encouragement to the students in school now?
If you are motivated to become a veterinary technician, we are excited to have you join the program!