Two MCC vet tech students receive prestigious national award

Two Metropolitan Community College students are thrilled and excited to be named among the country’s top veterinary students.

Jennifer Fletcher and Brianna Gruber are in their final semester at MCC. They will graduate in May with degrees from the veterinary technology program at MCC-Maple Woods. Along with that college diploma, they can also add the Dr. Jack Walther Leadership Award to their accomplishments.

Jennifer Fletcher
Jennifer Fletcher

The annual awards, announced in December, are presented by the Western Veterinary Conference. The Dr. Jack Walther Leadership Award recognizes “veterinary students who portray leadership and promote a lifelong service to the profession.”

The nods for Fletcher and Gruber are extra-special because out of the nearly three dozen awards, only two vet tech students receive the honor. Thirty-three doctor of veterinary medicine students from various universities are named; two veterinary technician students receive the award via the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America.

“Receiving this honor is very humbling,” Fletcher, who grew up in Gladstone, Mo., says.

She added: “It is amazing that the only two veterinary technology students came from the MCC-Maple Woods location. This says so much about how wonderful this program is.”

Brianna Gruber
Brianna Gruber

Gruber, a Sabetha, Kan. native, echoed her classmate’s sentiments. “It is such an honor to represent the MCC veterinary technology program as the only two veterinary technology students selected for this national award.”

Gruber says, “Being selected for this award would have not been possible without the devoted teaching staff and educational opportunities provided through this prestigious program.”

The head of MCC’s vet tech program, Dr. Chris Morrow, says his team is very proud of the stellar pair.

“They have both served as leaders in the program, helping with projects and events to promote their veterinary technician profession,” Morrow says. “Jennifer is the current class president, and Brianna is  the current class vice president.  I know that we will continue to see great things from both of them in the future.”

Fletcher and Gruber both praise the hands-on aspect of the MCC program. As part of the curriculum, they get to work with 12 animal species.

“Many veterinary clinics look for technicians that are in or have graduated from MCC-Maple Woods because of the high standards they hold for us students,” says Fletcher, who had not had the opportunity to work with large animals before coming to MCC.

Vet tech students are assigned each semester to particular animals that are part of the College’s Adopt-a-Pet program. Gruber says one of her favorite things has been watching how much the animals change.

“As students, we put so much time and effort into each individual animal that it makes them feel as if they are one of our own pets. So when they find a new home, it makes all the time and effort worth every second.”

Gruber explained that the program is more than the coursework, though. “Throughout the two-year program you not only experience an abundance of educational opportunities, you will engage in community service projects, adoption days and countless of other experiences that will develop many great memories you will never forget,” she says.

Some of the fondest MCC memories for the students will be of the collaboration during the vet tech program’s annual Halloween event, “The Haunted Barn.”

“Not only do we work together as current students in the program but alumni come back to help organize rooms. We also work with other groups on the main campus for a very large fundraiser,” Fletcher says.

As the two students wrap up their semesters, they will be taking time out as part of the award to  travel to the Western Veterinary Conference in Las Vegas in March — all expenses paid. The award also includes a cash gift of a $1,000.

For more on the Dr. Jack Walther Leadership Award, click here.

For more about MCC-Maple Woods veterinary technology program, click here.