Lenore Southerland - Columbus State Community College 50th Anniversary

For as long as Lenore Southerland can remember, she has loved animals.

She was in the fourth grade when her family started Family Circle Ranch. Over the years, they had 21 horses, 16 ponies, two calves and "too many dogs to count!"

Today, she is living her dream job as a registered veterinary technician at The Ohio State University Veterinary Medical Center, a position she landed after earning her degree in Veterinary Technology at Columbus State.

"My original goal was to attend veterinary school," says Southerland. "After I graduated from Youngstown State University with a bachelor's degree in chemistry, pre-med, in 1986, I decided that medical school wasn't what I wanted to do with my life so I got a job at a pet store. Fortunately, I found out about Columbus State's veterinary technician program from a co-worker."

"I knew that I could succeed in any path I took."

As part of her position at Ohio State, Southerland oversees about 40 Columbus State students a semester during their internships. She also serves as an adjunct faculty member at Columbus State for the Vet Tech evening program.

"Columbus State has one of the top programs around," Southerland says. "The knowledge, skills, and confidence I obtained at Columbus State prepared me for more than just being a veterinary technician. It also prepared me to branch out into all facets of the veterinary community, such as, academia, private sector, laboratory work and sales. I knew that I could succeed in any path I took."

Southerland loves teaching students and helping them to grow in their profession. "Seeing the light come on when they 'get it' for the first time is such a thrill!"

Southerland retired from the Ohio Army National Guard in 2004 at the rank of First Sergeant following more than 22 years of service. A member of the 838th Military Police Company, Lenore served in the Persian Gulf War in 1991, in Germany during the Bosnia conflict in 1996-97, and in the Military District of Washington, D.C., following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

She also led a team of five Ohio State University veterinary students and technicians to Louisiana to assist in the care of lost, stranded and injured animals following Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Images: A Year in the Life of Columbus State