Rancho Cucamonga, California is a fast growing metropolitan area of more than 100,000 residents. A stark contrast to the rural lifestyle of southwestern New Mexico where Cherokee Marquez chose to begin her career in animal care.
“People come in and they bring animals that are part of their livelihood,” said Marquez, a 24-year graduate with a degree in zoology from Western New Mexico University. “These are life and death situations.”
Marquez is describing her daily routine at Advanced Veterinary Care in Silver City where she recently was hired as a Vet Technician. It is her first foray into what she hopes is a long career in animal care.
After earning her bachelor degree in December, the California native returned home to the big city, only to quickly make her way back to Silver City after she was suggested for the job opening by Vanessa Stroman, WNMU Coordinator of Career Services.
“Cherokee quickly came to mind as a successful and thoughtful student,” said Stroman who connects soon-to-be graduates with job and internship opportunities. “We are lucky to have her back in Silver City giving back to our community.”
Advanced Veterinary Care offers basic veterinary services as well as specialty services including advanced pet surgery. Marquez’s patients include dogs, cats, birds and horses.
“I thought I would most likely be working at a zoo,” said Marquez about her post-college goal. “Now I just want to earn experience and get my toes in the water.”
Marquez’s degree in zoology and minor in chemistry have been helpful to her as a new vet technician.
“My degree from Western, and especially my anatomy courses, have given me a good foundation for this career,” said Marquez. “Knowing how to handle animals and even recognizing behaviors all came from my time in the classroom.”
Marquez and her co-workers will soon be moving to a newly constructed location in Silver City. As they prepare to relocate to a bigger building, Marquez is hoping to advance in her career in the animal world.
“This is important to many people,” said Marquez. “You can see us as nurses for animals, helping to save someone’s family member.”