Name: Julie Jones, RVT
Job: Professor at Seneca College
Q&A with Julie
OAVT:Where did you go to school and what made you decide to take a Veterinary Technology program?
Julie: I graduated from St. Lawrence College (1988) and StFX Adult Education Program (2007) I got my inspiration like a lot of us did- during a co-op placement. (1984) I have never looked back.
OAVT: What is your current job?
Julie: I am a professor at Seneca College. (This is the easy job) I am also a mother of 2 very strong, and sometimes challenging young ladies. (This is the hard job!)
I love both of my jobs.
OAVT: What do you love most about your job?
Julie: I used to think the greatest thing about being an RVT was working with animals; however, I find myself so privileged to share my experience, skill, and knowledge with veterinary technician students. I absolutely LOVE them as students, and I follow them all fiercely on Facebook after they graduate. My sense is that RVTs make the world a much better place to live in. They are kind, nature-loving, inclusive, passionate people, and they make beautiful families.
One of the difficulties of this job is providing a safe calm and encouraging atmosphere for students (who are stressed and nervous) to approach skills on live animals (who are stressed and nervous) with confidence. I feel like a “coach” more than a professor. I use humour most often to relax the student and help them to believe in themselves.
The student is often quite surprised when they succeed, and they most often do. The class celebrates with a gentle “golfer’s clap” and the student is reminded to say “tah dah!”. Oh…and that they should breathe!
OAVT: What other jobs have you had as an RVT?
Julie: I worked in both small and mixed animal practice. I worked for five years as the Community Outreach Coordinator for the OAVT and visited all the OAVT accredited colleges in Ontario. I also visited many public venues, and shouted out the good graces of RVTs for all to hear. I worked for two years as Continuing Education Development Coordinator for the OAVT, and I have spoken at OAVT, OVMA conferences, and done workshops for CALAS and Toronto Academy.
OAVT: What advice do you give to students who want to try their hand at different sectors within the profession?
Julie: I always try to open as many doors as possible for the students. I like to get to know their individual strengths and encourage them as much as possible to follow their dreams. I also tell them to BE NICE, to themselves and to their colleagues. That goes for all you RVTs out there, BE NICE and remain humble!
OAVT: What do you love about teaching Veterinary Technician students?
Julie: Being a part of the education of young (sometimes not so young), passionate and tenacious human beings is the reason I drive to work with a smile on my face. I look forward to seeing the students and answering their questions when I can.
I work with many wonderful characters at Seneca, and in the broader community of educators of VTE programs, I feel so at home. They are truly amazing people.
OAVT: You are big on volunteering your time to different organizations benefiting animals, as well as volunteering your time with the OAVT over the years. Why do you think volunteering is so important?
Julie: Volunteering has brought me intense joy and satisfaction. I have met and continue to hold close to my heart so many kind and extraordinary people who just want to help. I am just amazed by the leadership and selflessness of the individuals in our profession.
Although I am a bit of a clown on most days, my eyes literally spit tears when I see this level of love and devotion, not only for the animals but to people. I am an animal lover, and I am a humanist. Being a volunteer has led me to some of the greatest opportunities I have ever had. I am lucky to have been recognized for my efforts, not everyone gets that opportunity. I’d like to say thank-you to all those RVTs who volunteer inside and outside the profession because it is so important.
RVTs everywhere impress and amaze me. I have watched Seneca grads go on to become leaders, speakers, specialists, adventurers, artists, mentors, writers, athletes, musicians, travellers, volunteers, and parents.
The world is a better place because of RVTs!
OAVT: One of the organizations you volunteer for is the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre. Why is this organization so close to your heart?
Julie: My good friend and former office mate, Dr. Sue Carstairs, is so passionate about turtles; you couldn’t possibly share a desk with her and not be bitten by the bug. Such fascinating creatures, prehistoric almost, and designed with such a will to survive despite their diminishing habitat and unfortunate confrontations with motor vehicles. Dr. Sue Carstairs has recently been recognized by the Ontario Government as an individual showing leadership in the area of conservation. Dr. Carstairs is taking a break from her teaching at Seneca, in order to concentrate more of her efforts on saving turtles. She always welcomes volunteers so please contact the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre for donations of time or money.
This was my first summer as a responder for turtle trauma victims, and it was a rather sad one. I’m only certain that one of the dozen or so turtles I treated actually survived. I encourage many more interested RVTs to please get involved.