Name: Samantha Simonelli
Class Year: 1992
Title: Associate Veterinarian
Organization Name: Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA)
1. In one sentence, what does your job entail?
I perform physical exams and surgery and provide access to medical care for shelter animals and publicly owned pets.
2. What planned and unplanned events connected you to your industry and your first employer after Holy Cross? How did you learn/decide it was a good fit for you?
I had always wanted to be a veterinarian from the time I was very young. By the time I got to high school, I wasn’t sure it was still right for me. I chose Holy Cross for the liberal arts education and majored in visual arts based on my love for a Humanities course I took in high school. After my first year on the Hill and attending an evening lecture by a veterinarian from Tufts Veterinary School, I decided that I did want to go into veterinary medicine after all. I began taking the prerequisite science classes my sophomore year and during the summer between my junior and senior years at Holy Cross, I was able to volunteer at a local animal hospital. They hired me as an assistant after graduation. The hands on training I received made it easy to see what the job would entail and cement for me my devotion to the field. I started veterinary school the following year and haven’t looked back since.
3. What were you involved in when you were on campus?
I had a work study job in the Visual Arts department at the slide library. I loved it and am still in touch with Mrs. Binnall, the slide librarian. (This was long before Powerpoint presentations ☺). I also helped found an equestrian club and we competed against other local colleges.
4. What was your major and how did it affect your career decisions?
I was a Visual arts major and took pre requisite science classes as electives. I loved studying art and considered going into museum work. Ultimately, my love for animals won out and I felt compelled to follow my heart into veterinary medicine. I feel that my degree from Holy Cross helped me gain admission into veterinary school and prepared me for a career as a critical thinker.
5. What are one or two skills that you developed at Holy Cross that you use in your work?
Active listening is probably the biggest skill that helps me to this day. My patients can’t talk so I need to listen very closely to what the pet owner or foster is telling me about the animal so that I can determine the next steps. Taking part in seminar classes and listening to other opinions was great experience for future me. Learning to critically evaluate things from a visual standpoint has also translated well from art to evaluating my non-verbal animal patients.
6. What advice do you have for students on campus today?
Try to get involved in as many things as you can. I am a bit of an introvert and didn’t take advantage of all the opportunities on campus at the time. I regret that now. Don’t be afraid to join in. Holy Cross has so much to offer.