Jessica Stoller, 17, is involved with the veterinary assistant program at Sno-Isle Tech Skills Center and plans to study wildlife biology in the future. (Ian Terry / The Herald)

Jessica Stoller, 17, is involved with the veterinary assistant program at Sno-Isle Tech Skills Center and plans to study wildlife biology in the future. (Ian Terry / The Herald)

Cascade High senior to combine studies with love of animals

EVERETT — Jessica Stoller, 17, an incoming Cascade High School senior, is spending her summer volunteering at the Seattle Aquarium.

Question: You’re also involved with the veterinary assistant program at Sno-Isle TECH Skills Center. What got you interested in that program?

Answer: Well, I’ve always had a love for animals. When I heard about the program at Sno-Isle, I was really excited to try it out. Animals are just so great. Getting to work with the animals was a lot of fun.

Q: What did you do with the animals and which animals did you work with first?

A: We got the chance to work with cats and dogs from the Everett Animal Shelter. And a couple of horses from one of the student’s friends. My instructor has two guinea pigs and she brings them in for the year and we take care of them. We had three mice given to us from the animal shelter.

Q: How do you care for them?

A: On each animal, we do a physical exam. We get their pulse, heart rate, temperature and we look at their body, just to make sure they’re OK and get the practice of doing those things. With the horses we would go out into the arena and walk them every day. Sometimes we brought the dogs to the classroom to just hang out. We’d let the cats out in the cat ward to get them out of their cage.

Q: Which animals were your favorites?

A: I think my favorite cats were two male cats from the very first group of cats we got at the beginning of the year — Sid and Dexter. They were just very sweet cats. We had a couple of cats that were a little feisty.

Q: Do you have pets at home?

A: Yes, I have three pets. I have two cats and dog. My dog is a border collie/Australian shepherd mix, Lottie. And then I have Rosie, a calico tabby mix. And then I have another cat. He is a tabby Bengal. His name is Diesel, like a diesel truck.

Q: When did you become interested in being a veterinary assistant?

A: Well my friend was telling me about this dog that they had. The dog was suffering from arthritis. It just kind of sparked something in my mind about wanting to help animals in need.

Q: Is veterinary stuff something you’d like to pursue as a major in college?

A: Yes. I would like to go into animal science. I’ve discovered I’m more interested in wildlife, like animals at the zoo and aquarium.

Q: You’re working at the Seattle Aquarium this summer?

A: Yes. I’m a volunteer at the Seattle Aquarium. I won’t get to work with the animals, but I’ve learned about them and I’ll get to tell people about them.

Q: Let’s talk about college. What are your plans?

A: Well I haven’t quite figured that out. But I am looking into going to a community college first. I was thinking about Everett Community College. But I want to see what else is out there. EvCC isn’t that far away. Probably community college first and then transferring to a university.

Q: Any particular one?

A: As of right now, the one that sparks my interest is (The) Evergreen State College in Olympia.

Q: And what major are you thinking about?

A: Wildlife biology and then also zoology animal science. And then being that I’m working at the aquarium maybe minoring in marine biology.

Q: What’s your favorite animal?

A: I really like tigers, but my favorite is the white tiger. They’re very rare.

Q: You saw one at a zoo?

A: Yes. My parents took me to Cougar Mountain Zoo in Issaquah for my 16th birthday. I walked up and saw a white tiger in the enclosure. I was so happy. It was the first time I saw a white tiger in person.

Q: What are your hobbies?

A: I have been playing volleyball since I was in fifth grade. My junior year I made varsity. Also, I have been running track since I was in sixth grade. I’m a third-year letter varsity track. Next year will be my final year.

Q: Has any particular person influenced you?

A: My grandma, my dad’s mom, she passed away right before my freshman year from cancer. She always taught me to be myself and not be afraid of who I am and to be strong.

Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486; salyer@heraldnet.com.

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