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Fur sure: Gateway grad loves training, new career

Chelsea Lebbin

Veterinary Technician graduate Chelsea Lebbin says she was well-prepared for her career through hands-on learning and applying her skills to actual animal care situations.

Mankind’s best friend may have found a new best friend in Chelsea Lebbin.

And it’s all due to Gateway Technical College.

Chelsea’s training and education give her the skills to pursue her lifelong dream of working in an animal care setting. She is among the first class of graduates of the college’s Veterinarian Technician program and has begun her career already at a Kenosha-area animal hospital.

She’s ready for cold, wet doggy nose kisses from her patients, which she also receives from her own dogs at home.

“I am in a field I love, doing a job I love to do,” says Chelsea. “I have two years of education, a nice job in a field and company I could stay in for 40 years because of the education I have. Gateway made my life great.”

Chelsea said flexible hours and affordable tuition keyed her success as she juggled the life duties of buying a house with her fiancé and preparing for her wedding to take place mere months after graduation. Her training also gave her the opportunity to begin working in animal care before she even graduated.

“I felt very prepared – it wasn’t like we were going out into the working world only knowing what was written in a text book,” says Chelsea. “We had a lot of hands-on training.

“That made me very confident as I went out into my field. I didn’t have to ask ‘I learned it in a textbook, but can I do it?’  I had already done it, and I knew what I was supposed to do.”

All in all, she felt ready for her career, fueled by strong instructors and a new veterinarian lab that offers a realistic training ground for students to hone their skills.

Chelsea also pointed to other specific highlights of her Gateway education:

  • Class size. “One of the things I didn’t like when I attended a four-year college was the huge class sizes. You’re one of a hundred. At Gateway, you’re one of 20, and can have more interaction with your instructors, which helped me.”
  • Helpful staff. “The staff is great. For instance, when I went to talk to the financial aid staff or advisers, they all were willing to take the time to help me as much as I needed. I didn’t have to take a number and come back days later – they helped me, right then. I’ve been at other colleges – and it’s hit or miss. Not at Gateway.”
  • Study abroad opportunity. “We went to Costa Rica and Nicaragua to help animals there. Without Gateway, I would not have had the experience I gained on that trip. I gained a lot of confidence on that trip. I knew what to expect and knew I could do it – but the trip allowed us to shine. My confidence skyrocketed, and carried me to the job I have now.”

Life is Big. Be Prepared.