This week is National Veterinary Technician Week. The National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA) recognizes veterinary technicians for their contributions in animal healthcare. Vet Techs are educated professionals who work closely with veterinarians to ensure the best quality of care for animals. We’d like to recognize Jolene Hanna, the Animal Health & Quarantine Manager and Veterinary Technician at Newport Aquarium. Thank you, Jolene for all that you do!
Why did you choose to become a vet tech?
“I always wanted to work with animals. As a teenager, I worked as kennel help at the local vet hospital and was given the opportunity to go out on farm calls and to watch surgeries on a regular basis.”
Hanna received her Bachelor’s degree in Marine Biology. “I always wanted to work with dolphins.”
As fate would have it, she ended up working with a completely different species – sharks! She helped launch the world’s first Shark Ray Breeding program, and ended up working with sharks here at Newport Aquarium.
After college, Hanna joined AmeriCorps and completed the Vet Tech program before coming to work at Newport Aquarium.
What’s your favorite part of your job?
“The possibilities are limitless. I don’t have a ‘typical’ day. I could be in the Antarctic or I could be diving in the Amazon tank. There’s always something new to learn.”
Something new, such as taking part in research projects. “Taking part in scientific research. I did a study on birth control implants on freshwater stingrays.”
Hanna makes tank-side visits with animals at Newport Aquarium. “I never would have imagined I’d be doing this, but this is what I do.”
What has been your most memorable moment during your career?
“Definitely, working with the shark rays – it’s been a long journey! It’s an opportunity to work with a first of its kind program in the world.”
“We’re part of (kind of) a new industry, working with sharks. What we learn, we’re sharing the knowledge with other institutions. We have become better stewards for the species. This is my contribution to something that is globally influential. I’m putting my fingerprint on it.”