The “cornerstone” of Pierce’s Vet Tech

When Angela Killips was hired at an animal vaccine clinic, her job history was minimal, but her experience with animals was plenty. 

From a 26-year-old boa, to a rowdy goat, Killips, who grew up on a farm in Sylmar, Calif., knew about animal husbandry and handling firsthand. 

Killips has always been an animal lover but she didn’t intend on working as a Veterinary Technician.

“I’m able to treat them beyond their normal needs, not just food monitoring, cleaning up after them and cuddling them, but seeing the ones that could come in sick and make them better and fix them,” Killips said.

Killips began working at an animal clinic in 1997. The veterinarian running the clinic hired her as a receptionist at the hospital where he worked, and she slowly learned the technical aspects of the job, such as helping with IV’s and blood work. 

Years later, Killips entered the Registered Veterinary Technology (RVT) program at Pierce College to study Vet Tech. 

“I decided that since I was doing these things, I needed to fulfill my education and know why I’m doing these things, and know the background of the problems that can happen if you do things wrong and all of that,’ Killips said. “I wanted to make sure that I didn’t harm anything and the help that I was trying to provide.”

At Pierce, Killips took an alternate route program and got her license as a veterinary technician, and she continued working in animal hospitals. 

After graduating, she was contacted by Ms. White, the program director at Pierce, and was asked if she’d be interested in being an instructional assistant. 

“That was very humbling in itself that of all of these graduates that she graduated every year, she looked back and reflected on the fact that I might be a good fit,” Killips said. 

Killips took the job and realized she still didn’t have an AS degree in Veterinary Technology, and only had a license as an RVT. She took a class at a time to fulfill the general education courses and prerequisites, and earned her degree in 2014. 

“I choose to do things in a slightly different fashion. Wherever I go, I sort of take on more and more responsibility because I want to always learn things. Things fall into my plate and I learn how to do things,” Killips said. 

Donna-Mae Villanueva, the dean of Academic AffairsMath, Sciences and Agriculture, believes that Killips does a lot to keep the program running.

“She is the cornerstone of the program,” Villanueva said. “Basically Dr. Yates and Adelini, I believe, rely on her to keep the program afloat. She’s the one that orders all of the supplies and manages the day-to-day operations of the program that care and feed for all of the animals.”

Villanueva also states that Killips does more than her expected share and is a large reason as to why the program has been doing so well.

“We are successful as we are because Angela helps behind the scenes to make sure everything runs smoothly so you don’t see any problems. She also teaches part-time after hours. So during her working hours she’s there being an instructional assistant for the program, and after hours (she must love the program so much), she stays to help them out.”

Dr. Jennifer Adelini said Killips is the glue of the program and it wouldn’t be successful without her. 

“She’s definitely our right-hand person and she keeps the program running. We couldn’t do it without her.

For the time being, it seems that Killips has found her place at Pierce, all by just going with the flow.

“Things find me, and life has guided me to where I need to be, versus me making those choices. So I just try to make those choices make sense.”