Emily Hassett (Northeast Philadelphia) is currently studying Liberal Arts at Manor College. She intends to transfer into the Veterinary Technology program.
During a seven-month period living in the rural farmlands of Puerto Rico, Emily Hassett found her calling.
Hassett never knew her grandfather growing up. They first met in 2015 for a few days, but she found a connection years later towards the end of her grandfather’s life.
“He went through a lot in his life,” Hassett said. “Once he reconnected with my mom, he was so giving to her with his time and his life. He really wanted to spend time with her and that affected me the most.”
Hassett’s grandfather lived in a three-room shack with concrete walls. The house was small – two small bedrooms and a living room the size of a small office – but it sat on acres of farmland.
Hassett’s grandfather and uncle spent their lives raising animals on the farm. After her grandfather passed, Hassett decided to stay and help on the farm. She spent her days cleaning the animal pens and feeding them. Hassett grew up owning a dog, but never worked with animals before.
On one September night, everything clicked. Hassett heard a pregnant pig begin to give birth. Her uncle hadn’t arrived yet, so Hassett took the pig and placed it where it needed to go. After her uncle arrived, she helped deliver the piglets.
Two of the piglets were the runts of the litter. For the next two weeks, Hassett kept the piglets alive, sleeping on a couch and feeding the runts every few hours. She called them Bonita and Pinta. Her hard work paid off, as Bonita ended up surviving, growing to become a 200 pound pig.
“It was amazing to see her as this little thing and I was proud to keep her alive,” Hassett said. “I never saw an animal give birth before. Taking care of them and watching them grow up – that had an effect on me.”
Before she came to Puerto Rico, Hassett attended classes at a community college. Even then, she wasn’t sure what path her career would take. During her time on the farm, her uncle mentioned that she should be a veterinarian. She did more research and discovered becoming a veterinary technician.
She found Manor College through a Google search and, after coming to campus for a visit, she was all in.
“When I was at community college, it was easy to get lost,” Hassett said. “Because we were online, there were times you never even saw the teacher’s face. Even in an online class at Manor, teachers here know you by name. Manor is a smaller school and that’s what I needed.”
She fell in love with Manor’s library, finding a space that’s “so conducive to learning.”
“Even when I’m not in front of the teacher, I have that mindset that I want to pursue this,” Hassett said.
Hassett is currently studying Liberal Arts at Manor College. She intends to transfer to the Veterinary Technology program next year.
At Manor, she knows she’ll have to start by working in clinics, but she’s set on working with larger animals. Hassett’s goal is to return to Puerto Rico and work in veterinary medicine.
“When I was in Puerto Rico, I saw the lack of affordable veterinary medicine,” Hassett said. “Even if there were options, there were so few of those specialists needed. I want to fill that gap.”