ROAR recently initiated its first annual high school scholarship program to encourage high school students to pursue a career in animal care. After reviewing more than 100 applications from students at Ridgefield High School, ROAR selected Reagan Bonadies, a recent graduate, as its inaugural recipient.
To find out more about this amazing student who will be heading to the University of Maine this fall to study Zoology in its Honors Program, we recently talked to
Reagan about what made her want to pursue her education to be a veterinarian, how ROAR's scholarship will help support this and her love of animals.
Q: What made you want to go to school to become a veterinarian?
A: "I love animals. I've always had them and I think it would be cool to take care of them as I get older. I also knew I wanted to go into some kind of medical field."
Q: Do you know what kind of veterinarian you would like to become yet?
A: "As of right now, I want to work with larger animals. I think working with farm animals would be a great way to impact communities and even the country because I can help keep the animals that impact our food supply healthy. There are also shortages of veterinarians in rural, farming areas, so I could find a job where there is a need."
Q: Is anyone else in your family a veterinarian?
A: "No one in my immediate family is a veterinarian or works with animals, but I have a few members of my extended family who have gone to school for animal science and zoology. Also, an interesting side note ... my mom worked in a vet's office (administrative) when she was pregnant with me. We like to joke that it's the reason I want to be a vet now."
Q: Do you have any pets at home? If so, what kind do you have?
A: "I have a bunch of pets at home. We have two dogs (a yellow lab and a beagle), three guinea pigs, a snake, and some fish. The coolest pet I have ever had was an albino hedgehog."
Q: How did you find out about ROAR's scholarship and that you were selected as its first recipient?
A: "My guidance counselor at the high school told me about the scholarship. I wrote a short essay about why I wanted to be a veterinarian and work with large animals and applied for it in early May. I also sent information about my interests to the school in the winter.
I found out I received the scholarship through a congratulations letter sent in the mail from ROAR's Executive Director Kerry Dobson, as well as from a video announcement that our Principal Dr. Gross sent out.
Q: How will the scholarship help you with your education?
A: "This scholarship will help me lessen the amount of student loans I have at my time at UMaine. My goal is to be in little (hopefully no) debt when I go to vet school. It is important to me to not take out a large loan for vet school on top of the one for my undergrad. The scholarship will help me reach this goal."
Q: Have you worked with animals before?
A: "I've done a lot of pet sitting (from dogs to chickens). I also am an expert at petting animals. I think I say hi to every dog I see! Over the next few years, I will be looking for more opportunities to shadow veterinarians and work with all kinds of animals."
Q: Do you have a favorite animal or a few?
A: "My favorite animals are cows. I grew up in South Carolina and we would get our dairy products from a small organic farm in the area. They would keep the pregnant cows right near the farm store where everyone could see them up close. I think that is what started my love for cows. Other than that, I think any exotic animals you can keep as pets are super cool (like hedgehogs and snakes)."