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September 03, 2013

Jessica Honeywell ’08 recently spent an eye-opening week in the Dominican Republic, where she was part of a team of veterinarians and veterinary technicians, known as Project Samana, who travel twice yearly to the impoverished country to treat local pets and animals.

Project Samana is something I’ve wanted to get involved with for a while, but it relies completely on volunteers, so funding was always an issue,” says Honeywell, who is a certified veterinary technician at Zoo New England. “In 2011, I received my certification and was able to apply for a grant through the Mass Vet Tech Association.”

The grant funded Honeywell’s travel to Samana, Dominican Republic, where she helped setup an animal clinic in a vacant storefront. Her team then went to work, performing 35 to 40 surgeries per day and treating animals with antibiotics, dewormer, and a rabies vaccine. Honeywell was part of the small animal group, treating primarily dogs and cats brought by local residents. Another group of vets assisted larger animals, such as horses, donkeys, and mules.

It was an amazing experience,” she says. “Over four days, we completed 144 surgeries. I was really honored to be a part of the team.”

While Honeywell worked the small animal team in the Dominican, she is no stranger to working with large, wild animals back home. Zoo New England operates Franklin Park Zoo in Boston and Stone Zoo in Stoneham.

It’s really a dream job,” says Honeywell. “It varies a lot from day to day. One day we may be treating something as small as a chinchilla and the next day something as large as a tiger.”

Her responsibilities include caring for inpatients, administering medications, making sure all treatments are completed, and assisting during surgeries and other procedures. Honeywell majored in biology at Framingham State and says she still maintains close contact with her professors, including Dr. Margaret Carroll.

I had a great experience at Framingham State,” she says. “I definitely feel like I got a strong education.”

About Framingham State University

Framingham State University was founded in 1839 as the nation’s first public university for the education of teachers. Since that time, it has evolved into a vibrant, comprehensive liberal arts institution offering small, personalized classes on a beautiful New England campus. Today, the University enrolls more than 6,400 students with 53 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in arts, humanities, sciences, social sciences and professional fields. As a public university, Framingham State prides itself on quality academic programs, affordability, and commitment to access for all qualified students.

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