Alumni Spotlight: Doctor Melinda Spicer, Ten years Later

Posted by Natalie Martin on Aug 2, 2016 11:28:32 AM

image2-1.jpegThink back ten years ago, what were you doing? Were you preparing yourself for your future life-long career? Doctor Melinda Spicer sure was and has been wildly successful in her chosen career path. Before she became a veterinarian, Melinda attended JKCP’s Internship three-week program for high school students. She was placed at Society Hill Veterinary Hospital. According to Spicer, that internship sealed the deal to her future veterinary career.

 Spicer grew up in Long Island, New York. She attended Bucknell University, studied animal behavior and went to St. George’s University for her veterinary degree. In the 10th grade, Melinda attended JKCP’s Internship Program. Throughout this program, Spicer met and worked under the owner of the practice, Dr. Claudia Casavecchia. According to Melinda, “I remember the moment I saw my first surgery, a mastectomy to remove a mammary mass. This was the turning point for me and I knew that veterinary medicine was not only a dream but also my reality.”


JKCP: At what age did you realize you had a passion for being a Veterinarian?

MS: I always had a passion for animals (really, what young child doesn’t!) and when I was about eleven I became an adoption advisor at our local shelter, but I began feeling certain about my career path after observing surgery for the first time in 10th grade.

JKCP: What initially interested you about the JKCP Internship Program?

MS: I was very excited to experience a veterinary hospital first hand and get a real-life view of how a hospital ran. This is the most valuable part of the JKCP program- immersing yourself in a new environment to determine if that path is the right one for you. It also felt exciting to spend time in Philadelphia living at the UPenn dorms, and the program sounded like it would be not only fascinating but also fun.

JKCP: What was your favorite teaching lesson or skill that you learned during the JKCP Internship that you have been able to apply in the “real world”?

MS: A skill that I learned during the internship that I applied to the real world is that if you want something; stay strong and go for it no matter what! Living this way gave me strength to move all the way to the Caribbean to pursue veterinary medicine and helped me stay strong and work harder than I thought I could while in veterinary school.

JKCP: Describe your path in life between JKCP Internship, school and you current career.

MS: After my internship, I majored in animal behavior at Bucknell University. I participated in research in a broad range of animals- from monkeys to mice. I felt very fortunate to get into vet school, and living in Grenada was quite an experience!   Between my years in college and vet school I remained in contact with Dr. Casavecchia and Society Hill, working there as a tech and assistant during my summers, and also visited the UPenn Vet School during my Summer breaks.

JKCP: Why did you decide to return back to Society Hill Veterinary Hospital?

MS: After working here for much of my training, I know the caliber of medicine and the high standard of care that this hospital provides for all of its patients. Also, the collaboration of the staff and the positive frame of mind made this practice shine above the others that I had experienced. I was thrilled when a position became available and I was able to become an associate. I’m thrilled that the program has continued and that our hospital is still giving this experience to many aspiring vets.   

JKCP: How do you think the JKCP Internship prepared you for your full time position today?

MS: The internship helped prepare me by allowing me to pick the brains of the veterinarians I worked with and ask them advice about their career path. I got a first hand experience of what a veterinarian’s life is like, and that is something you cannot get any other way. I would recommend this to all the students who have the opportunity to do a JKCP internship.

JKCP: If you could give advice to current students looking to get an internship what would you tell them?

MS: I would highly recommend the JKCP program! Experiencing the reality of your possible profession is the best way to determine if it is truly something in which you feel passionate and want to devote your life.

JKCP: If you could go back in time, what would you change about you career path?

MS: I wouldn’t change anything about my career path!


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Topics: JKCP Student Spotlight, Internships for High School Students

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