Learning to become a veterinarian in an accelerated Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) program can be a demanding commitment for students pursuing their dreams at Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine (Ross Vet). Outside the academic program, St. Kitts could be miles away from home, but fortunately it can become a second home for students by way of spouses and families who are able to live on the island while they are in school. This was one of the driving forces behind Kate Montez, Class of ’23, choosing Ross Vet to pursue her DVM. “My husband and I got married just before we moved down here, so we thought of it as a three-year-long working honeymoon. I wanted to start a new adventure,” said Montez.
A new adventure was indeed waiting for her and her husband, Jose Montez, on St. Kitts. On September 8, 2021 — three days into what was supposed to be the start of Kate’s fifth semester — she and Jose welcomed their daughter, Eleanor Theodora Montez, into the world.
“Everyone says you do not know how much your life will change until it happens, and I completely see life differently now. I wake up earlier every morning and have to start every day fresh because you can’t push snooze on a baby. Eleanor needs constant care, and we always have to be there and be present. She brings a new light to my life, and I find more purpose in my life to motivate me to finish school and be the doctor I want to be.”
The doctor Montez wants to be goes back to when she was a little girl and the mini doctor’s coat embroidered with ‘Dr. Kate’ that her mom got her for her fourth birthday. Growing up as an only child in Fayetteville, Georgia, the family pets and animals she brought home were considered her siblings. “They were always my best friends and I always wanted to be able to fix them. I had my little coat with a play doctor’s kit and since then I have always wanted to be a veterinarian.”
After starting her academic journey at Columbus State University in her home state of Georgia, Ross Vet and St. Kitts opened the doorway for Montez to achieve her dream. The opportunity for hands-on experience right from the start, pre-clinical coursework dedicated to surgery, and learning from a diverse faculty with more global perspectives were some of the highlights that helped her and Jose take the next step in their adventure.
Now eight months into new motherhood and the start of clinical rotations on the horizon, Montez has started adapting well to caring for Eleanor and balancing the full coursework of the upper semesters.
“I kept Ross Vet leadership updated once I was pregnant, and after weighing the pros and cons we decided it was best to stay in St. Kitts. When Eleanor was born, I was able to take a two-week break and catch up on any exams or classwork after we settled back home. Now that I am back in classes and labs and everything is happening on campus, Jose does everything he can as a stay-at-home dad. We are a really strong unit.”
When she graduates in 2023, the next adventure in her sights is to pursue a career in exotic animal medicine. She says she always envisioned working outside of traditional veterinary practice. “I love it. I need it. I like to branch out and do what everyone else does not do. I guess that is why I had a baby in vet school.”