Checking in With ... Montana Diabo
Tell me a little about where you’re from.
I grew up on a native-American reserve in Canada. It’s only about 10,000 people.
Is the reserve remote?
It’s only 20 minutes from Montreal, but they mostly speak French there so we don’t often visit.
Did growing up in such a small community in Canada prepare you for what it’s like living on St. Kitts?
There are definitely similarities, like it being such a close-knit community.
We also have a lot of free-roaming animals back home, just like here. The driving and lack of street signs, certainly used to that.
Any differences? At least, outside of the weather.
The biggest thing for me was, growing up where I did, I always felt so protected because everything was so familiar. Everyone knew everyone. So when I first moved here it took me a little bit and I was a little cautious. Now, I’m totally comfortable, though.
You just finished your second semester. Glad you made the long move down here?
Oh, I’m loving it on the island. I wanted an adventure when I went away to vet school. I like new things. Ross Vet was exactly what I wanted.
Have you traveled a lot?
I’d only been far away from home twice. I went Africa for a month to volunteer and I volunteered in southeast Asia at an elephant sanctuary for 3 weeks.
Well, when you travel, you certainly do go far. Ultimately, though, you plan on moving back to the reserve after school, I take it?
My end goal is to go back there. I want to help.
There’s really nothing there in terms of veterinary services. There’s one building run by two people, and it’s just a conservations center and dog pound.
So did you always want to be a vet?
Pretty much. In elementary school I said I wanted to either be a vet or an astronaut. Once I hit high school I knew I wanted to be a vet.
Now, you’ve taken a little longer route to getting your DVM, right?
I have. I got my vet-tech degree and worked for 5 years in an emergency hospital.
Now why go that route?
I always knew I wanted to be a veterinarian, but I wanted to go the more hands-on route. I think you’re able to get more hands-on experience when you’re a tech so you have an even stronger foundation when you start vet school.
Have you gotten involved with any clubs since getting to campus?
Definitely. I’ve done a couple each semester – Dental Club, Swine Club, Parasite Club, Equine Club. I loved them all.
Where I’m from it’s mainly small animals. I didn’t have any experience with large animals. So I wanted to join some clubs and get experience, and the clubs were so hands on. Now I want to do a mix.
Now, I hear you’ve earned quite a few scholarships?
I have. I’ve earned three from Ross Vet and another two from outside. It’s amazing, because they help a lot.
I also hear you even host a golf outing back home to help with tuition?
Yeah, it was my mom’s idea as a way to raise extra funds. Everyone on the reserve knows I’m here trying to become the first person on the reserve to be a veterinarian.
Everyone has been really supportive.