Felix Algarín Sepúlveda is convinced there are many just like him, and his goal is to help pave the way for all the rest.
Algarín Sepúlveda is in his third semester of Ross Vet’s DVM program, and on the President’s List, at that. However, as excited as he is for his education and career prospects, Algarín Sepúlveda’s path was not the easiest.
He hails from Caguas, Puerto Rico, a city of 135,000 people roughly 30 minutes south of the capital in San Juan. There, he grew up in poverty along with close to 40 percent of the population. So attending public school meant needing to balance school work with real work to make ends meet, all in effort to try and achieve his goals.
While there is no shortage of education in Puerto Rico – his home town boasts 13 colleges and universities – the quality of veterinary education is not on par with what you can get elsewhere, according to Algarín Sepúlveda.
“The faculty [like what we have at Ross Vet], the campus, the classrooms, the labs, the technology – I didn’t experience anything like that in Puerto Rico,” says Algarín Sepúlveda.
Wanting to get into veterinary medicine, Ross Vet’s location on St. Kitts immediately appealed to Algarín Sepúlveda, being from an island, himself. The obvious issue was financial, but the less obvious and bigger hurdle to him was the language barrier.
“I have trouble with English,” says Algarín Sepúlveda, whose native language is Spanish. “I was worried I wouldn’t understand or they wouldn’t understand me, and I fall behind.”
Ross Vet looked at Algarín Sepúlveda’s situation and wanted to set him up with his best chance to succeed, offering him a spot in its Vet Prep program. The fit was ideal.
“Immediately, [my professors] tried hard to understand me, and me them,” says Algarín Sepúlveda. “They were so helpful. They want me to succeed and are doing everything to make that happen.”
Now, Algarín Sepúlveda wants to do the same for the many Puerto Rican students back home by becoming our newest Student Ambassador.
In that role, he’ll share his story with Puerto Rican students to help ease any fears of leaving home or language barriers. The end goal being to bring them to Ross Vet and allow them to pursue their dreams, Algarín Sepúlveda says.
“I’m excited to be a Student Ambassador,” says Algarín Sepúlveda. “There are a lot of people [in Puerto Rico] interested in Ross Vet. If I can ensure them they can overcome the language barrier and don’t need a Bachelor’s degree – just the meet the requirements – they can apply to Ross Vet and be where I am, working toward my dream.”