Home on the Range
Shanna (Reitmann) Sallee ’09 was a little nervous applying for veterinary school.
Many students who choose that path start out at larger schools with agriculture programs, and they major in animal science.
Shanna’s biology major from Pacific University worked in her favor, though.
“I actually think it helped set me apart from other applicants,” Shanna said. “Once I got in, I felt very prepared, especially in my first year with [anatomy and physiology].
“Pacific prepared me even better than most of those other programs had prepared other students.”
Shanna didn’t know that she wanted to be a veterinarian when she first came to Pacific, but she did know she loved science.
She and her sister, fellow alumna Shelley (Reitmann) McCabe ’06, PT ’09, grew up on a long-time family ranch outside of Heppner, Ore. They both were drawn to the sciences, and to basketball.
Shelley attended Pacific first, as an undergraduate and women’s basketball player, and then as a student in Pacific’s physical therapy program. Shanna followed suit.
“I was interested in playing basketball … and I knew I wanted a science background, so I thought Pacific was a perfect fit,” Shanna said.
As a student, she enjoyed the strong biology program at Pacific, as well as opportunities to study abroad in Belize and Costa Rica. It was in Costa Rica that she determined that she wanted to study veterinary science.
“I was debating between nursing and veterinary medicine,” she said. “I wanted to be the boss … and animals were probably a better route for me than humans.”
Shanna went on to earn her doctorate in veterinary medicine from Oregon State University, and Pacific not only gave her the science skills to excel, but also more.
“A lot of it may just be down to the liberal arts, the general background,” she said. “Having communication skills, which is really vital in our job.”
Today, she works out of Hermiston, Ore., in a general veterinary practice in ranch land.
“I love the variety,” she said. “No day is the same. I can be inside with dogs and cats, then I can go outside and work on large animals.
“No day is going to be boring. Some days I’ll see six different species in one day.”
She also happens to be working in the veterinarian office that has long served her family’s ranch, and she’s able to provide care for her family’s livestock.
“My dad loves it, and I love being able to go back,” she said. “Working with my family is great, as well.”