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An Animal Lover’s Path to Veterinary Medicine: Conservatory Green Senior prepares to attend the No. 2 vet school in the nation

Valeria Ochoa (DSST: Conservatory Green ‘24) is headed to Colorado State University this fall with plans to earn an undergraduate degree from the College of Natural Sciences before continuing to earn a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from CSU, the No. 2 Vet school in the nation.

Ochoa attributes her love of animals and the academic and social preparation she received from DSST: Conservatory Green for her success. 

Animals have been in Ochoa’s home ever since she was born. Milo (pictured above) was a present for her sixth birthday. Now, Milo is 13 and healthy. Unfortunately, another family dog named Juno passed away as a puppy. “We didn’t have resources close to us to get help for her,” she said. 

The loss impacted Ochoa and her family in a big way. Now, she’s motivated to prevent that scenario for others. She recognizes that being a veterinarian will require physical care of animals as well as emotional care for humans. 

“Four years of undergrad and four years of vet school is a long process, but I’m willing to do it because I want to open my own vet clinic and be able to help my community,” she shared.

In addition to her passion for helping animals, the classes and programs at DSST: Conservatory Green have prepared Ochoa for this college and career path.

“At DSST, I’ve been able to take classes that align with vet studies like AP Biology, AP Chemistry, AP Environmental Science, and AP Statistics,” said Ochoa. 


“My internship was my biggest eye-opener,” she said. During her junior year, Ochoa interned at The Urban Farm. One of her favorite memories from that experience was caring for new baby goats. 

“It was so cool to see the different kinds of animals,” she said. “It made me reconsider what kind of vet I want to be and feel more open to the agricultural side of it.”

To explore even more variety in veterinary medicine, Ochoa is planning to study abroad with CSU before her freshman year to experience the unique biodiversity of Australia.

Finally, Ochoa is thankful for the many encouragers in her life including her college counselor, mental health counselor, and many teachers at DSST. But, her biggest cheerleader is her mom. 

“My mom was pursuing her own degrees while working full-time and being a single mom,” said Ochoa. “Even in middle school, I thought, ‘Wow, she can do all that. Then I can do that too!’”