Dr. Stephanie Dorosko
Dr. Stephanie Dorosko
When she was young, Dr. Stephanie Dorosko had two passions to consider as she looked to the future. “I was deciding between human and veterinary medicine. I used to have dreams of being both a pediatrician and a veterinarian,” she says. “I had some experience with farm animals and then I realized how much I enjoyed my relationship with them.”
Stephanie went to Tufts University to earn a doctor of veterinary medicine (DVM) degree so she could work with animals. But she didn't stop there. She went on to earn a Ph.D. in nutritional biochemistry and metabolism. Today she teaches both science and veterinary technology courses at Vermont Tech.
“I have a clinical degree and a research degree,” she explains. “I worked part-time as a veterinarian while working on my Ph.D. My Ph.D. involved public health and the breastmilk transmission of HIV from mother to child. I traveled to Africa three times for this.” Stephanie has published a number of articles in scientific journals such as Journal of Virology and Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences.
She did post-doctoral work at Dartmouth Medical School. “I was an assistant research professor with my own grant, but I really wanted to teach,” she says. “This opening came up at Vermont Tech and I wanted to do it!”
Stephanie finds that her vet tech students have ambition and a great work ethic. “They have a good sense of the kind of life they want to have after they graduate,” she says. “They're in this field because they are compassionate. They want a career that is meaningful to them.”
“When their eyes light up and they 'get' something, it's huge for me,” she says. “I want to be sure everyone gets excited about learning. I want to help guide them through this transitional process from student to adult who has to balance work and life. It's not just me lecturing to them – it's a give and take.”
It's this kind of dedication that was behind an education award in 2016. Stephanie, who is an adviser to 28 students, earned the “Carolyn Donahue Friend of Equal Opportunity Education Award” from the Vermont Educational Opportunity Association. It honors a person who helps low-income students, first-generation students or students with disabilities succeed in college.
While teaching full-time, Stephanie is also a veterinarian at a clinic on the weekends and in the summer. “It provides balance in my life,” she says. “I use the research part of my brain, as well as the social. I have to figure out what's wrong without the patient telling me verbally. I have to be compassionate to both the animal and owner – something I stress to the students here.”