Student Spotlight: Nelson Capehart
Since childhood, Nelson Capehart has loved animals and wanted to work with them. The good reputation of Gaston College and its Veterinary Medical Technology program led Nelson to enroll in the program in the fall of 2021. They will graduate in spring 2023.
Nelson intends to gather more information about the practice of veterinary medicine before committing to any long-term plans, but for now they are looking forward to finding their place in the field. “There’s much more to vet med than a neighborhood small animal clinic,” they said. “Could I end up doing rescue work? Maybe something with wildlife? I’m keeping my options open.”
Signing up for classes at Gaston College was Nelson’s first step toward building their skills and confidence “one small victory at a time.” Their second step was being accepted into the Vet Tech program, which has specific admission requirements and enrolls only 40 students each fall semester. “Now every class I pass is another step closer to my career as a registered vet tech,” they said. “That means more to me than just job security or benefits. That means I’ve accomplished something, something that not everyone has; something I can be truly proud of.”
Nelson represented fellow classmates when they spoke at the recent dedication ceremony that named the Gaston College Veterinary Medicine Technology Building in honor of Dr. Patricia A. Skinner, the College’s former president. “Nelson is a hard-working student and is going to be an asset to the field of veterinary technology,” said Melanie Skinner, director of the Vet Tech program. “They are dedicated to the well-being of the animals and always give their best in whatever they do. I am proud of Nelson and glad to have them in our program.”
Gaston College is invested in helping students succeed in finding their paths and owning their momentum. Nelson is well on their way. “The thing about momentum is that it builds,” they said. “You might have to fight for every inch of ground but before you know it, you’re coasting. And then you’re flying. It’s not a replacement for continuous effort but it makes all your effort do so much more.
“That’s how I own my momentum,” they continued. “I worked for it, and now it’s working for me. On the shoulders of my own success, I’ll keep building higher and higher until I can clear any hurdle life throws at me. I wouldn’t have made the least bit of progress if not for the opportunity Gaston College has offered me; that was the groundwork, those first few inches, that has paved the way for where I am now and where I’ll go in the future.”