Open doors and career paths through Institute for Marine Mammal Studies

News 25’s Toni Miles introduces us to the two most recent South Mississippians who are heading for a dream career path thanks to IMMS and Mississippi State.

St. Patrick Catholic High School senior and IMMS intern Isabel Leatherwood is very focused. “I was about six years old. It’s probably been my lifelong dream for as long as I can remember. I can’t think of a time when I didn’t want to be a veterinarian.”

Now, she’s closing in on this dream. Leatherman has been accepted into the early entry program at Mississippi State University’s School of Veterinary Medicine. She’s landed a guaranteed and coveted spot with the vet school once she completes her first four years of college. Only one in ten applicants makes the cut. “I honestly think that working here is the main reason I got into this program. When I was in my interview, the majority of the questions were about my internship and the work I’ve done here.”

Jenna Bordages is also eager to talk about her three years as an employee, starting out at the IMMS as the marine educator. Now, she’s wrapped up in her job as the reptile keeper. “I take care of all these creepy crawlies here, from snakes to alligators, turtles, arachnids, like a tarantula.”

Bordages has also landed a spot with MSU’s School of Veterinary Medicine, but she will go straight into the program this fall, a door of opportunity she says the IMMS has afforded her through the facility’s hands-on training and networking opportunities. “MSU is very much affiliated with our stranding network here, and all of our efforts on our education and rehabilitation efforts on these animals, so I’ve gotten to work with professors from MSU with our stranding team with those different animals.”

Dr. Debra Moore with IMMS said, “We’ve worked with hundreds of students, and we continue to work with them. We continue to promote opportunities here as well as across the country.”

Isabel Leatherman and Jenna Bordages, each taking her own unique path, but heading in the same direction to be veterinarians, reflective of the schooling and support they’ve reeled in during their time here at the IMMS.

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