Life After Northside: Emma Lantz
By Alicja Ramotowski
Emma Lantz is a Northside College Prep Alumni, class of 2009. She fondly recalled her time at Northside, from women’s soccer to unconventional learning during colloquium. “I loved the flexibility of Northside and the support of the staff and faculty,” said Lantz. “There were a lot of people who helped me pursue interests in and outside of the classroom.” The unique education and encouragement to learn that we all receive here at Northside was surely a stepping stone in her path to success.
Lantz attended the University of Chicago for her undergraduate studies, and during her time at the university, she studied abroad at the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. After finishing her undergraduate studies, she received a U.S. Fulbright grant to work on a health study of wild chimpanzees in northwest Tanzania. In 2011, Lantz continued her education by starting a joint Master of Public Health (MPH)/Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree program at Colorado State University, in Fort Collins. For her Master’s Capstone Project, she worked with the National Park Service One Health group to gain insight on rodenticide exposure due to illegal marijuana cultivation in California, and thus finished her studies in 2016.
As a huge animal lover, becoming a veterinarian was always part of Lantz’s life plan. She reminisced that there were always animals in her house growing up: dogs, cats, rodents, reptiles, amphibians, and even Madagascar hissing cockroaches. She remembered fostering litters of kittens and taking horseback riding lessons with her sister. Animals were something she was very passionate about, but the road before her was not easy.
Veterinary medicine is an expensive choice of study, so she made sure to carefully consider her desire to continue in the area of study. Yet, time and time again, she discovered that nothing else would make her as happy. She worked in a number of veterinary clinics throughout her high school and undergraduate years. During her years at University of Chicago, Lantz worked at Lincoln Park Zoo where she took part in the Conservation and Science department’s long term chimpanzee health project. Before starting graduate school, she worked as a veterinary assistant at Sierra Veterinary Clinic in Bishop CA, and later as a part of her joint degree program worked for the National Park Service veterinarians. Lantz said, “The types of jobs I’ve held in veterinary medicine have been really fun - it’s a huge variety.” She explained that in the field, there are many options. First there is clinical practice - specialties like small animal, livestock, neurology, surgery. Additionally, there are opportunities for wildlife/conservation work, food safety and inspection, pathology, and many more. Throughout one’s career, it is possible to transition to a different specialty or learn more about it, so there is hardly a dull moment.
All the hard work and years of study paid off. Today, Lantz is an associate mixed animal veterinarian at Bishop Veterinary Hospital in Bishop, CA. She and her husband, a wildlife ecologist specializing in animal movement and migration, lived in Bishop before going to graduate school, and have now moved back along with their fierce cat, Mickey. Lantz is a general practice veterinarian, meaning she treats any species -- and nearly any case. Sometimes it becomes necessary to contact a specialty veterinarian, but because Bishop is a relatively small, rural town, and major cities are hours away, emergency cases often have to be handled in-house.
Of all the different components of veterinary medicine, one of her favorites is working on livestock and population medicine, examining how health and welfare of animals can be improved on a larger scale. Lantz is passionate about the topic and said, “I find so many people outside of agriculture that don’t have a clear understanding of what it takes to produce our food, and I enjoy discussing the difficult parts of these issues.” She and her husband are glad to be back in the place they love, reconnecting with old friends, getting involved in the Art Docent program in local elementary schools, volunteering with Altrusa International, as well as going hiking, climbing, skiing, and enjoying the outdoors.
Lantz loves every aspect of her job but especially the constant challenge of veterinary medicine. She added that every day there is something new to learn, and the feeling of knowing you helped an animal and its owner is a great added bonus. To Lantz, nothing beats the feeling of achievement you get after removing a rock from a dog’s stomach or delivering a live calf via Caesarean section.
Future plans for the Northside alumna include continuing to learn every day and potentially getting involved with the state veterinary medical association. She would love to find new ways to have a greater impact on the world both in her work and within her community. She is also looking forward to improving at drawing and finding time for some travel. Lantz is perhaps most looking forward to the prospect of having her own flock of sheep and some chickens -- and almost certainly a horse as well.
How better to end an interview than with a hard question? And what’s the hardest question you can ask a veterinarian: What is your favorite animal? After much deliberation, Lantz concluded that although it is extremely hard to choose, her favorite animal would have to be an okapi.