Vet Tech graduate selected for Externship at Kansas City Zoo


Haylee MuseVisitors at a zoo in Kansas City saw a new face helping with the animals this summer. Haylee Muse, a 2015 graduate of Murray State College’s Veterinary Technology Program, served her externship at with the veterinary staff at The Kansas City Zoo in Kansas City, Missouri. The externship is an 8 week-long program that is designed to give recent graduates real-world experience before they head out into the workforce. Under the guidance of Dr. Kirk Suedmeyer, Dr. Brian Stockinger, and Registered Veterinary Technician Andrea Persson and the rest of the zoo staff, Haylee received hands on training in the care and handling of animals.

“Clinical externship is the culmination of a student’s Veterinary Technician education,” says Debbie Reed, Registered Veterinary Technician and Co-Director of the Murray State College Veterinary Technology Program. “It is the training ground where students are challenged to integrate all aspects of their education. This phase of training offers students the excitement and responsibility of applying the knowledge and skills they have learned.”

Zoo externships are popular, and competition for the open spots can be intense. Muse had to go through an extensive application process for the externship, including two interviews. She says she felt the externship would be a great opportunity to experience a work environment outside of Oklahoma, and to gain experience with a variety of animal species.

“Haylee's externship will give her experience in over 250 different species of animals,” says Laura Sandmann, co-director of MSC’s Veterinary Technology Program. “The Kansas City Zoo has everything from Bornean Orangutans to African Elephants and many more animals that a technician does not encounter at a regular veterinary practice. Their facilities include an in-house laboratory for routine diagnostics, surgical suites and quarantine areas to name a few. As an extern Haylee will be exposed to the entire zoo collection including reptiles, birds, primates, carnivores, hoofstock, amphibians and fish.”

Muse says the experience has paid off.

“My externship is amazing,” she says. “I have gotten to learn how certain species need to be restrained, what medications they can and can’t have, what disease they are prone to and what is being done to treat and prevent them.We also have to be trained for different emergencies like down animal or escape. There is just so much that branches off what we learned in school but then you throw in the different range of animals and their varying issues.”

Muse, a graduate of Edmond North High School, says she became interested in MSC’s Veterinary Technology program after a friend of hers graduated from the program. She says the program and instructors gave her a valuable base of knowledge and experience that she is using in her externship.

“It has given me a fantastic foundation in many fields of interest, including the classes I took outside of vet tech,” says Muse. “They gave me the tools to grow as a technician and taught me how to think in different ways and how to use that to my benefit to solve problems.”

As far as her future, Muse plans to finish her bachelor’s degree at Oklahoma State University.

Sandmann says that whatever Muse does, she knows she will be successful. “Haylee knows who she is and what she wants. I find this inspiring because many of the students are not sure who they are or exactly what they want in life. She has a determination to reach the goal, sacrifice to make it happen and a commitment to protect as well as make the world a better place for all animals.”

For more on the Murray State College Veterinary Technology Program, visit

Back to News Listing
Murray State College Provides Opportunities for
Student Learning, Personal Growth, Professional Success, and Community Enhancement.