The Nonprofit Amy’s Purpose Awards COD PaCE Veterinary Assistant Scholarships

Story and photos by Bruce Fessier

Six recipients of scholarships from the animal protection charity, Amy’s Purpose, have begun a College of the Desert class to learn to become veterinary assistants, including one student with broader ambitions.

Rosemary Ramsey of Palm Springs works at the Palm Springs Animal Shelter and has handled a variety of veterinary tasks, including animal intake, vaccines and spay and neutering. But she said in an application for the Amy’s Purpose scholarship, “I want to continue to learn more to help my shelter progress and create a better future for the animal community.”

Ramsey is one of 14 students taking the veterinary assistant class offered through COD’s Personal and Career Education (PaCE) program. The seven-month course includes remote and classroom learning culminating with hands-on externships at local veterinary clinics and hospitals. Tuition is $3,195 plus the cost of scrubs.

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But Ramsey says she may want to continue her studies in veterinary care after completing the class.

A subsequent step is to train to become a registered veterinary technician, which requires an Associates of Arts or Sciences degree, passage of national and state licensing examinations, and a background check. Vet technicians supervise veterinary assistants for Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and may perform emergency life-saving procedures under the indirect supervision of a DVM.

If Ramsey does continue her studies, she may find continued support from Nancy Joseph, principal of the Palm Springs-based boutique public relations and marketing firm, N.Joseph Marketing Communications.

Bruce Fessier, Nancy Joseph, Rosemary Ramsey, and DeAnn Lubell

Joseph read a local magazine story about Amy’s Purpose revealing the need for veterinary care workers in the desert and volunteered to donate a $3,200 scholarship to the charity through its recent “Pet Love and Rock & Roll” benefit concert. But, instead of just giving money and attending the concert and Q&A at the museum’s Annenberg Theater, Joseph asked to read the scholarship applications and select a student she wanted to sponsor.

She selected Ramsey on the basis of her answers about wanting to work in the Coachella Valley or Morongo Basin, and her essay about her veterinary care goals and personal accomplishments.

Joseph said Ramsey’s answers inspired her to sponsor the young woman “for all the right reasons.” She said she considers the scholarship gift “a birthday present to myself.”

Joseph met with Ramsey, Amy’s Purpose founding president DeAnn Lubell, “Pet Love” producer Bruce Fessier, and PaCE director Veronica Izurieta Oct. 4 at the PaCE classrooms in The Shops of Palm Desert mall, where she asked further questions about Ramsey’s animal care experience and aspirations.

“Hopefully we’ll stay in contact,” she said after the meeting. “If there’s a way in the future to help support further endeavors, I would like to do that.

Ramsey said she’d like to receive an externship at VCA Desert Animal Hospital in Palm Springs after she finishes her remote and classroom experience at PaCE. Then she’ll determine her next career step.

Whatever she does, Joseph said she’d like to continue to support Amy’s Purpose mission to get more veterinary workers hired in the high and low deserts, and to promote predatory awareness.

John Garcia at work

“If it’s for Rosemary or someone like her,” said Joseph, “I would like to think that’s something I can do.”

Subsequent PaCE classes for veterinary assistants begin in January and April. Amy’s Purpose has committed to providing 12 $3,200 scholarships to students who enroll in those classes. For more information, contact Izurieta at PaCE at (760) 862-1367 or

For more information about Amy’s Purpose, go to or call DeAnn Lubell 760-831-3090.

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