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Northeast graduate and daughter share love of animals

Northeast graduate and daughter share love of animals

COLUMBUS, Neb. - Katrina Enderson of Columbus wants to follow in her mother’s footsteps – and that is not going to be an easy task. Her mom, Diane Enderson, was honored earlier this year as the 2019 Outstanding Licensed Veterinary Technician (LVT) of the Year by the Nebraska Veterinary Medicine Association.

Diane earned her associate of applied science degree in veterinary technology from Northeast Community College in 2012. Katrina is just completing her freshman year at Northeast and plans to finish her AAS in vet tech in the Spring of 2021. Both said the vet tech program at Northeast is challenging, comprehensive, and prepares students well for a career in veterinary medicine.

Diane said her love of animals comes from her dad growing up in Sheldon, IA. She thought about attending veterinary school after she graduated from high school in 1994.

“Veterinary school is tough, and many people told me I couldn’t do it,” Diane said, “so I ended up with a degree in retail management.”

Marriage, children, and a move to Columbus did not dampen Diane’s love of animals, and she found herself working as the shelter manager of Paws and Claws in Columbus.

“My kids were older, and I thought the time was right to go back to school,” she explained.

In 2010, Diane enrolled in the veterinary technician program at Northeast and graduated two-years later. Even though she was older than the other students in the program, and driving from Columbus every day, Diane completed the program in two years, graduating with honors.

“There was a lot crammed into two years, but I loved learning. I still do, and I still research things for the doctors at the clinic where I now work.”

Diane worked for a mixed animal practice in Columbus and as a pharmacy tech before becoming a full-time LVT at the Columbus Animal Hospital.

“I love it,” Diane said of her job at the Columbus Small Animal Hospital. “The more adrenalin rush I have, it really gets me going. Doing CPR and saving that animal’s life, that’s the greatest feeling I have.”

Katrina shares her mother’s love of animals.

“I have always been around animals,” she said, “and I like science, so that helps.”

Katrina already had a two-year degree in music from Central Community College when she enrolled in the Northeast vet tech program in 2019.

“I may go on to veterinary school,” she said. “I really love the lab work, looking into a microscope.”

Katrina is interning at the Columbus Small Animal Hospital, alongside her mother. She has been doing rehabilitation with some animals at the hospital, and has found she would like to specialize in that area.

Katrina admitted she is not enjoying online learning this semester and looks forward to a time when COVID-19 restrictions are lifted and she can return to the classroom at Northeast. Interning at the Columbus Small Animal Hospital has provided an opportunity for her to still get the hands-on experience she would be getting at Northeast.

“But next semester the focus is large animal nursing and I hope to be back at Northeast for that,” she said.

Both Diane and Katrina said they have recommended Northeast Community College to other students.

“Northeast is so much more updated than other colleges I visited,” Katrina said. “I like that it’s small, but still prepares students to do well at a four-year college or university.”

“I recommend Northeast to everybody,” Diane added. “Many veterinary clinics prefer to hire Northeast students because they know the classes are challenging and the instructors work closely with the students.”

The Endersons are also excited about the new veterinary technology clinic and classroom building that will be located west of the Chuck Pohlman Ag Complex on the Northeast campus.

“We really need more vet techs and everything is changing with new technology and different aspects of lab work,” Diane said. “It will be great for Northeast vet tech students to have everything in one building and not have to drive to the lab.”

The new veterinary technology clinic and classroom building is one component of the initial construction of the Nexus project, which also includes a new farm site with a large animal handling facility and other farm structures for livestock operations, a farm office and storage. All of the new facilities will be located near the Chuck M. Pohlman Agriculture Complex on E. Benjamin Ave. in Norfolk. Site work began in April and construction should be completed by the Fall of 2021.

The funding for the agriculture facilities will come from the College’s commitment of $10 million, as well as external fundraising to fill the gap. With a total project cost of $22.3 million, the College has raised enough funds to begin construction; however, fundraising for the Nexus campaign will continue, as more is needed for equipment, technology and furnishings.

In August 2019, the Acklie Charitable Foundation (ACF) announced a $5 million lead gift to the Nexus project. ACF was founded by the late Duane Acklie and Phyllis Acklie, both Madison County natives and graduates of Norfolk Junior College, a predecessor institution of Northeast Community College.

For more information on the Nexus Campaign, contact Dr. Tracy Kruse, associate vice president of development and external affairs and executive director of the Northeast Foundation, at, or call (402) 844-7056. Online donations may be made through Checks may also be mailed to Nexus Campaign, Northeast Community College Foundation, P.O. Box 469, Norfolk, NE 68702-0469.



PHOTO ID: Diane (left) and Katrina Enderson. (Courtesy Photo)