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Passion for animals leads Northeast student to pursue dream of become a vet

Passion for animals leads Northeast student to pursue dream of become a vet

NORFOLK, Neb. – From a young age, Haileigh Moutray has had an interest in animals. So much so, she is on a path to make it a career.

“I plan to move to western Nebraska or South Dakota to fulfill my dream of being a large animal vet.”

Moutray, a graduate of Cross County High School, is the daughter of the late Nathan Moutray of York, and the niece of Nick and Anna Korth of Newman Grove. 

As a freshman at Northeast Community College, Moutray is finishing her studies as an Agriculture Transfer major and is preparing to transfer to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to pursue a bachelor’s degree in animal science. She then plans to attend Iowa State University to earn a degree in veterinary science.  

“I’ve always had a passion for working with animals, especially large animals like cows and horses,” she said. “My Uncle Nick has always showed me how to do different things with large animals that we care for on his farm.” 

In her personal life, she also helps her aunt and uncle on their farm located outside of Newman Grove. She attributes her college decision and success to her Aunt Anna who has helped her through her life’s struggles as well as encouraged her to pursue her dreams of becoming a large animal veterinarian. 
“My aunt is the most compassionate person I have ever met and has always been there when I needed her.” 

At Northeast, Moutray is involved with Trap Club and TRIO Club on the Norfolk campus. TRIO is a federally funded program that assists income-eligible individuals, first-generation college students and those with disabilities to progress through the academic pipeline to post-baccalaureate programs. It also focuses on career exploration, cultural and social enrichment, and self-awareness.

She credits her TRIO Advisor Denise Richling for helping her make many decisions on life, both big and little. 

“Denise has always been supportive of my dreams since day one of being a student here at Northeast. She always makes sure you are welcome in her office and can have any kind of discussion in confidence,” she said. “She really went the extra mile to get me where I wanted to go, even if it was sooner than expected.”

For her commitment to her education, Moutray was named TRIO Student of the Month for March at Northeast. The award recognizes outstanding students who have been accepted into the TRIO Program. Each month of each semester, a participating TRIO student has been selected for the award based upon her or his work in TRIO and in other activities on campus or in the community. Award winners receive a plaque from the TRIO Program and have their photo placed in the “TRIO Program Student of the Month” Achievement Recognition board. 

The board, located in the TRIO office, is themed True Leaders. We define true leaders as those who are first to strive and who give their all for the success of the team. True leaders are first to see the need, envision the plan, and empower the team for action. By the strength of the leader's commitment, the power of the team is unleashed.”

“Haileigh was a great student in my biology class, was hard working and personable,” said Erin Kucera, biology instructor. “She communicated very well with me and the other students in her class and she added to a larger group chemistry that was developed in her section. She is still a pleasure to talk to even though I’m no longer her teacher!”
To be eligible for the TRIO program, a student must be one of the following: a first generation student where neither parent has a four-year degree, meet income-eligibility status based on U.S. Department of Health and Human Services criteria, or have a documented disability. 

For more information on the TRIO program at Northeast Community College, visit