Kara Hall, C.V.T.Clincal Trials Technician
I grew up in Milwaukie, Oregon and even at an early age I felt a deep connection with animals. As a student in 4-H, I showed rabbits. I also trained service dogs for Guide Dogs for the Blind. I usually had an assortment of pets to care for including dogs, a number of stray cats, guinea pigs and lizards.
I earned my degree in Exotic Animal Training and Management in 1987 from Moorpark College in Moorpark, California and joined the staff of Wildlife World Zoo in Litchfield, Arizona, as a zookeeper. While there, I worked with birds, primates, big cats, marsupials and a variety of hoofstock species. When the zoo animals became sick or injured, it was the zoo veterinarian who diagnosed the problem and it was my responsibility to administer the prescribed care. As I learned more about how to treat the sick and injured animals in my care, I developed a deep interest in medicine and went on to earn a degree in Veterinary Technology at Portland Community College – Rock Creek in Portland, Oregon. After graduation in 1992, I joined the staff of the Oregon Zoo in Portland while also working part-time at a small animal veterinary clinic in the city.
In 1993, I had the opportunity to work as a Biological Aide for the Government of Guam, working on a project with the endangered Guam Rail, a small flightless bird, extinct in the wild; and the equally endangered Marianas fruit bat. Part of the project included equipping the Guam Rail with “backpacks” containing tracking devices that allowed the bird to be monitored after release on nearby islands.
After two years in Guam, I returned stateside to California to get married and start a family. I joined the veterinary nursing staff at the University of California-Davis Veterinary Teaching Hospital where I worked closely with young veterinary students, initiating them into hospital protocol and helping to guide them through their first hands-on hospital training.
In 1999, my family of four moved to Reno, Nevada, where I entered the fast-paced world of emergency medicine, working as an emergency veterinary nurse at the Animal Emergency Center. In this role, I had to learn to think and move quickly, efficiently and as part of a team. The hours could be long and grueling, but the work could be highly satisfying when lives and limbs were saved and animals returned to their families for a full recovery.
In 2003, we moved once again, this time to Fort Collins, Colorado, where I joined the staff at the National Wildlife Research Center. While there, I used my extensive experience with wildlife and exotic animals in caring for a variety of wildlife that included raccoons, coyotes and brown tree snakes. The National Wildlife Research Center is the federal institution devoted to resolving problems caused by the interaction of wild animals and people.
In 2013, I was able to combine my passion for research and my love of animals when I joined the Clinical Trials Service of the Flint Animal Cancer Center at Colorado State University’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital as a veterinary nurse and research associate.
I believe in the mission of the CSU FACC and feel the most rewarding aspect of clinical trials is knowing that the service is contributing to the treatment, and possibly the future cure, of cancer not only the hospital’s animal patients, but in human cancer patients as well.