a student with a dog
Highly disciplined Heidy Beltran Mendoza will enlist in the U.S. Army Reserves before pursuing a career as a veterinarian.

From the Animals to the Army: Future Veterinarian Heidy Beltran Mendoza

Beaufort County Early College High School graduate Heidy Beltran Mendoza has a big heart for animals. Beltran plans to join the United States Army to become a veterinarian. The fitness enthusiast finished the high school’s dual-enrollment program with Beaufort County Community College with a high school diploma, an Associate in Arts, an Associate in Science, and a Certificate in Community Spanish Interpreter.

The lifelong animal lover currently works at Pamlico Animal Hospital as a veterinary technician, a position she started to see if the field was right for her.

“I feel like just working as a vet tech does give me an advantage because I get to learn terminology,” she says. “I'm always asking questions about, like, when they're doing labs and diagnostics. I'm like, ‘What is this? What is this for?’ So I am already building my knowledge so when I go to vet school, it will be a lot more easier.”

She personally has two dogs, two cats, and ten chickens.

“We have a big coop, and we like chickens because of the eggs and how natural they are compared to the ones in the supermarket,” she says of her flock.

To further her training in veterinary medicine, Beltran will join the U.S. Army, which will send her to a college of their choosing to get trained as a veterinarian so she can work with the dogs in their service. While waiting for admission into the veterinary program, she plans to join the U.S. Army Reserves.

“I feel like the hardest part would probably be leaving behind family and friends,” she says, “but also, I wanted to travel the world. Seeing different parts would be nice.”

Her family is supportive of her enlisting. “My parents think it's a great way of going about it. I have a cousin that's in the army, but he's part of the reserves. He says that it really helped out with his confidence and building up his mindset.”

She picked up the Community Spanish Interpreter Certificate after seeing a need for it at the veterinary clinic. “Getting the Spanish certificate helped me learn more vocabulary and medicine, and they use me a lot to interpret, and sometimes the terms that they use are different in Spanish and English so being able to translate is better for Hispanic owners. It makes it easier for them.”

Interpreting at work is not the only way her communication skills have grown. Through her role as a BCCC ambassador, she has had to learn to talk to different types of people. The same applies for taking college classes with a diverse population.

“It's a little bit different because there's more older people in there,” she says of her classes. “It was just interesting for me to see like, hey, they can also have an education and just being able to actually talk to them and see how that is.”

As much as she is dedicated to her pets, Beltran is also dedicated to her fitness. “That also is why I wanted to go into the army, because I like to work out, and I know they had intense trainings. I really like it because whenever I’m having tough days, it kind of just clears my mind and makes me feel better.”

This personal discipline flows through all aspects of her life. Her mother always emphasized being organized, and growing up interpreting for her parents has helped to mature her, and it is apparent to her coworkers.

“I definitely had to mature a little bit quicker than everybody else at work,” she says. “I'm like, I'm 18, and they think I'm like 25.”

This maturity has meant that she has laid the groundwork for future success. With two degrees and a certificate in her pocket, work experience, communication skills, and discipline, Beltran is ready report for duty in service to her country and its animals.

Beaufort CCC will offer Certified Veterinary Assistant starting August 15 through the Division of Continuing Education. This class is eligible for the Beaufort Promise Scholarship for qualifying students. Students can register now for all college credit and short-term training courses, including the Community Spanish Interpreter program.