Andrea Murr could not be more excited to come back to her alma mater as an anesthesia veterinary technician. As an undergraduate, she focused on biological science, but quickly discovered a passion for animal care through volunteer work. Even though Burlington, Iowa, is technically her hometown, NC State feels more like home.
What made you want to go into veterinary medicine?
I knew that I wanted to do something in the medical field, but I wasn’t sure exactly what. My college roommate convinced me to volunteer at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, and I realized very quickly that I wanted to make a career of working with animals.
What will you be doing in your new role?
The anesthesia techs usually have one or two cases per day where we are paired with fourth-year veterinary students in order to teach them to the point where they can safely anesthetize a patient by themselves. We are in charge of researching the patient’s history, creating an anesthetic plan and discussing it with the anesthesiologist, as well as monitoring the patient the entire time he or she is under anesthesia.
This extends to making sure the patient recovers safely and is comfortable before taking the patient back to the hospital ward. If we have a student on our case we let them research the patient, make the anesthetic plan and then go over the plan together before having the student present the case to the anesthesiologist.
What are you most excited about in your new role?
I’m really excited to learn new things every single day and be involved with every type of anesthetic case you could imagine. I am also extremely excited about teaching the fourth-year veterinary students.
What is your background?
I started volunteering at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences my junior year of college, where I ended up volunteering for more than five years. My senior year, I had a work-study job as an animal husbandry technician for NC State Laboratory Animal Resources. I graduated from NC State in 2011 with a bachelor’s in biological sciences and a Spanish minor.
I interned at the VHS Wildlife Rehabilitation Center at the North Carolina Zoo for the summer until I was offered a permanent position as a husbandry technician at NC State LAR. I worked as a veterinary assistant at an ER hospital while going to school for my veterinary technician degree. One I graduated, I became a veterinary technician in the Division of Comparative Medicine at UNC-Chapel Hill for almost three years. I have worked with a vast majority of species in all different settings, and my favorites are reptiles and raptors.
What’s something someone would be surprised to learn about you?
I played the trombone in the NC State Marching Band and basketball pep band for all four years at NC State, which is also where I met my husband. I was able to travel to other universities all over the ACC, to two different bowl games and we even marched in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin.
When you’re not on campus, where could we find you?
You could definitely find me at NC State football and basketball games, and my husband and I like to travel. I have also continued to volunteer about once a month at the VHS Wildlife Rehabilitation Center for nearly eight years since my internship.
Do you have any pets?
All three of my animals are retired research heroes I was able to work with directly. Aerielle is a beagle from NC State. She was on an ophthalmology study, then was a teaching animal for the vet students for two years. I adopted her in December 2013. Her spay was the first anesthetic procedure I had ever seen, and they let me scrub in for her surgery.
Cabernet is a cat from NC State. She was a control for a feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) behavior study, and I adopted her in April 2012. Franklin is a cat from UNC. He was a breeder for a hemophilia study and I adopted him in November 2016. All three are extremely friendly and outgoing since they were so well socialized during their very important jobs as research animals.
Visit our Department of Molecular Biology page to learn more about our anesthesia program.