Faculty Spotlight: Meri Durand

Veterinary Technician instructor named 2020–2021 SCNAVTA Advisor of the Year

Meri DuRand, CVT, RLATG, an instructor in the Veterinary Technician program at Dakota County Technical College, has been named 2020–2021 SCNAVTA Advisor of the Year by the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA).

“I am beyond humbled to have been nominated, let alone been given the award,” Meri said. “I am so grateful to those that nominated me and felt I deserved the award. I love being our SCNAVTA advisor and encouraging the students to be engaged volunteers.”

Having a NAVTA Student Chapter (SCNAVTA) at DCTC gives the college’s Vet Tech students professional opportunities to:

  • Plan activities that promote veterinary technology
  • Give back to the community through volunteer efforts
  • Hold an elected office
  • Follow a constitution
  • Set a budget

According to NAVTA: “Involvement in these activities while in school fosters the development of leaders within the veterinary technology profession.”

More about SCNAVTA Advisor of the Year recognition…¹

The SCNAVTA advisor has been instrumental in promoting veterinary technology, demonstrating dedication to the student chapter, motivating and supporting the chapter, and demonstrating good leadership while serving as a role model for students.

The SCNAVTA Advisor of the Year is Meri DuRand, CVT, RLATG, from Dakota County Technical College. As the dean of the program wrote in Meri’s nomination: “Meri worked tirelessly to promote the field of veterinary technology, despite the significant challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Meri spearheaded activities to increase SCNAVTA membership among the program’s large student population, which is predicted to surpass 200 in the upcoming academic year. She emphasized the need to build a sense of community among the members at the same time that she led numerous efforts aimed at giving back to the greater community.

The dean further wrote: “Meri displays all the best qualities of an excellent technical educator: a passion for her profession, a devotion to sharing her knowledge with others, and a high expectation that her students will take their role as students seriously.”

More about Meri…

Meri DuRand began teaching in the Veterinary Technician program at DCTC in January 2018. She graduated from Globe University in 2011 and began working at Research Animal Resources (RAR) at the University of Minnesota the same year.

“Biomedical research has been my life since 2011,” Meri reported. “I have been a certified veterinary technician (CVT) since 2013. I also have my Registered Laboratory Animal Technologist certification (RLATG).”

Meri volunteers with the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA) and serves as the state representative for the Minnesota Association of Veterinary Technicians (MAVT).

Meri DuRand, CVT, RLATG

Teaching philosophy

“I definitely like to give my students hands-on training. I help them learn from my experience in school and at work. I teach my students what to expect in their careers. I give them the knowledge they need to avoid mistakes they don’t need to make.”

Best thing about teaching

“I want to be a positive light for my students and help mold them into successful vet techs. I love being able to see them learn and do something they’ve never done before.”

Meri DuRand, CVT, RLATG
Veterinary Technician Program
Dakota County Technical College

“I’m the secretary for the Society of Laboratory Animal Veterinary Technicians (SLAVT),” Meri added, “and a member of the Minnesota branch of the American Association of Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS).”

In 2018, Meri was named Minnesota Association of Veterinary Technicians (MAVT) Veterinary Technician of the Year. In 2019, she was named Minnesota AALAS Technologist of the Year.

Originally from Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota, Meri graduated from Simley High School, Class of 2003. She and her fiancé, Troy, will be married on September 25 of this year. Meri and Troy have one daughter, Shelby, 4, and one son Axel, 3.

In her free time, Meri enjoys drag racing, attending car shows, crafting, and fishing with her husband. Meri and her family reside in Inver Grove Heights.

New Vet Tech area on DCTC campus

“We are so excited to be on the Rosemount campus!” Meri DuRand reported. “We have a newly designed space in the west wing that includes three lab rooms, two surgical suites, two X-ray rooms and and animal kennel space. We will house cats, dogs and rodents on campus during the semester. With our new space, we will be able to accommodate more students and help more animals from local rescues in Minnesota.”

Watch for the upcoming story on DCTC News…

Meri DuRand Q & A

Meri DuRand, CVT, RLATG

Why did you choose the veterinary technology field as your career path?

In the beginning of my adolescence, I wanted to be a veterinarian. I soon found that I didn’t have the dedication for the amount of schooling required. I saw that veterinary technology was an option and decided to give it a try. I wanted to work with animals and knew this path gave me the option. The great thing about being technician is that we get to do all the fun, hands-on things.

What do you like best about your role as veterinary technician instructor?

I love being a mentor for the future technicians. I love being able to teach my passion to someone else that has the same values for animals and help them create their own successful path in the field.

What is the most rewarding aspect of working with animals?

Working with animals is a gift and blessing. Animals show us that there are beings in this world that show true love and kindness. We as the veterinary staff are there to be the voice for the animals especially when they are most in need of help.

Three words that describe you as a veterinary technician instructor:

What is the most challenging aspect of working with animals?

One challenge working with animals is that we in a sense speak different languages and this requires us to do more in depth research on how to help them. Some animals can be hard to handle, but its not impossible and you just need to take your time.

What advice would you give students thinking about majoring in Veterinary Technology?

For those interested in the field know that there is a lot of math and science involved. There are parts of the job that are not glamorous, and we don’t just play with puppies and kittens all day. ?

If the field really intrigues you, reach out to a local clinic and see if they are open to allowing you to shadow a technician for a day in the clinic. There may be limitations due to COVID, but it doesn’t hurt to ask. It is a fast-paced environment and we are on our feet a lot.

What person has influenced you the most in life and why?

My parents have been very influential in my life, and I’ve always wanted to make them proud. One of my mentors in the veterinary field is Julie Legred. She is an incredible technician and wonderful mentor. She was someone who influenced me to be a more active volunteer.

Where do you see yourself in 20 years?

In 20 years, I hope to be looking forward to retirement in a few years, have kids finishing college and have made a substantial impact on the veterinary technology field. I hope to have been a positive mentor for many technicians and have given sound support to help them advance their careers.

One word that best describes your experience at DCTC:


More about the Veterinary Technician program…

The veterinary technician is a key component of the animal healthcare team. Veterinary technicians perform medical tests under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian to assist in diagnosing injuries and illnesses of animals. Veterinary technicians are able to perform vital tasks, including:

  • Evaluating an animal’s condition
  • Collecting and evaluating biological samples
  • Educating clients on nutrition and behavior
  • Administering and monitoring anesthesia

The Veterinary Technician program at DCTC will prepare you to care for animals at veterinary clinics as well as in animal research and wildlife rescue. The program provides opportunities for hands-on learning in pharmacology, surgical preparation and animal care—all skills you’ll need to launch your career in the veterinary technology field.

HESI Assessment Exam

The Veterinary Technician program requires that students take the HESI Assessment exam. Visit HESI Assessment Exam to learn more about:

  • Test dates
  • Times
  • Locations
  • Preparation materials
  • Instructions on how to create an account and pay for the exam
Once the exam fee has been paid, you must contact the Testing Center to indicate the exam date.


A certified veterinary technician has passed the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE) given by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB).

AVMA CVTEA accreditation

The Veterinary Technician program is accredited by the AVMA CVTEA as a program for educating veterinary technicians.

Meri DuRand 12 Answers

  1. Favorite sport or physical activity: I really enjoy taking my kids for walks in the neighborhood.
  2. Place you would most like to visit: Ireland or Hawaii
  3. The most exciting thing you’ve ever done: Drag-raced my car and given birth to two children
  4. Three things you would do if you won a $1 billion lottery: 1) Pay off my debt 2) Buy a 67 Shelby GT500 KR 3) Take a long relaxing vacation with my family
  5. Favorite TV show you’re watching now: RuPaul’s Drag Race
  6. Time period you would explore if you could time travel: 1950s
  7. One thing you most want to accomplish in life: Make my kids proud and help them be amazing
  8. Your national bird if you were your own country: Hyacinth macaw
  9. Dream occupation: Top fuel drag racer
  10. Person you would most like to meet: Chip Foose
  11. Skill you would most like to learn and master: Pin-striping cars
  12. Most important issue or problem facing humankind: Environmental degradation
Learn more about the Veterinary Technician program at DCTC by contacting:

Nicole Nieman, CVT
Vet Tech Program Director & Faculty

Meri DuRand, CVT, RLATG
VTEC TPT Faculty

Jonathan O’Hara
Academic and Financial Aid Advisor


Veterinary Technologists and Technicians

Perform medical tests under the supervision of a veterinarian.


Median: $18.33/hour
High: $21.19/hour

Seven-county Twin Cities metro

Median: $18.73/hour
High: $22.20/hour


In Minnesota, there are 3,200 workers employed in this small career. This career is currently in very high demand and seeing very high growth compared to other careers. Growth rate in Minnesota is 19 percent and well above the statewide average.

There will be a need for about 3,013 new Veterinary Technologists and Technicians to meet market demand between 2018–2028. This includes the demand due to replacement (workers leaving the occupation or retiring) as well as growth.

Where do Veterinary Technologists and Technicians most often work?
Minnesota State CAREERwise Education