Making a Difference: Melanie Hollis

​​​​​Growing up in South Central Los Angeles, Melanie Hollis didn’t envision a career in veterinary medicine that ultimately brought her to the Dallas College Cedar Valley Campus. But a family visit to Riverside, California changed her perspective and the course of her life.

“Back in the ‘60s and ‘70s, Riverside was a lot more rural,” she noted. “It was the first time I saw cows, chickens and companion animals other than dogs and cats. There were no kids around, so I spent all my time outside with all the animals. I loved every minute of it.”

That exposure translated to nearly four decades in veterinary medicine, including the last six years as a primary instructor for the distance learning veterinary technology program based at Cedar Valley where she earned her first degree after moving to Texas.

“Way before online learning became a big thing after the pandemic started, we were already doing it here,” Hollis said. “We have a limited number of spots for our on-campus program, so distance learning gives us the opportunity to serve more students wherever they may be located.”

During Women’s History Month in March, Hollis was featured on social media by MedVet, a leading group of specialty and emergency animal hospitals around the United States, including three in Dallas/Fort Worth.

“I was so honored they chose me for this spotlight,” she said. “We actively partner with MedVet for the benefit of our students – whether it’s giving them hands-on experience, helping to coordinate their certification programs or assisting with job placement. We have an incredible number of Dallas College students and graduates who work with MedVet across the country. They have been a strong supporter of our veterinary technology program.”

“As a person who is new to my role with Dallas College, it is gratifying to see faculty such as Melanie who are being recognized for their service and dedication on behalf of students in our Health Sciences programs,” said Dr. Tetsuya “Ume” Umebayashi, vice provost of the School of Health Sciences. “This aligns with my vision of quality instruction that results in good jobs for our students.”

Hollis coordinates with the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine to give students the opportunity to gain hands-on experience with their veterinary cardiologists, which she described as “a great learning experience for students, who are always excited to participate.”

As Hollis further explained during the ”Scrub Chat” Apple podcast in March 2020, she relates to her students by explaining that her journey isn’t all that different from theirs.

“Just when you think you can’t do it, look at me…I am not a 4.0 GPA. I did the best I could do. I graduated from this program, and now I’m teaching in this program,” Hollis added. “You guys can do that, too.”

Or, in the words of one of her mentors: “Find what feeds your soul. Find what makes you happy.”