Salve Success: Taylor Cefalo ’22, volunteers at the Potter League for Animals
An animal lover at heart, Taylor Cefalo ’22 has built an impressive resume of animal welfare service. She arrived at Salve Regina having already completed a veterinary clinic internship during her senior year of high school, and she has spent the past two years volunteering for the Potter League for Animals in Middletown, Rhode Island.
Cefalo met the Potter League’s volunteer coordinator during Salve Regina’s annual service fair at the start of her sophomore year, and she joined the semester in service initiative sponsored by the Center for Community Engagement and Service, which provided transportation to the Middletown shelter each week.
While there, Cefalo helped with a variety of tasks — including kennel cleaning and dog walking, as well as socializing with cats and kittens. She then became a service advocate in her junior year and was assigned to work at the Potter League’s Spay and Neuter Clinic in Warwick, Rhode Island, which offers low-cost services for pets.
A biology major originally from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Cefalo discovered a connection between her coursework and her volunteer assignments in the hands-on skills and techniques required for both. Her animal behavior class with Dr. Heather Axen, assistant professor of biology and biomedical sciences, was especially helpful in her work as a service advocate.
“I was able to apply the skills I learned in class to my work with the animals at the clinic,” said Cefalo, who plans to apply to veterinary school after graduation.
“Taylor was enthusiastic and willing to help in any capacity,” said Cindi Martin, clinic manager. “She seemed to have a real interest in veterinary medicine and enjoyed observing and learning, too.”
Service advocates commit to 100 hours of community service with an organization over the course of the academic year. For Cefalo, her volunteer work was truly a labor of love, and she has many wonderful memories of the Potter League animals. A few of the animals—including Lexie, a dog with sweet eyes and an underbite, and Mittens, a 13-year-old cat who would sit with Cefalo and came to trust her—left an indelible mark on her heart.
“My service at the Potter League through Salve’s service advocate program has helped me in my career ambitions as I was provided an environment to apply my major course knowledge,” said Cefalo. “This program has also allowed me to grow academically and personally in compassion and mercy.”
This article was originally published in the “Report from Newport” Summer Issue 2020. There have been modifications to this article from its original form.
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