Perseverance Leads to Success for Ross DVM


North Brunswick, NJ - November 10, 2010 - Ross alumnus Frank Scandaglia, DVM ’93, owner of Island Bird Cat & Dog Veterinary Group in Staten Island, NY, was recently featured in The Staten Island Advance for his work caring for the pets of the local community.

Not one to seek out the limelight, Scandaglia is simply happy doing what he always dreamed of doing—working as a veterinarian in his own practice.

“My dad was a big influence on me. He was into animals and birds and he encouraged us to have pets, so I fell in love with animals at a young age and thought it would be great if I could become a veterinarian one day,” he said.

When it came time to think about veterinary school, however, Scandaglia ran into some resistance.

“I went to Wagner College, and was basically told by some of my counselors to give up on the idea, that it was too difficult and I should just open up a pet store. It was actually one of my professors, Dr. Walter Kanzler, who encouraged me to persevere and follow my dream,” he explained.

So, Scandaglia applied to US veterinary schools and got on the waitlist at Mississippi State University, but taking a break wasn’t something he was interested in, so he decided to look into Ross.

“I had heard about Ross already, and then I ran into Dr. Mark Salemi ’87, who happened to be one of the first Ross veterinary school graduates. So I picked his brain and he told me all about Ross and by the end of the conversation I had decided to apply,” he explained.

 “Going to Ross was definitely a culture shock,” he continued. “I had never been outside of Brooklyn, so you can imagine how I felt. But there were a few upperclassmen who immediately introduced themselves and showed us around the island. That really helped a lot.”

According to Scandaglia, the education he received at Ross was “excellent.”

“I learned a lot from going to Ross. The professors were wonderful and I came to love St. Kitts. It wasn’t until sometime later, however, that I realized that those two years were the best of my life as far as experiences are concerned. I met a lot of different people from all over the world and the US and made friendships that will last a lifetime. If given the choice now, I would go to Ross over any vet school in the US.”

Throughout Scandaglia’s life, his willingness to persevere has opened the doors of opportunity—first at vet school, and later in private practice.

“I own this practice, but there’s a story behind that as well,” he said. “When I was a teenager, I would go to the local animal hospital in my neighborhood and ask if there were any openings and they would say no. But I kept pestering them and eventually I asked if they needed any volunteers and they said yes.  And through that I developed a relationship with the practice owner and he knew that I wanted to be a vet, and one day I asked him if I become a vet one day, would he give me a job? And he said yes. And then we continued to nurture our relationship and eventually I asked if we could open a practice together and I could become a partner, and he said absolutely. That’s how this practice was started, back in ’97.”

According to Scandaglia, prospective veterinary students can learn something from his story.

“I tell my staff, the ones who want to be veterinarians, not to give up,” he said. “They say, I only have a 3.0, I’ll never make it. I tell them you don’t have to be a genius. Just persist and apply to Ross. But once you’re in, it’s up to you to make sure that you stay there. You have to keep up with the curriculum, you have to study. You have to remember why you went to Ross – to be a veterinarian.”

He continued, “I think Ross is a wonderful school. It gave me a tremendous opportunity to fulfill my dream to become a veterinarian, and I think it has the same potential for anyone else who is willing to give what it takes as well.”

About Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine
Ross University is a provider of medical and veterinary education, offering doctor of medicine and doctor of veterinary medicine degree programs. Founded in 1982 and located in St. Kitts, the School of Veterinary Medicine is affiliated with 22 AVMA-accredited US veterinary schools where students complete their clinical year.  The School of Medicine is located in Dominica, West Indies, with clinical education centers in Saginaw, MI, Miami, FL, and The Bahamas.

Ross University’s administrative offices are located in North Brunswick, NJ. For more information about Ross University, visit or call 732.509.4600/877.ROSS.EDU.


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