College of Agriculture

Savanna LaPant

Animal Science

When asked the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” children often spout answers that will shift with time. For animal science major Savanna LaPant, her answer was unwavering.

“Since kindergarten, I always had a love for science and animals and knew I had this dream to become a veterinarian,” she said. 

Growing up, her passion for animals and career aspiration have not ceased. Today, LaPant, a senior, can humbly say she is following this dream after recently accepting admission to attend the University of California, Davis School of Veterinary Medicine this fall. This accomplishment sets the stage for her to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps after he graduated from the same program in 1959.

LaPant grew up in Chico riding horses, and her love for animals flourished on her grandparents’ ranch where they raised livestock. Following her 2015 graduation from Pleasant Valley High School, this passion led her to Chico State, where both of her parents are proud alumni. Her mother, Laurie, received her degree in accounting and her father, Todd, in engineering.

Close to her family and offering new experiences in agriculture, LaPant said that choosing Chico was the best decision she ever made.

“It’s nothing like I expected or like you see in movies,” she said of the College of Agriculture. “The faculty here want to know you and give you the resources to succeed. It’s like a family.”

With this opportunity to foster relationships with faculty, LaPant has had the opportunity to take part in unique research projects alongside faculty. Animal science professor Celina Phillips provided one of these opportunities. This past fall semester, LaPant began a study to discover the effects of vitamin E on blood serum immunoglobulin antibody levels in neonatal lambs when administered by injection. The results of this experiment will be presented this summer.

As a mentor and academic advisor, Phillips has supported and encouraged LaPant since her freshman year.

“She’s been a great influence on me academically. She has listened every time I change my mind about classes, and she constantly checks in on me,” LaPant said.

Phillips shares similar praise.

“I’ve gotten to form a relationship with Savanna through classes and research, and she’s been outstanding,” she said. “For vet school, my advice for her is to keep on trucking but take time to relax and enjoy the process. I know she will excel at UC Davis.”

In addition to Phillips, Interim Associate Dean and Professor Patrick Doyle, and Professor Kasey DeAtley have been influential mentors for the animal science major.

“Savanna is one of those students who reminds me why I got into teaching in the first place. She has a strong work ethic and has always looked for ways to improve her experiences as she approaches graduation and a career in veterinary medicine,” Doyle said. “She is a shining example of what an animal science major from Chico State is.”

Throughout her educational career, LaPant has completed multiple internships. She has worked for Erickson Veterinary Hospital and Valley Oak VCA, and continues her employment with Darling Veterinary Clinic caring for large and small animal species. In addition, she has volunteered at the Manger Clinic with the Jesus Center of Chico for numerous years to help care for the pets of people experiencing homelessness.

LaPant currently serves as the president of the Pre-Veterinary Club and encourages hopeful pre-vet majors to take advantage of the opportunities the club presents. Through interactive meetings, guest speakers from veterinary schools, and networking with local clinics and industry professionals, the club helps students prepare to enter veterinary school.

When she’s not studying or working at the veterinary hospital, LaPant enjoys hiking, riding her horse Bella, playing with her dog Ellie, and spending time with family and fiancé, Isaak. Through her successes, she emphasizes the credit due to her family and says that they have supported her every step of the way, making her the person she is today.