A love of animals set Jessica Fury ’19 on a path to a UNH education. Now, that same passion has her about to embark on a unique career: Fury will make her move to Santa’s Village in Jefferson, New Hampshire, to manage the park’s reindeer herd.
An animal science major in UNH’s College of Life Science and Agriculture, the Groveton, New Hampshire, native was still in high school when she realized that degree was the one she wanted. “I am the first person in my family to receive a bachelor’s degree,” she explains, “so I’ve really tried to do my best and make my family proud. I always knew I wanted to work with animals and stay in New Hampshire, so I began college at White Mountain Community College, near my family’s home, with the goal of coming to UNH for my animal science degree.”
Fury cites her opportunities to conduct hands-on work — particularly at the UNH Organic Dairy — as an essential part of her growth during her two years at UNH. Her time at on campus has been anything but boring; most recently, she’s lived in an apartment at the dairy allowing her more time to work directly with the Jersey cows she’s come to love — including one named Andie who quickly became her favorite.
“Part of my work at the dairy has been to provide care for the cows and to assist when calves are born. Andie’s calf was the first I delivered as a UNH student. I know I’m really going to miss them,” Fury says, smiling. “I’ll come visit a lot.”
Fury, who worked worked part-time at the Santa's Village during high school and between semesters in college, is grateful to the park's owners, who provided a scholarship to help fund her UNH education. “They have always been very supportive of my academic goals,” says Fury, who spent this past summer working with the park’s herd of approximately 30 reindeer. “I told them that if they had a full-time position, I would be very interested. A couple months later, the owners offered me this job. I am so excited to be developing this program and working to help make the reindeer even healthier and happier.”
“Not everybody gets such a unique opportunity, and I am so thankful UNH has helped me get this chance.”
Fury says she is also thankful for the UNH faculty who helped ensure her transition as a transfer student went so smoothly.
“UNH has taught me how to improve the welfare of animals, and I want to take what I’ve learned here and apply it to my management practices,” she says, adding, “I also hope I can help others learn about what it takes to keep animals happy and healthy.”
Her advice for future UNH students? “Definitely look for the opportunities you can get, and put in a lot of effort. It really does pay off.”
Interested in a career working with animals? See what UNH's College of Life Sciences and Agriculture has to offer.