Dr. Leticia Perez: From Sea Slug Research to Veterinary Medicine
As a veterinarian, Dr. Leticia Perez ’18 treats all sorts of creatures. But it was studying the memory of sea slugs in Dominican University’s Behavioral Neuroscience lab that put her on the path to her future career.
“I was a research assistant with the neuroscience lab for about 2.5 years and that gave me a lot of research experience,” she said. “Studying sea slugs, I gained a lot of information on how memory works. And gaining research experience helped to make my résumé stand out when I applied to veterinary school.”
Perez, who received a bachelor’s degree in biology from Dominican, completed a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Degree in 2022 and now works as a veterinarian at Morton Grove Animal Hospital in Morton Grove.
As a child, Perez knew she wanted to be a veterinarian.
“I was always interested in science and wanting to help animals—and help owners care for their animals, especially when they were sick,” she recalled. “There was a book called Hit and Run Retriever that really caught my eye. It was about a little girl who, on her way to school, would encounter animals who needed help and she would take them to the vet. It was a career that really stood out to me.”
In addition to her lab research at Dominican, Perez credits her science courses, particularly anatomy cadaver dissection, for preparing her to enter veterinary school.
“The exercise of having to memorize anatomy was helpful because it pushed me to improve my memorization,” she said. “When you are in vet school, you are thrown a lot of information at you that you need to remember.”