Luis Padilla

Luis Padilla

Director of Animal Health


St. Louis Zoo

St. Louis, MO USA


You're going to be the happiest in the place that best aligns who you think you are with who you really want to be.

Videos

Videos

By Roadtrip Nation

Luis Padilla

Highlight
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01:44
Luis Padilla HighlightInterview Highlight
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04:17
InterviewThe Interview
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Intelligence With AnimalsWeb Exclusive
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01:14
Making a DifferenceWeb Exclusive
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What Do I Value?Web Exclusive
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Visiting An Old FriendWeb Exclusive
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More Than ObviousInterview Excerpt
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Pause All The TimeInterview Excerpt
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Working With AnimalsInterview Excerpt
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Milestones

Milestones

My road in life took a while to figure out.
Grew up in Puerto Rico and attended college in the United States.
Says that it was a rough transition-he missed his friends, his family, and Puerto Rican food.
He always knew that he wanted to work with animals; attended the veterinary school at Cornell University.
Says that veterinary school was tough; he spent eight years taking very competitive classes, and had to take out multiple loans to fulfill his dream.
While he was at Cornell, someone told him, "the best zoo in the United States is the St. Louis Zoo."
He decided to visit and was struck by how much the workers cared for the animals and their conservation in the wild.
One of his goals was to be "that guy" who could help protect an animal species from going extinct.
Says that there is always more to animals than their appearances, and the same goes for people.
Keep following my journey
Education

Education

highschool
High School
undergrad
Bachelor
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Cornell University
doctorate
Doctorate
Veterinary Sciences/Veterinary Clinical Sciences, General
Cornell University
Career

Career

Director of Animal Health

I'm responsible for managing the health and care of all our zoo animals from small birds to large mammals.

Career Roadmap

Roadmap
My work combines:
My work combines:
Environment & Nature
Environment & Nature
Science
Science
Accomplishing Goals
Accomplishing Goals

Day to Day

As the head veterinarian at the Saint Louis Zoo, I am a member and leader of the team that provides veterinary care to all the zoo's animals and to the many endangered species that the zoo aims to protect in the wild. This means monitoring them for any health problems or injuries, administering care, and overseeing the general welfare of all of the animals.

Skills & Qualities Beyond School

Having a passion for animals and valuing them is essential. Have a desire to make a difference no matter the struggles you may encounter. If you are interested in a particular area of veterinary care or specializing in the care of a particular animal, talk to the people who are experts in that to get advice and decide if that is in fact what you want to do.

Advice for Getting Started

Here's the first step for everyone

Approach all opportunities with pride and solid ethics and do your best; it may open up future doors.

Recommended Education

My career is related to what I studied. I'd recommend the path I took:

undergrad
Bachelor
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
doctorate
Doctorate
Veterinary Sciences/Veterinary Clinical Sciences, General
Hurdles

Hurdles

The Noise I Shed

From Myself:

"I don't know if the time and money it takes to do this is worth it. "

I pause all the time to question if what I was doing was the right thing. I had to constantly keep revisiting what it was that makes me happy and that was animals. The struggles made it all worth it.

Challenges I Overcame

Culture Shock
Culture Shock

I came to the US from Puerto Rico to go to college. I struggled with the language barrier and learning new customs. In the early days, I missed home a lot.

Learning Issues
Learning Issues

Veterinary school was tough; I spent eight years taking very competitive classes.

Financial
Financial

I had to take out multiple loans to fulfill his dream of completely veterinarian school.