Get to Know

Get to Know Sydney Oliveira

Sydney Oliveira and family

Sydney Oliveira, pictured above with her family, is the Program Coordinator for the Wildlife Medical Clinic.

When did you begin working at the College of Veterinary Medicine?
I began working at the College of Veterinary Medicine in February 2021 as a large animal caretaker.

Describe your role at the college.
I am the Wildlife Medical Clinic (WMC) Program Coordinator which was a newly created position that I was hired for. I oversee the education outreach program at the WMC and am working on revamping the program and making it more robust to include multiple programs geared towards students of varying ages. In the meantime, we are still providing programs to students and adults of all ages on-site and off-site, as requested.   

When I am not busy delivering outreach programs, I may be found assisting with animal care and training with our resident ambassador animals. I also provide administrative support such as ordering various items for the clinic, working with students on the WMC executive board on various projects, interacting with the college’s advancement and marketing departments on various projects, assisting with media appearances and helping to coordinator our monthly Hawk Talk newsletter, as well as assisting with other tasks and projects as needed in the clinic.

Have you held any previous titles or responsibilities at the college?
I briefly worked as the Undergraduate Program Coordinator in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering in the College of LAS.

Prior to that I worked as a large animal caretaker at the Large Animal Clinic.

During college, I worked as a laboratory animal caretaker in several buildings on the main campus during the summer.

What is your favorite part of your job?
I love getting to work with our ambassador animals and introducing them to groups of people during our outreach events. I love sharing their stories and then connecting that with what our guests can do to co-exist with nature and help wildlife.

I also thoroughly enjoy working with the veterinary students and faculty in the Wildlife Medical Clinic. It is awesome watching the students learn and grow, becoming more confident in their veterinary skills under the guidance of our awesome faculty.

Complete this sentence: My most memorable day at work was…
… hard to pick as there have been many memorable moments. I guess I will go with helping to relocate Canada goose goslings that hatched on the roof of the Basic Science Building. We safely captured the goslings and moved them down to ground level in an open grassy area. We then waited and watched as the parents flew down to their location. Once the family was reunited, they headed towards a nearby pond.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
When I am not attending my kid’s extra-curricular activities, I like to participate in outdoor activities like bird watching, hiking, bike riding, golfing, and mini golfing. I also enjoy bowling, playing board and card games, or going to escape rooms.

What is something your co-workers may be surprised to know about you?
I have a fraternal twin sister.

What is one thing on your bucket list?
There are several places I would like to travel to, with the top three being Scotland, Alaska, and the Pacific Northwest (Redwood Forests and Washington/Oregon area).

Do you have a favorite restaurant or place in the Champaign/Urbana area?
One of our favorite restaurants is Toro Loco in Urbana. We love the owner and staff; they are always friendly, and we never have to wait long for our food. Two favorite places to go in town are Old Orchard Lanes and Links as they have bowling, mini golf, and decent food and CU Adventures in Time and Space as they have some awesome, super themed escape rooms.

Aside from necessities, what one thing could you not go a day without?
Outside Time. My two boys are very active and whether it’s just playing a game of H-O-R-S-E in the driveway or going for a walk or bike ride, we almost always are outside daily. Otherwise, I would have to say caffeine, specifically Dr. Pepper.

Do you have any pets?
Yes, we have five cats, three rubber boas, and a 150-gallon freshwater fish tank.

Our cats are Momma, Ralph, Fiona, Rocky, and Olive. We never named the rubber boas, and our fish tank has an assortment of fish such as rainbow fish, bristlenose plecos, cory cats, rummy nose tetra, kuhli loach, and some snails (mystery and devil’s thorn).

Rubber Boa
Rubber Boa
Fish Tank
Fish Tank with assortment of fish and snails