For Hermiston native Dr. Elisha Johnson, it was never a question of “if” she would be a veterinarian, but when.

Johnson, the daughter of Annette and Jeff Adkins of Hermiston, said she knew from the time she was a little girl she wanted to help animals.

Both parents said they were proud to see their daughter as she walked across the stage at the recent graduation ceremonies.

“It was amazing,” Jeff Adkins said. “It was the culmination of a lot of hard work.”

Even at 12, Elisha had already sparked an interest by shadowing a veterinarian.

“It seemed like there was a lot to learn,” she said in a phone interview on Wednesday.

By 15, she had her sights set on becoming a veterinarian.

By the time she graduated from Hermiston High School, she had accumulated 60 college credits. If that wasn’t an indication she would continue to excel, a doctorate in veterinary medicine handed to the 25-year-old on June 16 was proof.

She received a full-ride scholarship to Eastern Oregon University, where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biology in three years through an accelerated program. She then enrolled at Oregon State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and received partial scholarships.

Today, Johnson will marry her college sweetheart, Charles Johnson, of Coeur d’alene, Idaho, in Hermiston. She will then begin her career as a veterinarian at the Associated Walla Walla Medical Center in mid-August.

Johnson credits her mentors during her youth to continued education and plans to mentor youth in the field once settled as a vet in Walla Walla.

“I had always planned to come back to Eastern Oregon and Washington,” she said.

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