August 25, 2023
Story by Jens Odegaard
Photos by SVE Mentors
For a dozen years running, high school juniors and seniors from across the state (and a few from beyond) have spent a week immersed in the day-to-day at the Carlson College of Veterinary Medicine during the Summer Veterinary Experience. This July 31 through August 4, 27 students from Oregon and one each from Washington and California attended.
The SVE is open to all students but has a particular aim at reaching “students from low-income backgrounds, underrepresented identities in the veterinary field, and first-generation college students,” said Tess Collins, assistant dean for admissions and first-year experience and SVE director. This year, 10 full scholarships were provided to students from these backgrounds, and “we would love to offer more in future years with additional program sponsorship!” Collins said.
Through the SVE, high schoolers gain an inside perspective on the veterinary field as a whole and the different roles and opportunities within the career path. “The goal of the program is to provide an opportunity for high school students to learn more about veterinary medicine in a hands-on manner and to show them that going to college is an achievable goal. We try to provide a variety of perspectives from current vet students, staff and faculty members, and other folks who work in veterinary medicine outside of our college,” Collins said. “While we hope that the participants will pursue veterinary medicine in some capacity, we want them to make an educated decision and this is a great first step in learning more about the field.” Program sponsors and partners include Banfield Pet Hospital, Zoetis, Wilvet and Dechra.
The week opened with a welcome dinner on Sunday with families and a tour of Magruder Hall, which houses the college and its teaching hospital, followed by team building activities. Monday through Thursday the cohort participated in labs and presentations on anatomy, bandaging, clinical pathology, parasitology, clinical skills, physical exam and orthopedics, radiology, necropsy, lameness, surgical skills, suturing skills, career panel, mentor panel, college admissions and small animal rehabilitation. On Friday, they shared what they learned with family and friends at a wrap-up lunch.
Near the end of the week, SVE attendee Isabella Juarez from Adrienne C. Nelson High School in Happy Valley, Oregon shared what stood out to her: “I think seeing the full scope of everything. We’re almost done, but there's still so much more to the veterinary field that I didn't even know about.”
As part of the SVE, Juarez and her fellow attendees took part in a small animal rehabilitation demonstration led by Sara Short, certified veterinary technician and certified canine rehabilitation practitioner. “The [tech] doing the rehab with the water stuff started going more in depth about the difference between a vet tech and a veterinarian,” Juarez said. “I just thought that was really interesting because I've tried to figure out the difference and that really helped clarify.”