They heard about heartworms, sewed sutures, did dissections and analyzed animal anatomy. This summer, during the last week of June, 35 teens had the opportunity to visit N.C. State University and find out what modern-day veterinary medicine is all about.
The 9th-11th graders were participants in VetCAMP, a five-day summer camp envisioned and hosted by Dr. Shweta Trivedi, director of the Veterinary Professions Advising Center (VetPAC) in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS). The camp’s objective was to give the high-school students insight about careers in veterinary medicine and the many opportunities within the field, treating animals great and small – be they companion or farm animals, avian, exotic or wildlife.
Campers came not only from North Carolina, but also Virginia, Georgia and New Jersey, according to Trivedi, who also is a teaching assistant professor in the CALS Department of Animal Science. “Our camp counselors were all N.C. State Pre-Vet students, who did a fabulous job in planning, as well as assisting with the camp. Many of them took lead in mentoring the campers,” she said.
Among those counselors were Anna McKain, Laura Whisenant, Jessica Pritchett, Kelsey Lohman, Heather Brown, Abriana Johnson, Jessica Portela — all animal science majors – along with zoology majors Danielle Lindquist, Brooke Griff and Ashley Kirby.
They led the campers in activities that included learning the basics of a small animal clinic and a suture lab, as well as a behind-the-scenes tour of NCSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM), a trip to the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences and a tour of the university’s swine unit and equine unit, while Trivedi introduced the group to the VetPAC program.
The campers particularly enjoyed the superficial muscles lab at the equine unit and the swine husbandry and weighing of piglets at the swine education unit, Trivedi said.
At a day of CVM-hosted events, the students heard about vet school admissions and got a facilities tour led by Johanna Donovan, CVM assistant director of student services and multicultural affairs. Dr. Sandy Albright of Raleigh’s Crossroads Veterinary Hospital presented an introduction to veterinary surgery, followed by a suture lab led by CVM student Chris Bidwell, Surgery Club president.
Trivedi also lectured and led a veterinary anatomy basics lab, in which campers performed dissections of a pig heart and lungs.
All sessions were designed to meet different educational and developmental levels, and to challenge and stimulate students in innovative, fun and exciting ways. The cost of the camp was $300, which included meals, the field trips, workshop materials, entertainment and numerous giveaways. Along with their applications, interested high-school students were asked to send a resume, transcript and essay explaining their interest in the camp.
“This was one of the first ever VetCAMPs for high schoolers at CALS or N.C. State, to my knowledge,” said Trivedi about the in-depth, hands-on experiences the campers took part in. “The evaluations are overwhelmingly positive.” – Terri Leith