More than 100 pre-veterinary track students took advantage of the opportunity to hear from a diverse range of veterinary professionals, DVM admissions officials and Animal Education Unit representatives Jan. 31. The occasion was the annual networking event hosted by the Veterinary Professions Advising Center (VetPAC) at N.C. State University.
Though housed in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ Animal Science Department, VetPAC provides centralized advising on the veterinary profession and the DVM application process for all N.C. State students, regardless of their majors and colleges. Dr. Shweta Trivedi, teaching assistant professor of animal science, is the director of VetPAC.
Held at the department’s Riddick Hearth, the networking event aims “to assist freshman, sophomore and transfer pre-vets in developing connections with institutions, clinics and veterinarians, which will help them diversify their pre-vet experiences to become competitive applicants later on,” Trivedi said. “I and the VetPAC Interns have planned and organized this event each year since the inception of VetPAC in May 2010. Some pre-vet student volunteers assisted with the set up, as well.”
Among the more than 30 veterinary professionals, current DVM students and pre-vet upperclassmen on hand as presenters were representatives of: small animal, large animal and food animal veterinary practices; veterinary oncology, radiology and internal medicine; NCSU College of Veterinary Medicine faculty in veterinary genomics, neurology, ruminant medicine, equine medicine, radiology and emergency and critical care; CVM Student Services and Admissions; N.C. State Animal Education units; animal-related industries, such as APHIS, Murphy Brown, Merial and GlaxoSmithKline; Kaplan GRE (assists in graduate record examination preparation); and the N.C. State Study Abroad Office.
“We had the highest attendance in three years and the best ever diversity of exhibitors and presenters,” Trivedi said. “Response from local veterinarians registered with the N.C. Veterinary Medical Association was overwhelming; we had to turn down some, as space in Riddick turned out to be limited. Many veterinarians appreciated that pre-vets brought along resumes to hand out, as they are currently looking for kennel staff or veterinary assistants.”
The participants particularly enjoyed meeting the CVM Faculty and learning about the diverse jobs that DVMs have in academia, she noted.
The Hearth was the perfect setting for the walk-around format of the event, with tables for exhibits and displays and the many VetPAC Internship posters mounted on easels, plus the pizza and beverages enjoyed by guests.
“We had CVM faculty seated in a row with three to four seats around them, so that students could rotate speaking with them. It provided a great opportunity for the students to connect with CVM faculty and learn about their respective research or residency programs,” Trivedi said.
At the registration table, students could also pick up back copies of the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA), along with handout packets, Trivedi said.
While there, “students also signed off against their names on the VetPAC roster, and if they were not on it, they learned to create an online portfolio management account for themselves in 341 Riddick Hall (VetPAC’s physical location), where they can log in their animal and veterinary experience hours, along with curricular and extra-curricular achievements,” she said.
The networking experience is particularly valuable, because it “helps students get a head start with building connections with the right people and place to get diverse experiences,” Trivedi said. “It really helps bring all these professionals from varied aspects of veterinary medicine, such as private practice, government, industry and academia under one roof, so that students can see where veterinarians work and what their job profiles are. It is also an opportunity for me to showcase VetPAC and its pre-veterinary track students to all these veterinarians and professionals.”
Offering this VetPAC networking event each year is something Trivedi and her interns really enjoy, she said. “This one was especially nice, as our hard work and experience hosting in previous years bore fruit with 100-some students attending and the N.C. State community (Animal Education units, CVM Admissions Office) coming together to make this an enriching experience for pre-vets.” – Terri Leith