Veterinary Students Seek Summer Adventures at Home and
From capturing rhinos on the African veld to capturing an industry in
a moment of rapid change, Illinois veterinary students spent last summer
in varied and exciting ways.
Kjersten Holm managed to fit a marathon in Alaska into her fourth-year
rotation schedule. On June 19 she walked 26.2 miles near Anchorage for
the Leukemia Society of America to raise awareness and funds. She walked
in honor of a 7-year-old boy in Bloomington, Illinois, and raised nearly
Robertson-Prado and Chris Welch learned about conservation, wildlife translocation
and management, wildlife diseases and pathology, and more from two wildlife
veterinarians at the Parados Game Ranch in South Africa. The two-week course
involved lectures as well as captures of rhino, sable, and hippos and visits
to various wildlife habitats.
At right, Chris Welch holds an IV bag as Elizabeth Robertson-Prado
assists the veterinarian teaching the course in locating a rhino's vein.
“This course broadened and revitalized my interest in wildlife medicine
and conservation as a viable career option,” says Robertson-Prado. She
notes that classes such as this one also have value in preparing for an
Agnes Van Volkenburgh also crossed an ocean this summer. She organized
workshops at Poland’s veterinary colleges and visited animal shelters in
her native Poland in an effort to promote spaying and neutering of companion
animals. Pet sterilization is uncommon in Poland because of social taboos
against it, but pet overpopulation is rampant. Van Volkenburgh arranged
to bring Dr. Lisa Howe, Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine; Terry
Paik, Veterinarians for World Animal Health; and David Dawson, president
of Student American Veterinary Medical Association to Warsaw, Lublin, and
Olsztyn to speak and to demonstrate the procedures. She received funding
from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation Frontiers for Veterinary Medicine,
Hills, and Ralston Purina.
Probst, above, and her sister ate a lot of mac and cheese as they camped
out during their interviewing odyssey.
Like Van Volkenburgh, Sarah Probst designed a project with broad implications
but an origin close to her heart. Raised on a pig farm, Probst wanted to
explore the role of veterinarians within the family farm in today’s volatile
agricultural market. She and her sister Emily, a journalism student, spent
two months traveling through the Midwest and conducting nearly 100 interviews
with veterinarians and their clients. The results of their efforts have
direct implications for the production medicine training given at the College.
“So much is changing right now in agriculture, and food animal veterinarians
are having to reassess their role,” says Probst. “The chant we heard over
and over again was ‘Understand business and marketing.’ ” An elective course
on agri-business in development for the spring semester and business-related
programming in the Production Medicine Club are two ways Probst’s findings
are being acted on now.