General News

ISVMA Mixes Food, Fun in Student Event

Students and members of the ISVMA DEI committee pose in the college atrium

On a wet and chilly April day, more than two dozen Illinois veterinary students gathered in the atrium of the Basic Sciences Building for a hot lunch and warm friendship. The lunch was hosted by the Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee. Five ISVMA members and executive director Debbie Lakamp greeted the arriving students with smiles, a highlighter marker, and a copy of a DEI bingo card.

“We had the idea for this social mixer when our committee first formed a few years back,” said Dr. Amanda Hampton (IL DVM 2013). “At that time, during the pandemic, we knew students really needed to feel a sense of connection.”

Dr. Hampton co-chairs the ISVMA DEI committee with Dr. Shannon Greeley (IL DVM 1994). The goal of the event, they said, is to connect students with each other, as well as with the ISVMA.

Learning about ISVMA

The first order of business was to learn a bit about what ISVMA can offer those who choose to practice veterinary medicine in Illinois, including the career-building Power of Ten program focused on new practitioners. Dr. Hampton also described how the DEI committee helps veterinary practices implement inclusive philosophies and also conducts outreach to high school students from groups that are underrepresented in the veterinary profession.

The co-chairs and other ISVMA hosts—Drs. Martha Armour (IL DVM 1987), Simuel Hampton (IL DVM 2012), and Laura Reynolds (IL DVM 2018)—each had a chance to introduce themselves and describe their careers in veterinary medicine. These ranged from being in a single-person practice in the Chicago area to being a small animal associate at a Danville, Ill., practice, to being fully retired from practice ownership in Springfield, Ill.

Student winner of the rocketbook with Dr. Shannon Greeley

The rest of the mixer was devoted to devouring food from Schwarma Joint, getting to know others at their tables via the bingo game, and snagging t-shirts and gift cards.

Asked what the appeal was for coming to the mixer, students at one table agreed that they recognize the value that ISVMA provides, and the free food was also a draw. Free membership in the organization had also been an offer they didn’t refuse.

Before heading back to class, the name of one lucky student was drawn at random for a giveaway of a reusable notebook called a Rocketbook, donated by Dr. Greeley. Then the students and ISVMA members posed for a group photo.