Over the weekend of October 22nd and 23rd, the Non-Traditional Species Club of the College of Veterinary Medicine had its annual, online conference, Wildlife University. During this two-day event, speakers from across the University of Illinois and beyond presented various wildlife related topics. Speakers included the Wildlife Medical Clinic’s very own Drs. Sam and Will Sander as well as other faculty members of the veterinary school. Topics covered included ethics of zoo and wildlife rehabilitation, antimicrobial resistance in wildlife populations, and even marine mammal medicine to name a few.
Not only were the presentations and speakers diverse, but so were our attendees. Our conference tallied nearly 100 registered attendees; of those, half were veterinary students. We also had approximately 40 pre-veterinary students and 10 veterinary professionals. Though many participants were Illinois residents, there was a substantial amount of out-of-state and even out-of-country participants. Our attendees hailed tuned in from as far away as California, Mexico, the United Kingdom, the Caribbean, and even Australia!
Attendees also had the option of participating in a trivia night after the first day of lectures. Teams were randomly chosen and competed for prizes. Trivia questions were animal based and covered animals that were furred, feathered, and scaled. Teams also nominated an MVP on their team for further recognition.
In addition to the two days of lectures, Illinois students also had the opportunity of attending a wet lab. Led by one of the zoological medicine residents, Dr. Amanda Wong, the wet lab covered clinical skills and procedures veterinarians commonly utilize when working with wildlife and zoological species. These skills included placement of intraosseous and intravenous catheters, sex determination in reptilian and avian species, and anatomical differences between species.
On the last day of Wildlife University, attendees were treated to a career panel composed of University of Illinois veterinarians. Panelists included faculty members Drs. Sam Sander, Julia Whittington, Laura Adamovicz, Martha Delaney, and the Shedd Aquarium’s Dr. Karisa Tang. Attendees found out what it takes to become a veterinarian in the field of zoological medicine and the many different paths one can take to achieve this goal.
With such an outstanding turnout, Wildlife University 2022 was a resounding success. This event could not have happened without the hard work and efforts of the students on the Wildlife University Planning Committee as well as the many speakers who devoted their weekend to this conference. Wildlife University would also not have been possible without the assistance of Dr. Wong from the Zoological Medicine department and the Wildlife Medical Clinic itself.
If you were unable to attend this year, make sure to be on the lookout for next year’s Wildlife University!
Written by Haley Kenyon, class of 2025.