The Advanced Veterinary Academy returned to the MU College of Veterinary Medicine this week after a two-year hiatus necessitated by COVID-19. Doug Tindall, director of the program, said the academy had 11 participants this year ─ nine from Missouri, one from Illinois and one from Texas. The academy is a three-day summer program for students ages 16-19 interested in studying veterinary medicine. Through a series of lectures, labs and related activities, the students get a look at the life of veterinary students.
“We have a two-part objective,” Tindall said. “The first is for the participants to have the actual veterinary student experience in advance, in terms of both didactic and clinical experiences and interactions. It’s also to help them better prepare for college, both academic and nonacademic, to become a stronger and more competitive applicant when they apply to vet school.”
Grace Lloyd, 18, of Ellington, Missouri, will be a first-year student at Mizzou this fall majoring in animal sciences. She said she learned about the academy when she toured the CVM last fall and learned about the resources available at the college. She said the session she found most compelling was gross pathology.
“That was really interesting to me, surprisingly,” Lloyd said. “I really just liked being able to compare the healthy organ with the defective organ and being able to see this is why the animal didn’t survive.”
Wesley Martin of Kirksville, Missouri, and Josh Plessner of O’Fallon, Missouri, both 17-year-old high school seniors, said the academy exposed them to many new careers within veterinary medicine.
“I knew that there were some different veterinary pathways, but I did not know that they were to this extent,” Martin said. “All the professors and teachers we talked to, they all do different things and it’s just really cool. All of the teachers here are so in-depth and into what they do. There’s just a spark there and they all just love it.”
Plessner agreed. “I’ve always wanted to be a vet since I was younger, but I never really knew, more than just helping animals, what else goes into it and how many options you have, other than just small and large animals.”
Topics covered in the academy include the following:
- Admissions session interview preparation: Proper interview etiquette, dress, body language, eye contact and demeanor
- Anatomy: A brief instructional lecture followed by a dissection
- Career exploration: Jobs in government agencies, academia and industry
- Clinical pathology: Is it cancer, diabetes, genetic or otherwise? What is going on inside the body as revealed by what is found in blood and tissue
- Comparative medicine: Comparative diseases, viruses and ailments that affect both animals and humans
- Food animal medicine: The role of veterinarians in ensuring America’s safe beef production
- Gross pathology: How forensics applies in animal medicine
- Lecture: Participants sit in on a lecture alongside first- or second-year veterinary students
- Public health: The role veterinarians play in disease prevention, food inspection, disaster preparedness and epidemiology
- Radiology: Radiographs and their pertinence to an accurate, clinical diagnosis
- Small animal medicine: Shadow students and clinicians on rounds
- Surgery: Scrub in on a surgery alongside clinical students observing critical procedures and complex cases
- Toxicology: Is chocolate bad for dogs? What plants are harmful, possibly fatal, if ingested?
Participants were able to experience more of college life by staying in a dormitory during the academy. Evenings were spent with icebreakers and at an area entertainment center that offers activities such as go karts and miniature golf.
The Advanced Veterinary Academy’s inaugural year was 2015. Three students who took part in the first two years are currently enrolled in the MU CVM and several more are undergraduate students pursuing pre-veterinary college studies.
A photo album of this year’s academy can be found on our Facebook page.