15 University of Delaware students studying in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences (ANFS) recently took a trip to Johns Hopkins University to hear Mark Pokras, an associate professor in the Department of Environmental Population and Health and at the Wildlife Clinic & Center for Conservation Medicine at the Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, speak about opportunities available to them in the veterinary science field.
Erin Brannick, assistant professor in ANFS, director of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) Comparative Pathology Laboratory and a veterinary pathologist, went on the trip with the students and said that Pokras, “Offered invaluable insight into the wide array of career options open to veterinarians. More importantly, the speaker emphasized the flexibility of a career in veterinary medicine, indicating how important it is for students to be open to changes in career aspirations and paths which can be shaped and reshaped by the students’ pre-veterinary and veterinary experiences.”
Laura Nemec, the laboratory coordinator in ANFS, who also went on the trip said that it was great for the students to learn about all the opportunities afforded to those with veterinary degrees and to see that there are more options out there than just the three most common veterinary practices: small animal practice, large animal practice and food animal practice.
“There is wildlife conservation, there are public health aspects, aquatic and marine aspects and regulatory aspects, it is huge what you can do with a veterinary degree,” said Nemec.
Nemec said that she was glad to see a wide range of students, from freshman up to seniors, go on the trip because it benefitted them all in different ways. “Our juniors and seniors were able to benefit from the procedural aspects of applying to veterinary schools and our freshman and sophomores were able to get a glimpse into the vast realm of veterinary medicine,” said Nemec.
Nemec added that it was great for the freshman, who may have come into college only looking to study small or large animals as undergraduates, to see the different opportunities afforded to them. “At the college level we are opening their minds to small, large and food animal practices, but at the vet school level they realize that these three practices are just the tip of the iceberg.”
Nemec said that Pokras also spoke to the students about funding opportunities to help them pay for vet school, application and interviewing tips, and interesting career opportunities—such as working as a veterinarian in the Army—once the students complete vet school. “Dr. Pokras was a fantastic speaker and was able to encourage and engage the students in discussions throughout the time we were there,” said Nemec.
Jesse Kovacs, a sophomore in CANR, said of the trip, “After attending Dr. Pokras’ lecture, I realized just how many options I had available to me. I had always thought of veterinary school as a way to become a small animal vet, a large animal, or an exotics vet. He demonstrated how many other jobs were out there for someone who had attended vet school.”
Ashley Tait, a sophomore in CANR, echoed these sentiments, saying that she was “amazed at how many options there were besides being a large and small animal veterinarian. Joining the military, working in public health fields, or working for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), all encompass jobs with veterinarians.” She also added that Pokras made it clear that if you do not get accepted into veterinary school right away, to keep applying yourself and to not give up. “Become more experienced and diversify yourself, until you are accepted and make your dreams come true.”
Article by Adam Thomas