Ag Discovery students visit college

Ag Discovery group

Ag Discovery students participate in a bandaging workshop in the clinical techniques laboratory at the UFCVM on June 16. (Photo by Sarah Carey)

A group of 19 teenagers learned about careers in veterinary medicine and toured the UF Veterinary Hospitals June 16 during the 14th consecutive Ag Discovery Program sponsored by Florida A & M University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The 2-4 week summer boarding program provides middle and high school students with exposure to various career fields in animal science and related areas, including a variety of industries, laboratories, and to the UF College of Veterinary Medicine. Lectures and hands-on learning opportunities are provided at the college in order to give the students greater familiarity with different animal species and opportunities in veterinary medicine.

Accompanied by their leaders, FAMU’s Dr. Glen Wright, director of veterinary technology at FAMU and a UF CVM alumnus, and Dr. Keawin Sarjeant, a professor of animal sciences and representatives from the college’s Office for Students and Instruction, the students, in matching t-shirts and most toting backpacks, spent a full day at the college.

After being greeted by Dr. Pam Ginn, associate dean for students and instruction, pre-veterinary advisor Brandi Phillips provided an update on what it takes to get into veterinary school. The group then headed to the clinical techniques laboratory to take part in a bandaging workshop led by veterinary care technician Jennifer Laffey.

Following that experience, the students moved into the Large Animal Hospital area to the treadmill room, where they were able to learn more about the equine performance analysis laboratory. Biological scientist Brett Rice led that presentation, discussing the way the laboratory is used to provide valuable information about horse health as well as the progression of drugs in a horse’s system. He then provided a high-speed treadmill demonstration with a horse.

Ag Discovery student

An Ag Discovery student pets a horse that would soon be used in a treadmill demonstration held for the student group on June 16. (Photo by Sarah Carey)

Dr. Julia Conway, director of veterinary medical admissions, spoke to the group about career directions in the veterinary profession. Her talk was followed by lunch and a hospital tour let by student ambassadors Cleon Hendricks and Jennifer Gray.

In the afternoon, Dr. Darryl Heard, associate professor of small animal clinical sciences and zoological medicine service chief, gave an overview of zoo medicine activities and the ways in which students in the UF veterinary program are exposed to the special needs of wildlife and exotic animals.

Dr. Amanda House, clinical associate professor of large animal clinical sciences, led the group’s last learning opportunity with a discussion on “Equine ER: Life as a Large Animal Vet.”

“The visit to the UF veterinary college is usually a student favorite,” Wright said. “This trip exposes the students to something they have never experienced. I think this trip motivated many of them to further explore veterinary medicine as a career option.”

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