Gator Vet Camp offers veterinary medical career insights to diverse group

Bandaging techniques

Students got a primer in bandaging techniques during time spent in the college’s Clinical Skills Lab. (Photo by Sarah Carey)

Forty rising 10th, 11th and 12th graders resided on the University of Florida campus for six days and five nights, participating in various activities that allowed them to explore veterinary medicine, evaluate their skills, and gain mentorship by current DVM students, who also served as counselors.

The occasion for their visit was the second annual Gator Vet Camp, and by all accounts, the event was a huge success.

“Our curriculum was interactive and heavily hands-on, and was taught by veterinary faculty and staff,” said Dr. Michael Bowie, one of the program developers and a clinical assistant professor in the college’s department of pathology and infectious diseases.

Panel discussions and college preparation sessions were held for the group’s benefit. Among those was a Vet Student Panel, in addition to presentations by UF faculty and staff and other veterinarians about different specializations and aspects of Veterinary Medicine. The group also toured several UF sites, including the UF Dairy Unit, the UF Veterinary Hospitals, the main UF campus, and the UF bat houses.

The group participated in clinical skills and diagnostic demonstrations, which included blood sample collections on SynDavers synthetic canine cadavers; intravenous injections on those models; proper techniques for wrapping wounds, suturing techniques, conducting radiographs and ultrasounds, animal handling techniques and proper techniques for gowning and gloving.

The students also received clinical pathology and parasitology demonstrations, and took behind-the-scenes tours of off-campus educational facilities, including SeaWorld, the Santa Fe Teaching Zoo and the White Oak Wildlife Conservation Foundation.

Other activities included information sessions on admission requirements and selecting areas of specialization in veterinary medicine, group presentations on several veterinary fields, and individual research projects on different species and their diseases or disorders.

“Students also went bowling and played games, attended a movie and explored the University of Florida campus,” Bowie said. “Based on overall evaluations, the participants rated Gator Vet Camp as an excellent opportunity with hands-on and interactive experiences.”

This year’s curriculum was developed by Dr. Amy Alexander, Dr. Sarah Beatty and Dr. Michael Bowie of the college faculty, and program coordinator Boisy Waiters. Student counselors included Pamela Betancourt and Gregory Trende from the Class of 2022, and Holly Hartog and Kelly Hensley from the Class of 2021.


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