Aggies Grow Personally, Professionally during Veterinary Leadership Experience
Posted July 31, 2017
This summer, five Aggie
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine students, Veterinary Leadership
Institute (VLI) board members Karen Cornell and Kenita Rogers, and
faculty representative Kristin Chaney attended the Veterinary
Leadership Experience (VLE), a week-long intensive leadership
training program that encourages participants to “think outside the
box” for personal and professional growth.
Below students share some of their experiences.
Taylor E. Adams, Class of 2020
Q: Tell us about your experience at VLE, the lessons learned, the
opportunities to network, and the impact the experience will have
on your future.
A: My experience at VLE was by far the best of vet school. I
learned lessons about myself, how I communicate with myself and
others, how to more effectively lead those around me, how I react
under pressure, and many more. I had the opportunity to network
with some of the best in the profession and the future of the
profession and have stayed in contact with them since. I just
attended the AVMA Convention in Indianapolis and had the
opportunity to reconnect with them. This experience definitely
affected my future inside and outside of the profession. It shaped
the way I see myself, others, and the world, and how I make daily
We focused on personal and servant leadership and the components
of those, including communication, conflict resolution, emotional
intelligence, and resilience. Each of these is an important aspect
to develop, personally, and for the good of the profession, as a
whole. I reference these ideas each day as I communicate with
others and make decisions.
Q: Why did you attend the VLE?
A: I attended VLE after the insistence of previous attendees. Many
of my friends in the classes above me approached me and told me
about their experiences there and I was convinced, so I applied and
was chosen by the administration to attend.
Q: Was this your first time?
A: Yes, this was my first time to attend this program or anything
like this program.
Q: What were some of the highlights of the experience for
A: Highlights of the experience for me included outside small
group activities, which apply to school now, my future in the
profession, and life outside veterinary medicine. Our daily
activities corresponded to the topics of the day and those topics
were interwoven throughout the experience. I also loved the boating
cruise one night and group meals with the fabulous food.
Q: What would you tell other students about the VLE to encourage
them to attend?
A: I would tell other students that VLE encourages and fosters
your personal growth by putting you in your stretch zone and having
incredible mentors lead you the whole way. You are in an
environment in which more growth can occur in your leadership and
the way in which you approach the world than anywhere else. You
also get to meet and become close with amazing current and future
professional in veterinary medicine, gaining friends and
Q: Where are you from and what plans do you have after you
A: I am from Dallas, Texas, and plan to pursue a specialty in
small animal medicine, focusing on dogs and cats—though I also love
horses! Basically, I do not know what I want to do with my life yet
but am excited for the journey.
Q: What year are you in starting in the fall?
A: I am starting my second year in the fall.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
A: One of the most exciting aspects of VLE this year is that those
who attended are able to work with the administration, many of whom
are on the board of the VLI (that puts on VLE), to improve and
reorganize orientation for the incoming first years. We are going
to implement exercises and discussions used at VLE to improve
orientation this year. I am excited to bring elements of VLE back
to offer new tools and improve the lives of those incoming first
years as they begin this journey in veterinary school. I appreciate
our administration and their involvement in continuously improving
this process and our time during vet school. Our plans for
orientation are engaging and very different, and I am so glad to
get to be a part of it—I am excited for the Class of 2021!
Pamela May, Class of 2019
Q: Why did you attend the VLE?
A: I attended the VLE because I will become the director of Open
House 2018 and I wanted to further my leadership abilities to make
sure we can have the best, most successful, and most cohesive Open
House executive team. I also wanted to learn aspects about myself
to help in my future career.
Q: What did you hope to learn?
A: I hoped to learn how to host effective meetings and handle
difficult conflict situations.
Q: What did you learn?
A: I learned a lot about myself and my journey to where I am now
that I think helps shape the way I think. I learned a lot about
teamwork through all the team-building activities that I think will
help in group activities in the future. I learned about when to
speak up and when to listen to others.
Q: Has the experience impacted your future career? If so, in
A: I absolutely think the VLE has impacted my future career. I
think there are many situations as a clinician in veterinary
medicine when you have to be more of a leader when it comes to
making decisions for your patients. I also hope to own a clinic one
day and I would have to be a leader to effectively lead a team of
veterinarians to work with.
Q: Where are you from?
A: I am from South Padre Island/Brownsville, Texas
Q: Why did you choose the Texas A&M veterinary school?
A: I chose the Texas A&M Veterinary School because I wanted to
stay in Texas, I went to Texas A&M for undergrad, and I knew
that the TAMU Vet School was the perfect fit for me.
Q: Do you recommend other DVM students attend the VLE next year?
A: I recommend as many DVM students attend the VLE as possible
especially those who are going to lead organizations because it
helps people understand themselves and be able to use that to
effectively lead people better.
Amanda Tabone, Class of 2020
Q: What will your attendance at the VLE help you with in the DVM
program and beyond?
A: I think that VLE will definitely benefit me when I am working
with my classmates as well as other students from different
programs or different career paths. I felt I gathered a lot of
valuable lessons as far as being able to really connect and
understand those with different personality types or tendencies. I
think that I will go about resolving conflict in a totally
different way and will reflect much more before acting or
Q: Where are you from and what year of the DVM program are you
A: I am from Colleyville, Texas, and I am part of the class of
Q: Why did you choose Texas A&M?
A: When I was applying, A&M was the only school I applied to
because I knew there was not another school that I would go to. I
have always been impressed with the level of education and the
remarkable reputation that comes with becoming an Aggie vet. Also,
my dad is an Aggie vet, so I have always known I would end up at
A&M's vet school and did not have a back-up plan to attend
any other school.
Q: Did you meet people from other colleges? Was the
networking piece good for you to experience?
A: I met a large group of people from other schools and the
networking opportunities were awesome. The small group to which I
was assigned all became friends on Facebook and created our own
subgroup for VLE. I think we will all keep in touch, especially
when there are conference opportunities for us to meet up. We are
also friends with our facilitators on Facebook and keep in touch
Q: What are the takeaways for you after going through this
A: My personal takeaways will be how I go about handling conflict,
how I will interact and communicate with those of different
personality types in order to make sure they know I am being
sincere in my listening and communication, and how to self-manage
and step back from a problem and re-evaluate how I am going about
Q: Did having your peers with you help build rapport with
A: I think that the five of us who went together from A&M are
definitely closer than we were before going.
Q: What do you plan to do when you graduate and how will those
plans be affected by this experience?
A: I plan to practice in small animal medicine, and I cannot count
all the ways that this training will help me to become the best
vet, leader, and customer service representative that I can be,
along with being the best teammate for those that I will work
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