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PEER Veterinary Students Educate K-12 Students During Summer 2016

Posted June 28, 2016

The CVM PEER program at Texas A&M University provides veterinary students with the opportunity to share their knowledge about One Health and veterinary medicine with K-12 students and teachers throughout Texas. PEER’s teleconferences by veterinary students, veterinarians, and scientists and PEER's middle school classroom curricula are used throughout the US. The PEER Veterinary Student Fellows this summer are Aurash Behroozi (3VM), Chelsea Gartman (3VM), Maddie Wiersig (3VM), Clarissa Root (3VM), Chanel Berns (2VM), and Mikaela Stanislav (2VM). As Veterinary Student Fellows, these students have capitalized on opportunities to enhance their communication skills while they stimulate K-12 students' interest in STEM.

Already this summer, PEER Veterinary Student Fellows have presented to over 1500 students at schools, camps, libraries, and museums. Students ranged from pre-kindergarteners to undergraduate students. PEER veterinary students adapted lesson plans to meet the educational capabilities and state education standards (TEKS) of different K-12 student groups. Pictured to the right is Aurash Behroozi teaching at Bonham Carter Elementary School. “Teaching pet health to students enables me to practice explaining companion animal husbandry to my future clients,” Behroozi said.

2016 06 29 Behroozi
Behroozi teaches animal husbandry to Bonham Carter Elementary School students.

Even disastrous weather didn’t stop PEER veterinary students from reaching out to Texas students. On May 26, Maddie Wiersig and Chelsea Gartman’s presentation at Bryan High School was interrupted for two hours by a tornado that touched down in Bryan. The following day, flooding in Houston temporarily stranded Chelsea Gartman and Clarissa Root after a day of presentations at Whispering Pines Elementary School in Humble. The drive home, which should have lasted two hours, turned into a six-hour ordeal. Despite the obstacles, PEER veterinary students agreed that the opportunity to educate students about veterinary medicine was well worth the effort.

On June 6-10, PEER worked with Aggie Academy, a weeklong camp for high school senior winners of the Texas Science and Engineering Fair. Aggie Academy campers participated in presentations and activities about Nutrition, Dentistry, Reproductive Surgery, and Analysis of Histology Images orchestrated by PEER Veterinary Student Fellows. High school students at Aggie Academy were excited to learn about advanced science topics and different STEM opportunities that would not normally be included in a high school curriculum. “I never knew the details of the calculations for standard deviation [until attending Aggie Academy],” was one student’s response to attending
Analysis of Histology Images by Dr. Larry Johnson.

PEER veterinary students also accompanied the Aggie Academy students on a tour of the Schubot Avian Health Complex and the Winnie Carter Wildlife Center. “The students had many great questions for Dr. Tizard and Lisa,” Gartman said. “One student asked about the myth of an ostrich hiding its head in the ground. An ostrich doesn’t actually bury its head in the sand,” Behroozi added. Dr. Tizard talked about bird intelligence and how knowledge of bird behavior and birds' habits can help with conservation efforts when birds' habitats are threatened. PEER would like to thank Dr. Tizard, Lisa Roberts-Helton, Dr. Blue, Dr. Eckert, Dr. Stickney, and Katy Waddell for helping make the veterinary medicine part of the Aggie Academy a huge success!

Gartman and Wiersig had the opportunity to tour behind-the-scenes at the Houston Zoo to further their veterinary education as part of a PEER trip to Houston. While in Houston, they also taught Houston Humane Society campers about pet care and animal behavior. “The tour of the Houston Zoo was fantastic!” Gartman said, “We learned about elephant herpes virus and the collaboration between the Houston Zoo and Baylor College of Medicine to prevent future elephant deaths." Gartman added, "PEER has provided me a wonderful opportunity to practice my communications skills and interact with people of all ages which will no doubt benefit my future veterinary career."

PEER also assisted with 4-H Vet Science Camp for students between ages 11 and 18 who had qualified at district competitions throughout Texas. PEER taught the 4-H Vet Science Camp participants about animal breeds, veterinary instruments, parasites, veterinary skills, and body organs. Root also served as one of the judges for the 4-H Vet Science Communications competition. “I was very impressed by the level of preparation and enthusiasm for veterinary medicine that the 4-H students demonstrated. They delivered some outstanding speeches!” Root commented. Thank you to Dr. Mask for inviting PEER to help with 4-H Vet Science Camp!

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Wiersig and Gartman learn about elephants behind-the-scenes at the Houston Zoo.
For more information visit PEER's website or email Dr. Larry Johnson.

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