PEER Fellows Bring Veterinary Science to West Texas Youth
Posted August 24, 2017
The College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences’
(CVM) PEER veterinary student fellows recently provided STEM
instruction on animal health and welfare to youth in the
Lynanne Graf presents to youth at Midland's Boys & Girls
More than 120 elementary and middle school-aged students learned
about the science of veterinary medicine, while the PEER fellows
enhanced their own adaptability and soft skills necessary to work
in the field, during a Midland YMCA camp.
Fellows spoke to seven different groups of campers about what
veterinarians do and how to become a veterinarian through the
presentation “So You want to be a Vet?”, during which the youth
role-played as a veterinarian while applying principles of the
scientific method to practice cases.
In their role as a veterinarian, YMCA campers had to determine
appropriate diagnostics and treatment for a variety of patients
based on their signalment and history.
“This is always what captures the student’s interest,” said PEER
fellow Lynanne Graf. “It forces them to become involved and use
their critical thinking skills.”
The campers also got moving with a fun game of animal freeze
tag, which required them to answer reinforcement questions from the
presentation, and left with fun posters and resource pamphlets to
assist them as they further explore veterinary medicine and
“We left the event encouraged by the children’s positive
feedback and many heroic stories of their local veterinarians,”
said PEER fellow Jessica Haynes.
During their stay in Midland, PEER fellows also worked with 20
elementary-aged boys and girls at the Boy & Girls Club at
Taylor Park, where the children learned about the important role
veterinarians play in the lives of animals. Veterinary fellows also
were able to get a better perspective on how the community viewed
animals and their understanding of the human-animal bond.
Jessica Haynes speaks to campers at Midland's YMCA.
“This understanding helps us as veterinarians better relate to
and adapt our approach to best interact with the community,” Haynes
For professional fulfillment, the PEER fellows visited six
veterinary hospitals, where they discussed the benefit of PEER
resources to veterinarians, staff, and clients, while also making
professional connections and building relationships with the
veterinary community of West Texas, which may benefit fellows
throughout their careers.
The successful summer full of educational experiences for all,
now coming to an end, were sponsored by the Emma Barnsley
Foundation of Midland/Odessa, which funded PEER veterinary fellow
training this summer.
Other summer activities have included outreach and education,
including for fellows, themselves, to youth camps, children’s
museums, schools, the Primate Center, rural Texas, veterinary
clinics, Sea World, the San Antonio Zoo, and more, working with
young people in Girls Scouts, GirlStart, South Texas Medical
Academy, TAMU, and Houston PREP students, science and engineering
students, and at risk-youth to pursue careers in veterinary science
“This summer has given me a new perspective on the different
roles veterinarians play within the community and how I can best
prepare to fill all of those roles,” Graf said. “We feel more
confident than ever in our ability to interact with the community
and understand their specific vision of what a veterinarian should
“We also feel motivated to pursue specialties after working with
many specialty veterinarians throughout the summer,” Haynes added.
“They enlightened us on how worthwhile it is to be able to do only
what you really love to do every day.
“Providing outreach and connecting with the veterinary community
through the PEER Summer Fellowship was a very rewarding
Those interested in joining the PEER team should contact Dr. Larry Johnson or visit
Lynanne Graf & Jessica Haynes contributed to this
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