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Veterinary Enrichment Camp: Coming Full Circle for Prospective and Current Veterinary Students

Posted September 02, 2011

Veterinary Enrichment Camp: Coming Full Circle for Prospective and Current Veterinary Students

The Veterinary Enrichment Camp at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM) continues to make a profound impact on former and current attendees by offering a three and a half day program where participants interested in veterinary medicine can learn what life is like as a veterinary student at the CVM. 

The Veterinary Enrichment Camp at the CVM has been an annual event for around 30 years. It is open to students interested in the field of veterinary medicine who have completed their sophomore or junior year in high school. The participants experience real-life student situations, such as partaking in a rigorous admissions process, living on-campus in a dorm, and learning hands-on techniques in the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital.  

Erin Braley, third year veterinary student at the CVM, and Adam Ridenour, second year veterinary student at the CVM, both first generation Aggies worked as counselors at the Veterinary Enrichment Camp the week of July 25, because their attendance almost a decade ago proved to be the solidifying factor in pursuing a veterinary medicine career. They wanted to provide the same positive experience they had in camp to prospective veterinary students.  

"Prior to attending camp, I was terrified, because I was not exposed to much in the veterinary field," Braley explains, who attended camp before her junior year in high school in 2004. "I knew I wanted to be a veterinarian and camp taught me a lot, because we got a taste for what the veterinary field had to offer. Therefore, the camp helped me gain confidence in my decision to pursue this career."  

Braley went on to say, "The counselors really impacted my experience at A&M and the CVM. This experience also prompted me to seek out mentorship opportunities, because of the positive influence my Veterinary Enrichment Camp counselors had on me." 

Ridenour also attended Veterinary Enrichment Camp the summer before his junior year in high school in 2002. 

"The pinnacle of my experience at camp was when we got the chance to see behind-the-scenes of the Small Animal Hospital," Ridenour says. "This opportunity exposed me to the CVM and the veterinary profession, as well as Texas A&M." 

"I love working as a counselor, because it is so refreshing to see myself through the attendees' eyes as I was in their shoes a couple of years ago," Ridenour explains. "Now I reflect on how I have changed, and that I made my dream come true to pursue a career as a small animal veterinarian." 

Dustin Black, a first time attendee to the Veterinary Enrichment Camp, will be a senior at B.F. Terry High School in Richmond, Texas this year.  His enthusiasm for veterinary medicine sparked in kindergarten and he has volunteered for veterinarians since. He worked for a year to pay his way to Veterinary Enrichment Camp, because he was so determined to participate this year. 

"This experience is amazing," Black says. "I know many students will never get this opportunity, and so I am taking full advantage of what I am learning this week. I am learning and working with doctors and veterinary students, and doing things I never expected."  

Black hopes to pursue a career as a rural veterinarian in Texas. The Veterinary Enrichment Camp has not only confirmed his desire to become a veterinarian, but it confirmed his desire to attend Texas A&M as a Biomedical Sciences undergraduate in the CVM program.  

The journey came full circle for Braley and Ridenour, and it is just the beginning for Black. The Veterinary Enrichment Camp is about fostering enthusiasm and love for the veterinary profession. It is a collaborative effort among the Biomedical Sciences department at the CVM, Texas A&M advisors, and CVM veterinary students. The efforts of this partnership go far beyond the week for the students, because as in Braley and Ridenour's cases it can last a lifetime.

 Dayna Willems

Contact Information:
Angela G. Clendenin
Director, Communications & Public Relations
Ofc - (979) 862-2675
Cell - (979) 739-5718


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