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Veterinary Students Inspire K-12 Students to Pursue STEM and Perfect Their Own Non-technical Skills

Posted December 19, 2016

Amber Nava Iola Elem
Amber Nava with third graders at Iola Elementary School

by Torri Whitaker

Third-year veterinary students enrolled in Drs. Johnson’s and Klemm’s VIBS 948 elective course are honing their non-technical skills while inspiring the next generation of veterinary science professionals. This course aids students in enhancing leadership, communication, and outreach skills through the development and presentation of a K-12 classroom lesson. Working closely with K-12 teachers and PEER (http://peer.tamu.edu) undergraduate student workers, veterinary students create a science lesson aligned to state science learning standards and centered on a veterinary medical topic as they illustrate application of science concepts to real-world STEM careers.

Chelsea Gartman SFA Middle
Chelsea Gartman with seventh graders at SFA Middle School in Bryan

Immediately following final exams in December 2016, Zach Dielmann, Chelsea Gartman, and Amber Nava entered classrooms in Bryan, Franklin, and Iola Independent School Districts as teachers for a day.  Dielmann taught seventh grade students at Franklin Middle School about intervertebral disk disease and how it impacts the structure and function of the nervous system. Gartman allowed sevent grade students at Stephen F. Austin Middle School in Bryan to listen to normal and abnormal heart sounds while relating them to cardiac structure and function. Nava described the structure and types of animal teeth to third, fourth, fifth, and sixth grade students at Iola Elementary School while emphasizing the importance of dental health.

Teachers and students at each school thoroughly enjoyed having the veterinary students in the classroom. “She is awesome and my students learned so much!” stated one teacher about her visiting veterinary student. “Now I know that I am going to vet school to be a veterinarian!” exclaimed a student following a presentation.

Zach Dielmann Franklin middle
Zach Dielmann with seventh graders at Franklin Middle School

Veterinary students were equally impacted by their time as teachers. "It was so much fun to get into the classroom to teach 7th graders about the heart!” said Chelsea Gartman. “Cardiology is one of my favorite subjects and it was very rewarding to see their interest and engagement in the presentation.”

Outreach and education are important facets of veterinary medicine, and this “Honing Non-technical Skills” course instills this value in future veterinarians, whether they are only 17 months or decades away from beginning their careers as veterinarians.



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