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Broaden Your Horizons

I want to take this opportunity to tell you all about my first veterinary summer experience.  I chose to apply for the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences to take part in the Veterinary Medical Scientist Research Training Program.  We were able to choose a research program that one of the faculty members were currently working. I have always been interested in large animal medicine and disease prevention. I grew up on the United States - Mexico border and have witnessed the impact that border inspection has both on the American and Mexican side. I was lucky enough to have found Dr. Charles Long's lab, where they were working on antiviral techniques to prevent vesicular disease. The purpose of this work was to develop a method that stimulates the immune system to be in a poised state, which could block virus invasion. If successful, this new method could provide much needed protection to livestock and the livestock industry. Moreover, these same theories can be applied to a wide range of animals, including humans.

The program also provided an opportunity to explore all aspects of research.  We met for discussions of our work with both faculty and the other students in the program. We all had many opportunities to talk over our work in both formal and informal settings.  As a group we had the opportunity to meet and join open discussions with other research students and faculty in multiple departments at the university. In addition, we participated in a wide variety of field trips to area research facilities and hospitals. During these tours, we met people striving to improve both human and animal health through the One Health Initiative. This program has opened doors for me that I could never have imagined and exposed me to aspects of veterinary medical research I had never considered.

One of the highlights of the summer research program was presenting our results at the Veterinary Scholar Summer Symposium in Loveland, CO. At the symposium we met many different students from each one of the veterinary schools in the United States. It was very neat to meet future colleagues at the symposium and get the chance to learn about their work that summer. I was able to meet many of the speakers, veterinarians, and researchers and talk to them about their work and breakthroughs. It was nice to meet and share ideas with such enthusiastic from all over the world. It was a special experience to be a part of a community within veterinary medicine that is so diverse and dynamic, a reminder that veterinary medicine is truly a global enterprise.

This summer although challenging and new, brought such great rewards. I highly recommend all students to embrace research. Research is a significant part of both veterinary medicine and human medicine. Veterinary research truly takes a One Health approach that demonstrates that animal, human, and ecosystem health are all entwined. I am very grateful to have had the chance this summer to be involved in this program. I strongly encourage all students to find similar opportunities that show them how they can also expand their horizons.