The 2019 Veterinary Job & Externship Fair hosted by the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM) brought to campus approximately 135 veterinary practices and companies from across the state and nation to interact with students and share employment, externship, and internship opportunities.
Now in its third year, the CVM works with the Texas Veterinary Medical Association (TVMA) to create an event that benefits both students and practitioners.
“It’s a great opportunity to build relationships,” said Dr. Jodi Long, a veterinarian at Houston’s Bay Glen Animal Hospital and member of the TVMA’s executive committee. “It’s great to meet those first-year and second-year students who need the externships and to get extra experience to realize what they want to do with the rest of their professional lives.”
This year, the CVM expanded the Veterinary Job & Externship Fair and dedicated part of the afternoon to allow veterinarians looking for jobs to come visit with hiring practices. This also gives veterinary medicine students the opportunity to network and learn more about this rapidly changing profession.
“This fair is really pushing us to get out there and try to experience different clinics so that we have new adventures and new opportunities,” said Taylor Sheffield, a second-year veterinary student. “Plus, it makes us work on our networking skills, which we’ll need once we get out into real practice.”
The participating veterinarians, many of whom are recent graduates, understand the challenges that current students face.
“As a student, you’re so nervous and you’re scared to talk to people,” said Dr. Pamela May ’19, a veterinarian at Buffalo Animal Hospital who attended the fair in 2018 as a student. “But something like this, the whole point is to connect the practice to the student. It’s awesome. This started my third year and I am so glad it did because they got me my job. Now it’s exciting to see how everyone else is starting to make the connections here, too.”
Current students also embrace the opportunity to learn about the professional journeys of relatively new veterinarians.
“A lot of interactions at the job fair have been why I went the way I did,” said May. “They’re relating to me more because I’m recently graduated and they want to get my take on what I did when I was in my first and second years and how I’m transitioning to being a doctor.”
The fair also exposes students to opportunities they may not have thought of, such as working in the Texas Panhandle, a rural area that is at the center of the nation’s animal food industry but is experiencing a shortage of veterinarians.
“We’re all about helping our colleagues and professionals develop relationships with the students so that we can have great relationships with our colleagues as we go forward through our professional lives,” Long said. “I think it’s an excellent opportunity for us to network and to give back to the profession and the college.”
Students realize that TVMA’s support for the fair is giving them an opportunity to increase their skills in building professional relationships.
“The fact that Texas A&M and TVMA are pushing us to practice our skills shows that they want us to do what we came here to do, which is to be doctors, to network, and to work with people,” Sheffield said.