Symposium helps to nurture veterinary medicine students into success


TUSKEGEE, Ala. (March 21, 2014) - Tuskegee, like many universities has an administration, a campus for students to live and gain their education, and a curriculum set for their individual majors and colleges. But, unlike other universities, Tuskegee University provides something more.

This institution provides a support system, a culture and a family of intellectuals that nurture and develop their students to become pillars of success who will have lasting impacts on the present and future. The 2014 Veterinary Symposium is a testament to this belief. Held Wednesday- Saturday in the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center at Tuskegee University, the symposium plays host to various seminars and activities that support the study of veterinary medicine. Alumni from the School of Veterinary Medicine also attend, network, and mentor the students who are on the path to becoming practitioners of veterinary medicine.

Dr. Edward Williams, Class of 1999, said Tuskegee, although small, has a unique advantage over bigger veterinary schools. 

"What makes us stronger than them is our connections with each other because we do have that interlink. Being the only minority vet school in the country, it makes us work with each other more and link to where we can get to next. I think that is our strongest advantage,” he said. “Our students come out, graduate, and they're going to get a good position. They’re going to be successful veterinarians, they're going to build empires and open doors for other people."

The symposium also attracts businesses such as Banfield Pet Hospital that was seeking to recruit future graduates. Other companies such as Companion Therapy Laser and Royal Canin also attended the event to create awareness for their medical tools and equipment. 

"It's family- based. Being that we graduate 95 percent of minority veterinary students, there are that other 5 percent that graduate from other schools and so they come to our symposiums and feel at home,” said Dr. Shannon Boveland, co-chair for this year. “Although they're not graduates, they continue to come back so I think that it’s nurturing for students, from an educational perspective. But, it’s also nurturing for veterinarians from a diverse perspective."

Students also host booths to help raise funds for future events and veterinary clubs that operate within the program. The theme for this year’s symposium was “Bridging the Gap: Veterinary Medical Education, Practice and Research”. The spirit of that theme flourishes in abundance at the symposium. 

Students who wish to embark on research outside of the country learned about opportunities such as the “Nicaragua Bound Class of 2016”. This trip is for graduating students of the Class of 2016 who wish to travel to Nicaragua and learn about performing animal surgery. The students have taken the initiative to raise money themselves to fund the trip. Other student organizations such as the Veterinary Medicine Fraternity, Omega Tau Sigma, are raising funds to sponsor community service events and help guide students through the graduate program. These efforts not only help them practice self-sufficiency, but teach students the importance of the business side of running a veterinary medicine practice. To further develop students’ business sense, the school also established the Veterinary Business Management Association. 

"Tuskegee teaches you how to make something out of nothing. I definitely feel that Tuskegee is nurturing from the first year to the fourth year and on. There's lifelong friendships that you make here; it's a special place," said student, Ralpheal Malbrue.

Vendor booth at symposium

Student fundraising booth at symposium

Class of 2016 Nicaragua bound table at symposium.

Story by: David Nixon, Tuskegee University Office of Communications, Public Relations, and Marketing

Photos by Karlette Sullivan, Tuskegee University Office of Communications, Public Relations, and Marketing

©2014 Tuskegee University

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