The AVMA Externship program allows veterinary students a glimpse into the work AVMA is doing to better the profession. AVMA externs Kelly Arthur, Sam Scholz, and Charisse Ongie have been hard at work since mid-May working on projects in different divisions of the AVMA. The four-week program is designed to allow students to explore the varied opportunities available in the field of veterinary medicine. Continue reading below for more detailed descriptions of the projects each of the externs have been working on.
Kelly Arthur is a second-year student at Colorado State University and is an extern in the Animal Welfare Division. Her career interests include animal welfare, public policy and animal law, which tie into the work she has been doing at the AVMA. Her first project was to more fully develop the Laboratory Animal welfare page, where she updated the information, added additional linked pages, and wrote blurbs on the work of veterinarians in this field. She then began working with both the Animal Welfare Division and State Relations to develop a more up-to-date look at the legislation surrounding animal abuse reporting.
Charisse Ongie is a third-year student at Colorado State University. She is an extern with the Marketing and Communications Division, where she is exploring her passions on educating the public, government officials, and other veterinarians on various topics. Her projects include creating client handouts, writing a literature review on communication preferences, and composing social media posts, emails and other content for the AVMA Annual Convention. She also has been working with the Government Relations Division on developing multimedia content to educate Capitol Hill staff and the public on important issues.
Samantha Scholz is a third-year veterinary student at the University of Illinois. She spent four weeks with the Education and Research Division. Her interests in lab animal medicine, advocacy, and research made the Education and Research Division a perfect fit. Sam’s project included finding and analyzing competitive research grants focused on animal health from NIH/USDA awarded to veterinarians in biomedical research. The identified veterinarians who were AVMA members were interviewed for the “Spotlight on AVMA members engaged in research” webpage. Finally, she also sent out a request for information to all AAVMC Associate Deans of Research, Departments of Veterinary Science & Comparative Medicine for these institutions to self-report grant proposals that were both funded and unfunded in order to see which areas of research are being pursued and those which are not. What if the devastating effects of current and future infectious disease outbreaks could have been lessened if research in the same subject area had been funded? Altogether, this information will be used by the AVMA to advocate for increased federal funding for animal health research studies, particularly through competitive grant mechanisms.
The externs are appreciative of the experience they have gained at the AVMA and grateful to their divisions for sharing their expertise with them.