June 01, 2006


 Student AVMA Symposium offers education, entertainment

TV star Jack Hanna delivers keynote presentation

The University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine welcomed nearly 1,300 students from across the United States, Canada, Latvia, Poland, Slovenia, and Sweden as well as 46 exhibitors and 70 lecturers to the Student AVMA Educational Symposium in March. Held in downtown Minneapolis, the meeting was organized by the SAVMA Symposium Committee.

The event kicked off with the Taste of Minnesota Carnival, sponsored by Nestlé Purina.

Jack Hanna, director emeritus of the Columbus Zoo and host of the popular "Jack Hanna's Animal Adventures" TV show, gave a keynote presentation with animal guests, including a sloth, cheetah, and two penguins. Prior to the presentation, Hanna visited with students and said he was impressed with the enthusiasm that the students had for their future careers.

The symposium's lectures featured topics such as internal medicine, diagnostics, emergency medicine, exotic animal medicine, and small animal nutrition. Students also heard presentations on how to manage educational debt, choose the right practice, and be happy in their first jobs.

Wet labs took place at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine in St. Paul. Students took the opportunity to learn about wildlife anatomy, perform a prepurchase examination, get hands-on equine abdominal ultrasound experience, and visit a canine physical therapy program.

Another symposium highlight was a tour of the Twin Cities. The tour took students to the Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul and to other sites of interest. There was also an academic obstacle course, which included a simulated rectal palpation examination using 32 gallons of Jell-O, surgery gowning and gloving, bandaging, and bone identification.

The AVMA Externship Stipends, which are $10 to $1,000 stipends awarded to students who complete an externship in public or corporate practice, were presented to Allison Veit (St. George's University), Aron Hall (North Carolina State University), Dr. Diana Niculescu (Auburn University), Douglas Snider (University of Missouri), Jeremy Stuart (Kansas State University), Kelly McMahon (University of Wisconsin), Lara Staples (Western University of Health Sciences), Mark Ruder (Kansas State University), Nancy Turner (Texas A&M University), and Shanna Siegel (University of Georgia).

Awards were presented in the athletic and academic competitions. Also, the John Pitts Award for Distinguished Service, a new SAVMA award, was presented to Brian Maran of Mississippi State University for his leadership in coordinating monetary donations for the animal victims of Hurricane Katrina.

The SAVMA House of Delegates met in conjunction with the symposium and was chaired by SAVMA President Travis McDermott. During the meeting, the SAVMA HOD discussed changing the student associate members' voting privileges, changing the SAVMA president-elect term from eight months to 12 months, and other various governance document changes.

The SAVMA Executive Committee's incoming officers are Kara Tassone (St. George's University), SAVMA president; Heather Manfredi (University of Florida), secretary; Laura Butler Cauthen (Texas A&M University), treasurer; Karen Eiler (Western University of Health Sciences), international officer; Devon Hague (The Ohio State University), information officer; and Alix Partnow (University of Illinois), Vet Gazette editor. Previously called Intervet, the Vet Gazette is the new name for the SAVMA online publication.

Newly elected officers included Justin Sobota (University of Florida), president-elect, and Dominic Tauer (University of Minnesota), international exchange officer-elect.

The committee's outgoing officers included Travis McDermott (Texas A&M University), SAVMA president; Jodi Woods (University of Wisconsin), secretary; Heather Heiderich (Ross University), treasurer; Bindy Comito (Iowa State University), international exchange officer; Lori Braun (St. George's University), information technology officer; and Jackie Chow (University of Illinois), Intervet editor.

The SAVMA Symposium Committee includes Jennifer Selvig, programs chair; Dominic Tauer, CVM relations chair; Tracy Julius, athletics chair; Lauren Utley, day activities chair; Pam Fettig, lecture chair; Jenna Sing, academic competitions chair; Sue Lowum, business chair; Kelly Griffin, registration chair; Jessica Schuster, secretary; Heidi Buytaert, treasurer; Sandra Marks-Stubchaer, fundraising chair; Alina Evans, international chair; Ryan Reid, transportation chair; Crystal Neumann, public relations chair; Dana Seibel, exhibit hall chair; and Rachel Dayton, Cassie Powell, and Jeff Reed.