Posted Dec. 31, 2012
||Most attendees at last year’s AAVMC Career Fair were high school students, and about 21 percent were African-American. (Courtesy of AAVMC)
The AVMA is set to become more involved in a veterinary career fair that draws a large share of minority high school students. The Executive Board voted during its Nov. 15-17, 2012, meeting to spend $5,000 annually, beginning in 2013, to support the Career Fair Exhibition. It is hosted by the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges and held in conjunction with its annual conference in the Washington, D.C., area. The money will pay for advertising, invitations, workshops, and the like.
The event was launched by the AAVMC Diversity Committee nine years ago. The AAVMC does targeted invitations throughout the region. As a result, the career fair has enjoyed diverse attendance over the years. At the 2012 event, 21 percent of registrants were African-American; 15 percent were Hispanic; and 9 percent were Asian.
Registrants to the 2012 event overwhelmingly had pets (85 percent); however, most registrants were not currently being mentored by a veterinarian (80 percent), and most had not worked with or for a veterinarian (74 percent).
Estimates of actual attendees are typically one-third greater than the number of registrants. The total estimated attendance for the event in 2012 was 410; most attendees were high school students (48 percent), followed by undergraduate students (31 percent).
In past years, the AVMA provided funding for the event on the basis of recommendations from the AVMA Office of the Executive Vice President. With this new commitment, the Association will have a stronger presence at the fair.
The AVMA will be invited to identify a speaker appropriate for the theme of each year’s event. Plus, it will have a tabletop booth to provide information about the AVMA and the veterinary profession to fair attendees.
The OEVP, which made the recommendation to the board, said in the background material that this action will help the AVMA meet one of the objectives in the AVMA Strategic Plan under the “Enhance Veterinary Medical Workforce” goal, namely, to promote and nurture increased diversity within veterinary medicine, including cultural, ethnic, gender, and racial representation.
The 2013 career fair will be held March 10.
Dr. Elizabeth A. Sabin, AVMA associate director for international and diversity initiatives, said all of the U.S. veterinary schools and colleges are represented there.
“It’s good to have the overall profession represented there as well. You can see (the attendees are) a fairly diverse group, and they’re pulling from an area that has a fair amount of diversity,” she said.