AVMA accepting applications for student externships

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The AVMA is accepting applications for up to 10 veterinary students to participate in the 2005 AVMA Governmental Relations Division Externship Program.

The externship is a unique opportunity to spend four weeks in Washington, D.C., working alongside GRD staff while learning about the legislative process and observing the veterinary profession from inside the Beltway.

Externs meet with their members of Congress and their staffs to lobby for issues important to the AVMA. They can also seek support for the AVMA's legislative agenda from other senators and representatives. There is the prospect of meeting veterinarians in the executive branch of government and studying how regulations are created.

Additionally, the externship is a chance for students to see nontraditional careers in veterinary medicine and learn about the benefits of working for the federal government.

Travis McDermott, a third-year veterinary student at Texas A&M University, said this about his externship experience: "I have been lucky enough to see some aspects of veterinary medicine outside the scope of treating cats and dogs that most students don't get a chance to see.

"While I may end up within the part of the profession that does deal with cats and dogs, I have a better understanding of a veterinarian's role in the country and in the world. This externship has not only shown me some of the opportunities veterinary medicine has for me, it has shown me what I have to offer for veterinary medicine as a profession—my voice in government."

Each extern receives a $1,000 stipend to offset cost-of-living expenses in Washington. Program activities and assignments are conducted in the capital.

Applicants must have completed their second year of a professional program in an AVMA-accredited veterinary school or college and be a member of the Student AVMA. They should have an interest in public policy, a willingness to learn about the public policy process, and an ability to work independently. A good applicant is involved in school and activities outside the classroom, including those related to the profession.

Applicants must provide a letter of intent with a first and second choice of work dates, a curriculum vitae, a letter of reference from a faculty member who is an AVMA member, and a personal statement describing their qualifications, qualities they would bring to the position, and issues of interest to them. Students who ask for specific four-week periods are not guaranteed those times, although the office will make every effort to accommodate students.

The application deadline is Nov. 22, 2004. Send applications to the AVMA Externship Program, AVMA GRD, 1101 Vermont Avenue N.W., Suite 710, Washington, D.C. 20005.

Questions about the program should be directed to Robert Hay Jr., program and administrative coordinator, at (800) 321-1473, Ext. 3208, or rhayatavma [dot] org.