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May 15, 2020

SAVMA president focused on advocacy

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Marie Bucko, a student in the Class of 2021 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Veterinary Medicine, said she feels privileged to be able to serve with the Student AVMA.

Marie Bucko
Marie Bucko, 2020-21 Student AVMA president

Bucko was installed as the new SAVMA president during the annual SAVMA Symposium. The symposium was scheduled to be held at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York but was canceled because of concerns related to COVID-19. The SAVMA business meeting and elections were held virtually, March 14-15 (see story).

Bucko discussed her goals for the year and potential plans after graduation with JAVMA News. The following answers have been lightly edited for clarity.

Q. Can you tell me about yourself?

A. I grew up on a beef farm in Wisconsin and served as the state’s FFA officer when I was a kid. Before veterinary school, I also served in the Food and Drug Administration’s Foods and Veterinary Medicine Program as a policy analyst in Washington, D.C. I was the point person for the agency’s Center for Veterinary Medicine and helped prepare staff for congressional briefings and coordinating industry meetings.

At the same time, I received a master’s in food safety from Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine.

Q. What do you like about organized veterinary medicine, and why are you involved in SAVMA?

A. During my time as president-elect and now president, I’m able to represent students from across the world on the AVMA Board of Directors, to ensure the future of our profession has a voice, and it has been one of the highest honors of my life.

The time invested in SAVMA fills me up. While this position can be exhausting, it’s something I’m very proud of, and I am dedicated to passing on the lessons I learn to the next generation of students.

It is an incredible privilege to serve alongside veterinary students who want this profession to be the best that it can be. It’s an even greater privilege to be entrusted by these very people to lead this organization. Growing up, I was always told that we were given two ears and one mouth, so use them accordingly.

Q. What do you hope to accomplish as SAVMA president?

A. I hope to further deepen my understanding of the needs of SAVMA, find common goals, and ultimately empower my national officer team and each veterinary student to accomplish those goals for the betterment of our organization.

Q. What are your plans for after graduation and the future?

A. With the ever-increasing access to media resources, it’s never been more crucial than now to communicate the story of veterinary medicine. I hope to serve the veterinary profession and animal agriculture industry in my career. Whether that looks like returning to Washington, D.C., to influence policy or serving in a U.S. Department of Agriculture–designated rural shortage area, advocating for our profession is my main focus and passion. 

Q. What do you think about the SAVMA symposium being canceled?

A. It was certainly unfortunate to not be able to meet in person; however, I fully support Cornell University and SAVMA’s decision to put the health and safety of everyone first.