Animal Welfare: Students

Featured Topic:
Reaching UP

The Reaching UP program positively impacts animal health, animal welfare and public health in underserved populations by providing high-quality, high-volume (HQHV) spay and neuter and targeted preventive care services in underserved areas. To compliment a surgical team​ of AVMA member veterinarians specifically trained in HQHV spay and neuter, the program involves volunteer veterinary students, veterinarians and technicians for community education and to provide preventive care. Exposure to these unique communities demonstrates how differences in experiences, traditions, values, and socioeconomic conditions can affect a veterinarian’s ability to deliver veterinary care; foster creativity in delivering education and services; and increase appreciation of One Health.

SAVMA members who would like to serve as volunteers should submit the student volunteer application. Veterinary students chosen as volunteers will be involved in pre-surgical assessment, anesthetic monitoring, and recovery processes, as well as community outreach and preventive care. Student volunteers receive food and lodging during the clinic as well as up to $500 toward travel costs.

Student testimonies:

"I loved talking to the owners about their animals and following them through induction, to surgery, vaccines and microchipping, and then discharge. I met so many caring owners and community members, as well as veterinarians and technicians who were willing to foster my learning as part of the experience."
- Emily Hampden-Smith

"As a second-year veterinary student, I valued the opportunity to connect with veterinarians from around the country, having open dialogue about his or her own veterinary path."
- Maria Albino, class of 2019

 "A fantastic team of volunteers, thankful community, and a team desire to help people and their animals really made this program amazing, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone."
- Christopher Clement, class of 2019

Intercollegiate Animal Welfare Judging/Assessment Contest (AWJAC)

The Intercollegiate Animal Welfare Judging/Assessment Contest (AWJAC) aims to provide a unique educational experience while strengthening reasoning and communication skills. The AWJAC teaches students to assess the welfare of animals in a variety of settings using a science-based approach. Students are given the opportunity to weigh evidence and present sound evaluations. This contest ensures that tomorrow's leaders in veterinary medicine and the animal sciences enhance their knowledge of animal welfare and are able to convey information about it effectively. The 17th Annual Intercollegiate Animal Welfare Judging and Assessment Contest will take place November 2017 at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. Applications are due Oct. 23 from students interested in participating. We hope you will join us for this unique, interactive event.

A limited number of AVMA member veterinarians also have the opportunity to take part in the AWJAC. Five seats have been set aside at this year’s competition for AVMA members to participate, and each member selected will be awarded $1,000 toward travel costs thanks to funding from Merck. The application period for veterinarians to attend has closed.

Special thanks to Premier Partner Merck for providing funding and other resources in support of AWJAC.

Join SAVMA (Student AVMA)

Veterinary students are eligible to join the Student AVMA if they are enrolled in a full-time program of study leading directly to a professional veterinary degree, granted by a school or college of veterinary medicine.

Student Externships

If you have a special interest in animal well-being and/or the human-animal bond, then you may enjoy being an extern in the Animal Welfare Division (AWD) of the AVMA. The AWD assists the AVMA in meeting its strategic goal to be “a leading advocate for, and an authoritative, science-based resource on animal welfare.

Educational Opportunities

Literature Reviews

AVMA literature reviews are science-based, peer-reviewed literature summaries of select topics relevant to animal health and welfare. AVMA literature reviews are not AVMA policy, and generally do not draw conclusions; they simply report what we know from the literature or other verifiable data about a given topic.


The AVMA's Animal Welfare Conversation on LinkedIn