Third annual 4-H Animal and Veterinary Science Camp expands career perspectives

Hear from campers how the 2016 4-H Animal and Veterinary Science Camp expanded by more than just in numbers, but in awareness of career possibilities.

Participants at the 2016 4-H Animal and Veterinary Science Camp.

Participants at the 2016 4-H Animal and Veterinary Science Camp.

The third annual Michigan 4-H Animal and Veterinary Science Camp was held June 27-July 1, 2016, at Michigan State University (MSU). Sixty youth, ages 13-16, were selected out of the 193 applicants to attend the camp. Campers stayed on campus in MSU’s residential housing and attended classes in campus buildings. This campus experience provided a glimpse of college life with animal and veterinary science based content.

The culmination of the camp was the case study presentations conducted by campers for faculty, campers and parents. These were real-life scenarios in which an animal had fallen ill of a potentially zoonotic disease. Participants researched the disease and put together professional presentations about how to manage the animal and provide the necessary treatment to the animal while attempting to prevent a zoonotic disease occurrence. Campers increased their knowledge as well as gained valuable teamwork and leadership skills by working through their assigned case study throughout the week.

The campers are best at describing the impact of the week-long camp, as is demonstrated by their responses to interview questions at the end of the event.

What impact has attending this pre-college program had on your future?

  • I have realized there are so many paths I can go down besides what I considered a “basic” vet. I’d never even thought about large production animals, but now I am really interested in it.
  • This camp has expanded my horizons with regards to what my future career could be. No longer is it veterinarian or nothing for me; it is now veterinarian or vet tech or wildlife rehabilitator or equine specialist or nutritionist. There are so many more options that I had never considered before, but which are definitely options that I’m now considering.
  • Changed my perspective on different jobs inside animal medicine.

How was this camp beneficial to your understanding the field animal science and related careers?

  • I’ve learned that there are so many jobs that let you work with animals.
  • This camp was beneficial to my understanding of animal science and similar careers by showing me different species as well as exposing me to different parts of the veterinary career. Going through stations at the dairy farm greatly expanded my view of large animal practices and has revealed to me that perhaps large animal veterinary is where I would like to go.
  • I understand that animal science has so many paths and careers under it, it involves all animal-related careers, not just vets.

Overall, what was the most interesting piece of information you learned during camp?

  • I learned about One Health, which I had never heard of or known anything about, so learning something new like that was really interesting.
  • The most interesting thing I learned at this camp was how vital teamwork and communication is to being a vet or any other science-related career.
  • That trying means you actually have a chance to succeed or fail, but if you don’t try you will always fail.

What skills do you feel you learned during camp?

  • I feel that I have learned team building, time management and stress management skills this week. By being split up and being exposed to many different people, I crafted both life-long friendships as well as taught me how to be more independent and tolerant of others.
  • How to work as a team with my case study group and how to listen to other people’s perspective. I also learned how to be more inquisitive.
  • I learned to be independent and how to make new friends quickly. I learned confidence and skills that will help me later as an adult, such as independent living.

How has this camp impacted you?

  • This camp has opened my mind to various careers and majors related to animal sciences, and also allowed me to develop or enhance vital skills like communication. I’ve also been impacted in that I firmly believe now that I want to be a vet and will be able to make that happen.
  • Pushed me to go out and make friends!
  • This camp has given me the experience that I would probably never experience. Many speakers during this camp have also given me advice for my future career in animal science.
  • By making me feel like I can accomplish things.
  • This camp has really fueled my desire and ambition to become a veterinarian. It has really motivated me to go out and build my experiences and knowledge.
  • Helped me come out of my shell and realize all I can do.
  • It has taught me to think more deeply and get information before jumping to conclusions.
  • This camp gave me hands-on experiences with animals and gave me more ideas for my future.
  • This camp has impacted me in the sense that it has broadened my horizons on the jobs of a vet, especially out here in Michigan. I have also gained so many new friends that really made this camp memorable.

4-H Animal and Vet Science Camp logo

The five-day Spartan pre-college program is in partnership with MSU Extension, Michigan 4-H Youth Development, MSU Department of Animal Science and MSU College of Veterinary Medicine. Numerous faculty, staff, students and governmental workers volunteered to assist with the camp. Thank you to the event sponsors, MSU College of Veterinary Medicine, MSU Department of Animal Science and Michigan Milk Producers Association for making the event possible.

For more information about the camp, visit the 4-H Animal and Veterinary Science Camp website or contact me, Julie Thelen, at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Applications for the 2017 camp will be available this fall with an application deadline of April 3, 2017.

MSU Extension and the Michigan 4-H Youth Development program help to create a community excited about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). 4-H STEM programming seeks to increase science literacy, introducing youth to the experiential learning process that helps them to build problem-solving, critical-thinking and decision-making skills. Youth who participate in 4-H STEM content are better equipped with critical life skills necessary for future success. To learn more about the positive impact of Michigan 4-H youth in STEM literacy programs, read our 2015 Impact Report: “Building Science Literacy and Future STEM Professionals.”

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