Every veterinary student that completes their clinical rotations at Cornell must complete a Senior Seminar; a project or case report on any veterinary topic of their choosing that they must present on in front of an audience. The majority of students choose to present a clinical case, but others present on research studies they have partaken in or even a review of a certain disease process that they find interesting. The only limit on what we can present is really our own minds. If there is a veterinary topic that we have committed a large amount of time to during veterinary school, it could probably serve as a great seminar.
I chose to present on the research that I participated in in the Yukon Territory and Alaska. The research focused on sled dog exertional rhabdomyolysis and other more common health diseases encountered on the trail. This project was a perfect summary of my interest in exercise physiology, working dogs, and (of course) dogs in general! If there is one thing I have learned about myself during vet school, it is that veterinary medicine has been and always will be mostly about the dogs for me! When I think about my current interests in veterinary medicine and what I feel I can actually contribute to, it is mostly canine medicine. When I think about where I see myself in the future in terms of my work, it still centers around canine medicine. That, to me, was the biggest factor in choosing my senior seminar as a way to summarize my time in veterinary school.
The senior seminar can seem daunting, but I think it should really be a way to summarize some of your favorite work that you have participated in during veterinary school. Many of my classmates love surgery, so they did case reports on a surgical patient. Others gave presentations on production animal case studies. Someone even did a presentation on infectious laryngotracheitis (ILT) in a flock of organic layer hens. As I said, the possibilities are endless. The only thing I would recommend not doing is seeing your senior capstone as a huge irritant and something that deters you from other work. If you treat the project like a sideshow, others will detect your lack of interest in your presentation. While we are all busy and the last thing we need is something else on our plate, our senior capstone is a necessary part of the veterinary curriculum that is better treated as an enjoyable project than just another thing to check off.