As the culmination of my summer research project, I got to go to the 2019 National Veterinary Scholars Symposium. This year the Symposium was hosted by Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. As part of the Symposium, I got to present my research during a poster presentation, and we also had the opportunity to go to multiple presentations ranging from research in a critical care environment, to cancer biology, to the role veterinarians play in infectious disease prevention.
The first day was for poster presentations. I hung my poster up, and at my designated time gave short (3-5 minute) presentations to anyone who came by and was interested in my research. When I was not presenting my own findings, I was able to walk around and read other student’s posters and ask them questions. I loved making connections with people who did research similar to my own or who have interests in the same areas that I do. I would have been really nervous about presenting during this time, but my research lab and my school gave me many opportunities to practice my presentation, so it was a breeze!
One of the days we were there, we got to go on a small tour of the host’s campus (Cummings School of Vet Med). It was neat to see how other veterinary schools teach their students and it gave me lots of ideas for things we could bring back to my own school. This school has lots of practice models. The one I found most interesting was they have models for practicing small animal abdominal palpation. Their models were a combination of PVC and fabric. Some of the models were obese, underweight, had abdominal masses, had bladder stones, etc. I think this is a really neat way to teach students how and where to feel common problems.
Along with presenting our own research, we got to go listen to many different speakers present research or discuss relevant veterinary issues. My favorite presentation was about the veterinarian’s role in infectious disease study and prevention. One of the speakers spoke about influenza, a virus transmitted between many species (even though we typically only think about it in people). Influenza can most commonly pass between pigs and birds, thus the coined “swine flu” and “bird flu.” As veterinarians, we are on often on the front lines of treating sick birds and pigs, so there is a lot we can do to prevent the spread of zoonotic diseases.
I learned a lot this summer conducting research and at the National Veterinary Scholars Symposium. I don’t know for sure if I will be doing research in the future, but I definitely think that any vet student interested in research should try to get involved with this program. There is a need for more veterinary researchers!