Louisiana Tech University students received information directly from veterinary schools concerning how to prepare for successful application to vet school and how to be a successful student and veterinary professional recently at the third biennial Veterinary School Showcase on South Campus.
Forty Tech students, three high school student prospects, nearly a dozen parents, 11 veterinarians, plus Tech faculty were among the attendees at the event, presented by Tech’s School of Agricultural Sciences and Forestry (SASF) in the College of Applied and Natural Science.
“The Showcase gives (veterinary) schools a snapshot of the caliber of students coming though Tech’s pre-vet programs — animal science, chemistry, or biology,” Dr. Rebecca McConnico, veterinarian and Professor in the SASF, said. “It also provides a wonderful event and venue for networking and celebrating one of the most rewarding professions.”
Some of the topics covered included an overview of the veterinary curriculum, managing tuition costs, understanding the scope of the profession, navigating the application process, the rigorous curriculum, updated streams of tracking species (small animal, large animal, equine, exotics, mixed species, or public health), and ensuring a passion and understanding of a challenging career choice.
“Our program continues to grow and our students are being sought out by several out-of-state veterinary schools — in addition to our in-state veterinary school (LSU) — more and more,” McConnico said. “We have four or five out-of-state schools requesting to meet with our pre-vet students, in addition to LSU, where the majority of our students attend.”
For the past several years, Tech has been able to boast that about 75 percent of its students who interviewed have received offers for veterinary school admission. In the School’s current cycle, 17 Tech students have already been accepted to attend veterinary school at institutions including LSU, Mississippi State, Auburn, and St. George’s University.
Instead of having several veterinary schools meet throughout the year with small groups of students, the showcase — the first was in 2018, the second in 2020 just before the pandemic hit, and the next is scheduled for 2024 — allowed Tech to shift its focus to “one big day” and try to cover as many bases as possible with as many students as were able to attend. Typically, 40 to 50 students attend.
“Attendance has also become popular with veterinarians who ‘give-back’ to Tech as well as the veterinary profession by mentoring our students — it gives them a chance to be updated on admissions processes and what the schools are looking for in a successful applicant,” McConnico said. “The Tech Career Center has also jumped on board since they assist with so many professional development aspects of our students’ preparations. It’s truly a win-win for everyone, with the common goal of providing all of our students equal access to the tools and information necessary to succeed.”
Keynote speakers for the 2022 Showcase were Mississippi State graduate and Associate Dean of Students at the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine Dr. Bonnie Boudreaux, St. George’s School of Veterinary Medicine graduate Dr. Miranda Baker of Ruston Animal Clinic, and Tech alum and LSU veterinary school graduate Dr. Charles Edwards.
That trio teamed with Dr. Charles Cobb and Dr. William Green to form a question-and-answer panel that fielded questions from students. Cobb is a Public Health Veterinarian based in West Monroe and Green is a retired Professor Emeritus at Tech, a Tech graduate, and a graduate of Auburn University’s College of Veterinary Medicine; both have graciously participated in mentoring Tech’s pre-vet students.
Showcase student emcees were Jordan Brothers and Clayton Guyotte (officers in Alpha Zeta), Christan Robicheaux (officer of the Alliance of Veterinary Medicine and Agriculture for Equity and Diversity), and Mary Cloutier (officer of the Pre-Vet Club).
In addition, two veterinarians — Dr. Manda Burnett and Dr. Chris Morris — have recently joined the School’s mentoring program. Burnett is a Mississippi State graduate and soon will begin a position at PetStar Animal Care of Ruston. Morris practices in Rayville and mentors Tech pre-vet student Hanna Johnson, who attended the event with her.
Following the formal presentations, a reception catered by Tech’s Meat Sciences Lab followed. Drinks were donated by event sponsors Boehringer-Ingelheim Vetmedica and Midwest Vet Supply.
The Showcase alternates every other year with the College’s SASF Career Fair.