MISSISSIPPI STATE --
Titles like "You Want To Put What, Where?" and "We Don't Just
Shoot 'Em Anymore" put a light-hearted spin on some complex science in an
attempt to recruit students to a new class that offers a look at veterinary medicine.
Dr. Patty Lathan offered this approach as an introduction to veterinary medicine
for the first time this fall at Mississippi State University. Lathan, who is
certified by the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, teaches
small animal medicine at the veterinary college.
Twenty-five students enrolled in the new class. It is open to all freshmen and
transfer students but is geared to those interested in becoming veterinarians.
"Veterinary Medicine: Beyond Shots and De-Worming" is a seminar course
offered through the First Year Experience program run by MSU's Center for Teaching
and Learning. Fourteen guest lecturers give seminars on a wide variety of topics
within the field of veterinary medicine.
"The students have been very receptive and enthusiastic about this class," Lathan
said. "I've been amazed at how glued they have been to the lectures. I don't
know how often even veterinary students seem that interested, and it's nice to
see their interest in areas that we're all so excited about ourselves."
Rachel Howell is a freshman animal and dairy science major from Memphis. She took the class this fall to learn about different fields of veterinary medicine not seen in a typical hometown clinic.
"This class has opened doors for me to make connections with people who
could one day help me get into veterinary school at MSU. I am probably more certain
than before that veterinary medicine is what I want to pursue," Howell said. "The
course has been like a break from my other classes because I truly enjoyed it."
Specific seminar topics include endoscopy, internal medicine, equine and small animal surgery, radiology, chemotherapy, food animal medicine, population control and heartworms. Each lecturer is a board-certified specialist who is active in teaching third- or fourth-year veterinary students during clinical rotations.
Howell said the guest lecturers gave the class variety as students were introduced
to several veterinarians with different personalities and specialties.
"You never knew what to expect, so it made every class exciting," Howell said.
In addition to lectures, students are paired with CVM clinicians to shadow for
at least six hours during the semester. Students also must write a report on
a veterinary topic of their choice that is not covered in class and that relates
to something observed during their shadowing experience.
"The students have been overwhelmingly enthusiastic about the shadowing
portion of the course," Lathan said.
Goals for the course are to let undergraduates evaluate different careers in
veterinary medicine and to be introduced to the specialization possible in
this field. Students will see what a veterinarian does on a daily basis and
understand the amount of training required to become a veterinarian.
"This class is very different from the ones typically offered in the veterinary
college, and everyone here has been very receptive and helpful with it," Lathan
"Veterinary Medicine: Beyond Shots and De-Worming" will be offered again in the spring and was one of just five chosen to be funded for the coming spring.
First Year Experience seminars provide students with an opportunity to become
engaged in the excitement of a specific discipline and the intellectual stimulation
of the academic culture at MSU. First-year seminars meet once a week and are
taught by skilled faculty who focus on topics of special interest to research
and teaching in their disciplines.