Conferences and Events

CDC Veterinary Student Day 2017

Photo: group of students

Attendees at the 2017 CDC Veterinary Student Day

On January 23rd, 2017 a select group of 9 DVM students, 1 MPVM student and 2 faculty members attended the CDC Veterinary Student Day in Atlanta, Georgia at the CDC headquarters.  This year’s theme was “The Secret Life of Pets and Vets”. Speakers from the CDC, including one of our own UC Davis alums, Dr. Robyn Stoddard, and other organizations provided their perspectives on the following topics:

1.  Emerging zoonotic and infectious diseases
2.  Global health: challenges and strategies
3.  One health: protecting human and animal health
4.  Migration and health
5.  Environmental health
6.  Career and training opportunities
7.  Epidemiology in action – test your skills

The students summarized their unique experiences and are shared below:

Marlene Haggblade:  Attending Veterinary Students Day at the CDC allowed me to imagine what life could look like further down the road. I left the CDC feeling like I had the potential to make a true impact in my veterinary career. I feel inspired to pursue global and public health opportunities, and to follow my true passions. Nobody comes into veterinary medicine in pursuit of big bucks, so this felt like an important reminder to follow inspiration, instead. I learned that flexibility, persistence, (and a little bit of luck) can open doors, so long as you are willing to walk through them!

Neda Othman:  I had an exceptional time at the CDC Vet Student Day. I was really excited to hear about all the things veterinarians' have done in their lifetimes-- they have been involved with a huge variety of wildlife and diseases and have traveled to many countries. I am attracted to veterinary medicine because of the diversity in the day to day job and with our diverse array of patients, and I am even more now attracted to the public health aspect which adds another element of diversity in the veterinary career. 

Attending CDC Vet Student Day confirmed my interest in public health for me. I am excited to know about the Epi Elective externship at the CDC and hope to be selected for it when I am a fourth year. I used to be on the fence whether or not to pursue an MPVM, and I feel much more inclined to do one now. My idea of my ideal career is to be able to use my veterinary education to influence the world and society as a whole, and I have come to the conclusion that I can be most effective in a role with emphasis on public health. Thank you so much, again, Dr. Lairmore, for the funding-- I would have been hard pressed to attend had it not been for your generosity.

Morgan Halley:  I was so grateful to attend Veterinary Student Day at the CDC thanks to the generosity of Dean Lairmore. It was an eye-opening experience and a glimpse into what I hope my future career will look like! I had wonderful opportunities to connect with other like-minded veterinary students from other schools, network with veterinary public health professionals, and hear about interesting current public health concerns. There was also an informative talk about opportunities for 4th year veterinary student externships, which I would never have known about if it hadn't been for this conference. Lastly, I was so excited to see where our UCD grads have taken their careers with the CDC and hear about their everyday lives. I would absolutely recommend this experience for anyone interested in a public health veterinary career. 

Lynae Shubin:  I had an amazing experience visiting the CDC on Veterinary Students' Day. I had been interested in pursuing a career in infectious disease and public health since I started veterinary school, but this was my first opportunity to see in person what this field looks. The CDC has remarkable facilities, brilliant employees, and overall the impacts of the center are very moving. Instead of being an abstract idea, this career path now feels much more tangible and attainable. For me the most inspirational part of the trip was meeting with UC Davis alumni. I was so impressed with their success and it was incredible to think that they were once exactly where I am now. I learned so much from this experience and it has given me a lot to think about as I continue to plan my education. I am very thankful to Dean Lairmore. If I had not received funding for this trip, I would not have been able to attend.  

Alexandra Moskaluk:  Attending the Vet Student Day at the CDC was an amazing experience. We were able to talk to veterinarians from various backgrounds that now work at the CDC and how they got to where they are today. Additionally, most of these vets worked in different divisions of the CDC so it was very enlightening to learn about different career choices as a vet.  Talking to UCD alumni about how they went from Davis to the CDC and how they use their veterinary degree in their daily jobs made us all excited about our future careers. It was definitely a worthwhile trip and would be great for future students interested in public health/research.

Anne Kimmerlein:  Unlike the other UC Davis students who participated in the CDC Vet Student Day, I already have my DVM degree (UMN class of 2013) and am currently pursuing my Masters of Preventive Veterinary Medicine (MPVM). I have known since before graduation from veterinary school that I wish to pursue a career outside of traditional clinical practice. One of my motives for leaving veterinary practice to participate in the MPVM program is my desire to pursue a career addressing the larger issues in infectious disease prevention and control through a One Health perspective. In fact, it is my goal to participate in the Epidemic Intelligence Service at the CDC after graduation. While I am familiar with the program, meeting past and current EIS officers and recruiters gave me a better understanding of the application which, I hope, will help me be successful in the incredibly competitive process. It was great spending time with a UC Davis alumni where we heard about these vet’s very different career paths. It was helpful to see the varying paths that have led these veterinarians to successful careers and the amazing impacts they have had on both animal and human health within an agency typically dominated by human-health professionals. In addition to learning more about opportunities with the CDC and other government agencies, I enjoyed representing the MPVM program to interested students from UC Davis and other veterinary schools. I absolutely recommend the program to veterinarians and veterinary students who are considering a career in public health!  

Kimberly Conway:  Attending Veterinary Student day at the CDC was a dream come true for me! As someone who came into veterinary school with intensions of pursuing a career in veterinary public health and epidemiology, I was beyond grateful to have the opportunity to pursue my specific interests.

It is really challenging to highlight any specific moment from the trip because the entire experience was unforgettable, but I can recall one of my favorite activities. On Sunday evening, we had a pizza social where all students received raffle tickets and were instructed to place a ticket in the jar next to whichever type of pizza they chose. The next day, when the raffle tickets were drawn, everyone was eagerly awaiting to find out what prize they would receive. A group of numbers were drawn, but instead of receiving a prize, the lucky winners received a folder informing them they had gotten food poison from the pizza. The “patients” were given a report describing the timeline and severity of their symptoms, and the hour that followed involved a full epidemiologic outbreak investigation to determine the cause of the outbreak by interviewing the “sick” patients and tracing the outbreak back to a single ingredient on one of the pizzas. When describing to my friends at home how much fun I had during this scenario, they pointed out that I was the only person they knew who was actually more excited that it wasn't a real raffle.

Aside from the mock disease outbreak scenario, the other part of the trip that stands out to me was spending some time with a UC Davis grad. We heard about some incredible veterinarians who have accomplished amazing things with their veterinary degrees, including responding to the West African Ebola outbreak 2014.   Lastly, the networking aspect of this experience was invaluable. I was able to meet with a veterinarian I had been trying to get a hold of via email regarding an externship, and after meeting with her in person, the externship was set the next day. The CDC campus is absolutely beautiful, and a few us realized we had found the “Disneyland for nerds.” It was truly an honor to represent the #1 Veterinary School in the world at the CDC, and I have no words to express my gratitude to Dean Lairmore for making it possible.

Audrey Buatois:  My favorite part of attending the CDC vet student day was to have the opportunity to talk to veterinarians working at CDC about their career path. It was interesting to see the wide variety of jobs offered to veterinarians at the CDC, and the opportunity of veterinarians to move between the different departments. From the veterinarians I had the chance to talk to, it seems like they were able to work in very different areas throughout their career at the CDC. This day also opened my eyes to the wide scope of topics that the CDC researches and responds to both at a local, national and international level.  I particularly enjoyed the fact that this day focused on veterinarians in public health in all aspects of the government with representatives from the USDA also present. The day went into more details about all the training opportunities that are available to vet students and veterinarians that are interested in a career in public health. Finally, we were able to get some wonderful advice from various veterinarians working in public health about choices of career paths, and how to apply to the programs available. Overall this day gave me a much better understanding of what veterinarians working in public health do on a daily basis, what training opportunities are available for those interested in learning more, and how to get started in the field. I very much appreciate the funding available to students to attend this event that enabled us to learn about different career paths for veterinarians, as well as network with a variety of professional and veterinary students from across the country.

Harman Panesar:  The most illuminating part of my trip to CDC was the chance to hear about the work that CDC Veterinarians do nationally and internationally. I left CDC with an impression that there are countless job opportunities for veterinarians at CDC and other government organizations. Additionally, beyond job opportunities the exciting aspect of being a veterinarian in a government setting is the opportunity to make a positive impact on the entire world in both public health as well as animal health. At this event, the opportunity to network with UC Davis veterinarians and students/faculty from other veterinary schools in North America was also remarkable. This inspiring trip to CDC was an eye-opening experience for me, and it has helped me narrow down specific career paths in veterinary medicine that I would love to pursue. Also, this trip has helped me realize that I as a veterinarian can use my skills to not only heal animals, but also humans and our environment.

Hannah Laurence: As someone who has always dreamed of getting to go to the CDC, the Veterinary Student Day at CDC was an amazing experience.  We got to hear from numerous veterinarians working in different sectors of public health about what their jobs entail and how they got to where they are today.  An added bonus was getting to meet like-minded students who have similar interests in public health and infectious disease research.  I felt so lucky to get to spend time at CDC and represent UC Davis.