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Summer Enrichment Helps Undergrads Prepare for Vet School

Sometimes, to be competitive, a little extra help can make a huge difference.

The Summer Enrichment Program, taking place July 1-August 5, 2011, brings prospective applicants to veterinary school for practical experience, application advice, personal contact with veterinary students and guidance from school officials on how to become the most competitive applicant possible. 

Ten participants spend five weeks in a range of activities to gain veterinary-related experience (required for entry into the school), strengthen their applications, enhance interview and test-taking skills and learn the scope of professional opportunities.

Overcoming barriers

Each participant has overcome some challenge on the path to higher education. This obstacle may be an educational or cultural disadvantage, financial hardship, a language barrier or physical disability that has resulted in difficulties at home or hiccups in school performance. 

What's New ImagePractical experience

Each day at the William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, SEP participants shadow veterinary students who work in the clinical services caring for horses, exotic animals, small pets and livestock during their final year of school. For example, SEP students observe radiographs, dentistry procedures, dermatology, behavior consultations, cardiology examinations and other activities in the hospital setting. Every Friday, the participants present “their” cases to the group just as a veterinary student does in hospital rounds during fourth-year training. 

Afternoons, students practice for the GRE exam, craft their personal statements and other communications, and listen to presentations by faculty members about career options in different veterinary sectors such as One Health, nutrition, equine medicine, shelter medicine and more. Laboratory workshops in neurology, anatomy and other disciplines help participants familiarize themselves with the scope of academic training in the four-year professional degree program. 

*Watch the slide show above to see how students learned about the anatomy of the horse's foot. The lessons were taught by Dr. Janine Kasper and by guest instructors Patrick O'Hara and Bex Cothran, farriers who explained the role of proper shoeing to equine health. Veterinary student Christine Haas served as a teaching assistant in the lab. The lab session was part of a week of study dedicated to the health and reproduction of the horse.

Yasmin Williams, admissions director, says, "Summer Enrichment Program participants learn basic concepts and engage in activities that enhance their preparation to veterinary school." The school benefits from the opportunity to identify some of the most promising prospective students, Williams adds. "SEP is part of the school’s commitment to non-traditional students. We are proud of how many applicants get into vet school after participating." Since the Summer Enrichment Program began in 1987, about half of the participants have entered a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree program. The profession also benefits from having among its members veterinarians from all walks of life who can serve a diverse population of pet owners, agricultural producers and other clients.

Katrina Castaneda, Class of 2013, coordinates the program, arranging the students' class and hospital schedules as well as extracurricular enrichment activities. Schoolmates Francesca Carey, Christine Haas, Ashley Williams (no relation to the director) and Lu Dao provide teaching demonstrations and make other presentations. 

Castaneda and Lu Dao are previous participants in the program. “Katrina and Lu are ideal role models for students seeking the inspiration to persevere,” Williams comments. “They can say, ‘Look how far we’ve come. You’ve got a chance, too, if you stick with it.’”

The school welcomes Summer Enrichment Program participants for 2011:

Johnathan Franco, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo 
Darline Garibay, UC Davis
JaCiara Johnson, Pomona College
Celine Kermanian, UC Berkeley
Charlotte Lewis, North Carolina State University
Brianna McCoy, UC Berkeley
Rodigo Roca, Cal Poly Pomona
Benjamin Song, Mount San Antonio Community College
Jen Tan, UC Santa Cruz
Alejandro Vargas, UC Santa Cruz 


Applying to Veterinary School