Summer Programs Prepare Future Veterinarians

Summer Programs Prepare Future Veterinarians

While part of UC Davis seems to operate at a slower pace in the summer, the School of Veterinary Medicine (SVM) is buzzing with activity as we host six different pre-veterinary programs for elementary to college students. This outreach is designed to show younger kids what being a veterinarian is like and to prepare older students for careers in veterinary medicine and research. Here’s a breakdown of the various programs underway:

Summer Enrichment Program, June 28-Aug 3

This is a college-level program designed to provide disadvantaged students with activities that will enhance their preparation for veterinary school. Twelve students have an opportunity during these five weeks (M-F) to rotate through eight clinic areas of the veterinary hospital during the mornings. The afternoons will be for faculty lectures from various specialties, GRE preparation, admissions workshops, MMI mock interviews and more.


SMASH Academy, June 26-July 27

For the 3rd year, we will host students from the SMASH Academy. This is a residential program for high-achieving, under-represented minority high school students who will be in a 5-week campus program to engender excitement and some understanding in STEM fields that hopefully one day will lead them to UC Davis and possibly veterinary school. There are 30 students per cohort each year and these students return every summer for this program. 


Vet Med Youth Camp, July 9-Aug 3

UC Davis Campus Recreation offered the first Vet Med Youth Camp this summer for ten 8-10 year olds. Through a partnership with the SVM, they created this camp for those with a passion for animals. Participants will learn surgical gowning and gloving procedures, read x-rays, study teeth from various species, explore blood and bugs through the lens of a microscope, tour the Raptor Center, and more. Campers will be taught by DVM students Monday-Friday. 

Read this year's feature on the program in the Davis Enterprise.

UC Davis Pre-College Program, July 21-Aug 11
The UC Davis Pre-College Program, in collaboration with the school’s Veterinary Genetics Lab, will introduce students to veterinary medicine, as taught by faculty from the field's top-ranked school in the world. Under the direction of Drs. Lane Johnson and Rebecca Bellone, 36 students will experience two weeks of clinical education and information related to the field and one week of veterinary genetics. Students will be able to:  

  • explore the rewarding veterinary medical profession and gain an understanding of the passion and commitment it requires;
  • learn about the history and evolution of veterinary medicine;
  • work with the extraordinary resources and mentors at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine;
  • discover the wide-variety potential career paths beyond college—from researcher to practicing veterinarian.

During those three weeks, they will spend lots of time in the lab, experiencing clinical procedures such as surgical preparation, handling, injections, and suturing. Students will take what they learn in the classroom and see how it's applied in the real-world on interactive tours of facilities such as the Center for Equine Health, the Raptor Center, VMTH Large Animal Clinic, UC Davis Dairy, the Sacramento Zoo and more.


Jr. STAR Program, June 4 – Aug 10

Modeled after the school’s Students Training in Advanced Research (STAR) program, this outreach for local high school students was created in partnership with the UC Davis STEM Strategies Office, Davis Joint Unified School District, and Davis Future Farmers of America.

The primary goal is to connect Junior STARs with university students to gain early and valuable experiences that allow Junior STARs an opportunity to develop and reinforce conceptual understandings about research and scientific practice. The outreach and effort will help connect students at UC Davis with aspiring young students from backgrounds not traditionally found practicing veterinary medicine. Faculty mentors are Drs. Kent Pinkterton, Kevin Woolard, and Derek Cissell. 

Read last year’s feature on the program in the Davis Enterprise.


COSMOS, July 8-Aug 8

The California State Summer School for Mathematics and Science, COSMOS, is a 4-week summer residential program for high achieving math and science students that select different cluster groups. Students live on campus and attend subject specific classes taught by UC faculty and researchers. The program is open to 8th-12th grade high school students. This intense academic program is intended to inspire and encourage young people to pursue future study in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) related field. Students will participate in related academic outings to places such as the Novozymes, Genentech, and Bodega Bay Marine Lab.

During their first week, COSMOS students in the Cluster 7 for Biomedical Sciences were welcomed by Dean Michael Lairmore, who gave a talk about veterinary school, science education, and his experience. On Tuesday afternoon, Dr. Pesavento led Cluster 7 in two pathology case studies, followed by a visit to the pathology lab, where students learned the comparative anatomy of the heart (they witnessed the dissection of a horse heart, pig heart, and chicken heart). Cluster 7 research teams choose their topics and were introduced to the Carlson Health Sciences Library to begin work on their papers and group presentations.

Students enjoyed presentations and discussions about bacterial pathogenesis. They learned about aseptic techniques, inoculated culture dishes with bacteria, grew bacterial colonies on plates, and have prepared to Gram stain bacteria for identification under the microscopes. On Wednesday afternoon, students attended a distinguished lecture on “Battlebots”, building robots, and artificial intelligence. On Thursday and Friday, the veterinary student TA’s presented a lecture and lab on comparative radiology, which included a lesson on reading and analyzing radiographs. Students learned about the role that radiology plays in diagnosing gastrointestinal and pulmonary abnormalities, bone diseases, and bone fractures in various animal species and humans.

Thursday morning, students took a short bus trip to Sacramento, where they spent the morning studying the anatomy and adaptations of various zoo animals. In the afternoon, veterinary ophthalmologist, Dr. David Maggs gave an engaging presentation on the comparative anatomy of the eye and his research and practice in curing various eye diseases in animals. Throughout the week, students competed in microbiology “Jeopardy” and began work on their “body projects”, which will be on display at the closing ceremonies. The Cluster 7 spelling competition also commenced during week one. Next week, students will continue their study of veterinary medicine, which will include a tour of the UC Davis Veterinary Teaching Hospital. They will also be taking a day trip to the Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. During the following two weeks of COSMOS, they will be focusing on human medicine.



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