College of Veterinary Medicine Introduces Local High School Kids to Careers in Veterinary Medicine and Pathology

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June 30, 2023 | Glendale, AZ

Midwestern University’s College of Veterinary Medicine in Glendale, AZ partnered with Arizona State University’s School of Transborder Studies on Thursday, June 8 to host a special, hands-on experience for 54 high school students from ASU’s Migratory Student Summer Academy (MSSA).

Upon arrival at Midwestern’s Animal Health Institute, MSSA students were split into four groups, which were led by Midwestern faculty Jason Struthers, D.V.M., M.Vet.Sc., DACVP, Associate Professor, College of Veterinary Medicine;, Jose Rodriquez Sosa, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Anatomy, College of Graduate Studies; Mary Evelyn White, D.V.M., DACVP, Assistant Professor, College of Veterinary Medicine; Laura Waitt Wolker, D.V.M., DACVIM, Clinical Associate Professor, College of Veterinary Medicine; and CVM students and graduates Lauren Savoy (CVM - 2025), Dr. Madison Staves (CVM - 2023), Clara Ollinger (CVM - 2025), Devann Kohles (CVM - 2025), and Leah Burns (CVM - 2024).

Dr. Rodriguez Sosa introduced the visiting students to veterinary anatomy and taught them how to use morphological features to identify different animal species, which gave them an understanding of the importance of studying anatomy as the basis of all veterinary medicine.

Dr. Struthers and CVM student Lauren Savoy presented on the unique field of veterinary pathology, as well as the tools they use to help diagnose diseases in animals. In this session, the students got hands-on experience performing both macroscopic and microscopic exams to see and feel lesions on an organ, simulating the real-life daily work of veterinary pathologists.

Students also joined Dr. Waitt Wolker to learn more about the life and career of a large animal veterinarian. Drawing upon the veterinary anatomy foundations from earlier in the afternoon, Dr. Waitt Wolker instructed them in equine anatomy on the University’s horse models, and showed  them how to place bandages. Under faculty supervision, students also practiced performing computer equine haptic rectal and reproductive exams on the models.

Lastly, Dr. White dove in-depth into clinical pathology and how pathologists diagnose diseases in animals. The students were taught how to use the microscope station to complete different activities that model how clinical pathologists would use them to make diagnoses. They then practiced techniques used in human and animal medicine to create blood smears for microscopic evaluation, created wet mount preparations to see if they could find a demodex mite in hair follicles, and used the multiheaded microscope to evaluate hematology and cytology slides from a real dog and cat.

The event concluded with remarks from Carla Gartrell, D.V.M., J.D., Dean, College of Veterinary Medicine, who encouraged the students to keep pursuing their dreams.

“The College of Veterinary Medicine takes pride in having the privilege to host the student participants of the MSSA. We firmly believe that education and exposure serve as the keys that unlock opportunities for young individuals. In this regard, this event played a significant part in introducing these students to the world of veterinary medicine. We recognize this event was just a small step in their journey, but we are hopeful that it planted the seeds of enthusiasm and curiosity for this wonderful profession,” said Dr. Gartrell.

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