The 2009 Early Veterinary Student Bovine Experience Program (EVSBEP) brought 20 students closer to food animal practice. The program provides students with opportunities to work on production units or with food animal veterinarians.

Director John Angelos says, “While most students start the program having had some food animal experience, EVSBEP provides an excellent opportunity to explore an area of veterinary practice that a student may not have previously experienced or considered.”

“At a dairy or with a practitioner, students see firsthand the scope of veterinary skills, food safety issues, client relations and other concerns of food animal practice,” Angelos says. “Students deal with outbreak response, beef operations, pregnancy examinations, vaccination programs, heat stress management, stall design, feedlots, bull breeding and other aspects of the industry.”

The program began in 2000 with seven students and has grown to accommodate 20 participants, thanks to school scholarships, support from Pfizer Animal Health, and the veterinarians who volunteer to mentor students. In her program evaluation, Ashley Amaral, class of 2011, says, “I appreciated the exposure to preventive medicine, the basis for beef cattle production systems. This experience gave me some unique, marketable abilities.” Amaral and classmate Zuhal Elhan spent time with practitioner Nancy Martin of East Meets West Large Animal Services in Vacaville.

Tara Jacobsen, class of 2011, says, “EVSBEP is what interested me in food animal medicine in the first place. Veterinarians are very generous with their time and patience.” Students worked at single-practitioner operations and practices with multiple veterinarians. Many worked around California’s large dairies. Students also shadowed veterinarians in other states or abroad.

Carla Rodriguez, class of 2011, augmented her veterinary experience at Atwater-Merced Veterinary Clinic and Sierra View Animal Health with travel to two dairy regions of Mexico: Jalisco and Torreón. “One benefit of the program was the chance to observe technological differences and similarities among different sized dairies in the U.S. and Mexico,” says Rodriguez. “This experience has reinforced my desire to work with food animals.” Read about Rodriguez’s Mexico visit, sponsored by International Programs.

Scott Hamilton, class of 2012, who was mentored at Mill Creek Veterinary Clinic, a dairy practice based in Visalia, says, “I realized that I am going to have an incredible career in dairy medicine.”

Experience Program featured on TV
January 8, “California Country” television magazine presented a segment on the Early Veterinary Student Bovine Experience Program at the School of Veterinary Medicine. In summer 2009 the television crew of “California Country,” produced by the California Farm Bureau Federation, shadowed veterinarian Nancy Martin as she mentored two veterinary students, Ashley Amaral and Zuhal Elhan, who were out in the field to gain practical experience with beef cattle. Watch it online.

This information was reprinted from the UC Davis Spring 2010 Veterinary Medicine News.