Straight talk

AASV receives high marks from student members

Over the years, the AASV has increased and enhanced its outreach to its student members. Have its efforts been on target? To answer the question, AASV student members were randomly selected for anonymous feedback. Students were asked what AASV activities are beneficial to them, what other activities would increase AASV membership value to students, and finally, what is their overall impression of the AASV. Below are their responses.

“I find AASV members to be really approachable and interested in helping me succeed. I really appreciate the $100 grant veterinary students get from the AASV Foundation and Newport Labs to help us attend the annual meeting. It helps considerably with the cost to attend the meeting. I enjoy going because I learn so much. The student program at the meeting is very nice. Not every organization does that for students. The AASV externship grants are also great. I haven’t taken advantage of that yet, but plan to during my senior year. The AASV is doing exactly what I want for students. They’re involving us and making us feel welcomed. I have to say, though, that when I think of the AASV, I think more of company veterinarians and industry than private practitioners. I know there are private practitioners in AASV but I don’t hear from them as much. Right now, my career interest is food animal private practice and I want to hear from veterinarians who aren’t swine only. One suggestion comes to mind. The AAEP has an online blog for students that is written by a recent graduate, so we can see how just starting practice is going for her. A swine version would be a nice link to include in the AASV e-Letter.”

“I thought that the advanced techniques workshop this summer was great. I learned quite a bit, got to meet many veterinarians, and helped to support our student chapter. I think it was good of the AASV to do showings of the Classical Swine Fever video with the different student chapters as well. I think one of the most important things the AASV does for students is their support for student research and student presentations at the national meetings. The student presentations and posters that I have seen have been outstanding, and part of this has been the support the national organization gives students and student presenters to allow them to attend the meetings.”

“In my opinion, the AASV is one of the most student-friendly professional organizations that veterinary students have the opportunity to be involved in. Paying student dues can become a strain on our budgets, so it’s great that AASV’s student dues are so affordable. Along the same reasoning, the free registration for the annual meeting definitely encourages student attendance. I’ve also been able to encourage several of my classmates to attend the annual meeting by highlighting the great student programs, the opportunities to make a little extra money by conducting a Podcast, the great locations, and, of course, the sense of welcome that students feel from all of the practicing members. As I get closer to graduation, the job postings and opportunities to network with practitioners become more and more important. Although somewhat limited by distance during times other than the annual meeting, the opportunity to network and meet more practitioners would be a great way to better serve student members. I appreciate the efforts that AASV has made to attract and retain student members, and I definitely agree that it will show in the future membership of the AASV organization.”

“I believe that the AASV is one of the most accommodating veterinary associations when it comes to its students. Students have numerous opportunities to get involved with the AASV, and I feel that the association embraces our participation. I especially enjoy the annual meeting. The association really takes into consideration that students are attending these meetings to allow us to have every chance to learn about current issues in the swine industry, as well as to network with veterinarians and other students from all over North America. The new initiatives the association implements year to year at the annual meeting for students are appreciated. My only suggestion would be to incorporate and encourage student participation at meetings beyond the annual meeting. As a student, I feel that my membership with the AASV is valued, and the association provides me with a means and opportunity to broaden my horizons within the industry.”

“National AASV is providing a great opportunity to network with swine practitioners from North America and the world. I find the national meeting very useful in meeting potential employers, while also providing useful, cutting-edge educational material. Not only does the national meeting provide networking opportunities with future employers, it also creates the chance to meet students from other universities who have the same career interests. Also, being an active member in the student chapter has provided great opportunities to meet local practitioners and learn some valuable information. I think expanding the ‘student portion’ of the national meeting would certainly be welcomed by most students. Funding can sometimes be an issue for starving college students, especially when the meetings are in places such as San Diego or Orlando. Any additional money would be welcome for students and would likely bring more students to the meeting. Sometimes ‘breaking the ice’ between a student and a practitioner can be difficult for some people. I think a student-practitioner speed-dating activity, much like the one at the swine disease conference this fall, would be a big hit, especially for third-year and fourth-year students who want to meet practitioners looking for ‘preceptees’ or even new employees. As a student, I look to the AASV as an opportunity to learn about the current issues facing the swine industry and meet practitioners who may be potential employers.

The AASV does a superb job in welcoming students to the national meeting. I know several students who have been to other national associations, and they were amazed at how student-oriented AASV is. This speaks volumes about AASV’s dedication to maintaining the sustainability of AASV and its dedication to recruiting and educating future swine practitioners.”

“I feel that the national AASV is doing a great job of supplying information to veterinary students about current topics in swine medicine. Through the AASV, it is very easy to stay up-to-date about veterinary medicine. I receive the AASV weekly e-Letter and also the Journal of Swine Health and Production. Each of these pieces of literature is informative and easy to read.

As a student member, I look to the AASV for additional information about veterinary medicine and as a network. This year I will be attending my first AASV national conference in San Diego. I look forward to this event as an opportunity to meet swine practitioners from all over the United States and the world. I believe it’s important to have a solid understanding of veterinary medicine, but also to have a network to rely upon when in need.

I feel that AASV does a sufficient job in helping students and rewarding students for their hard work through studying and research. My perception of AASV consists of a solid and supportive organization that strives to help veterinary students excel in the swine field. Through national conferences, weekly e-mails, journal articles, and local speakers, AASV encourages veterinary students to build a solid understanding of veterinary medicine and the swine industry by staying current on an ever-changing agricultural sector.”

“Of benefit to the students are student scholarships (ie, student presentations at the annual meeting, scholarships for externships), directory (access to contact information for all swine veterinarians), and the weekly e-Letter, which provides information on the industry’s current events (and if you don’t want to read it or are too busy, you can save it for later or just delete it).

To make AASV more relevant to student members, continue having the student session at the annual meeting where there are interactive lectures to help students get an idea about what it is like to be a veterinarian or help us with a skill that will be useful (ie, finances, number crunching). Also, the AASV should continue having scholarship opportunities and grants for externships.

As a student, I look for the following in an association: opportunities to network with veterinarians and other members in the industry, opportunities to earn scholarships, and opportunities to see swine production and swine veterinary medicine in other parts of the country and world.

I perceive the AASV as a relatively small group of veterinarians from the United States and other countries that is progressive, cutting-edge, and science-based. The veterinarians are hard working, while having a little fun, too.”

“I enjoy the free subscription to JSHAP and registration at the AASV meeting. I applaud the efforts of AASV for supporting more student research in the form of a poster session at the AASV. The Intervet student reception is always nice. I think the organization can be more proactive in helping first- and second-year students enter strong summer internship programs, whether they are research- or practice-oriented. I think it would go over well if AASV could create a scholarship to support a few students each summer, ie, pay a stipend. Through an application process, the student should first identify a mentor (practitioner or university professor) and apply for this scholarship. This should support experiences for either practice-related experiences or swine research-related summer experiences at a university.

I view the AASV as an organization that supports its students by making them aware of the valuable experiences available to swine-interested students throughout their veterinary student curriculum and helps lay out a pathway for success in developing core experiences that will be valuable to them later when applying for jobs. This should include support for students going into practice as well as research-academia. I perceive AASV as a growing organization that supports its members well and is student-friendly.”

“The national organization is very inviting to the AASV annual meeting by providing stipends to help individuals with travel expenses, the student sessions, and the student presentations and poster competitions. By providing the Journal of Swine Health and Production for students, it keeps them informed of who is conducting research in academic institutions and the field. Many members of AASV encourage students to do externships at their practices.

To be more beneficial to students, particularly this year, with the AASV annual meeting far from the prominent swine veterinary schools, it is important for AASV to help fund the trip to the annual meeting.

As president of our student chapter of AASV, I would like AASV to suggest programs and provide funding for student chapters of AASV club meetings. The AASV provides an educational experience for me that the veterinary school cannot provide, through the annual meeting and networking with experienced swine veterinarians. The AASV is a very encouraging and open organization for students to advance their careers.”

The May-June 2008 issue of JSHAP will include more student responses.

--Tracy Ann Raef