Straight talk

Veterinary students give AASV feedback

Student members of the AASV were randomly selected for anonymous feedback. Students were asked what activities are beneficial to them, what other activities could the AASV do that would increase its membership value to students, and finally, what is their overall impression of the AASV. Below are their responses, continued from the March-April issue.

“The AASV is keeping me informed about the current status of the industry. There is a constant flow of information that is delivered to members that keeps us up to date on national topics and current diseases. Living in the northwest, I have zero exposure to pigs at my vet school. The association provides the valuable information necessary for me to stay on top of the advancements in the pork industry.

I feel that AASV is all relevant. No suggestions. I am 100% satisfied.

I am looking for an association that treats student members as assets. I attended a convention this year in Vancouver, British Columbia. I am a student member of that organization. About 30 students traveled to the convention together. Upon arrival, we were told to wait until the next day to register. This prevented us from participating in any of the activities of that evening. This was unacceptable. In contrast, the AASV values student membership. It goes out of its way to provide opportunities for students at each convention. I just want to be treated well and be valued as a future leader. AASV does this very well.

The AASV sends me more information than any other association that I belong to. It sends me five times more than any other association. I value this. It makes me feel like I am really a part of the organization and not just a freeloader. Each quarter, published scientific articles are mailed to me. I know that the AASV returns much more to me than I pay in dues. The reciprocity of the organization is what I enjoy the most. I plan on being a lifelong member.”

“I think making the publications available is very helpful. I also think the externship grant money is also very useful. I think the AASV could be more involved in our school, getting together with the food animal club or another student club and having a meeting on the life of swine veterinarians (outside of academics). That would encourage student involvement. I am looking to AASV to provide me with information about what’s happening in the industry, and even though I am not sure what aspect of veterinary medicine I will be going into, I like knowing what is going on out in the ‘real world.’ I perceive the AASV as providing to its members information that is relevant to the swine industry, keeping open communication between practitioners to move forward as a group.”

“I feel that the student session held at the annual AASV meeting, along with the opportunity for the student presentations and poster sessions, enables students to gain experiences that may be beyond what they obtain at their university. I am looking for opportunities to meet practitioners and participate in other activities not offered at the individual veterinary schools. I perceive the AASV as a being a student-oriented group with the mindset of finding students to become part of the swine veterinary profession.”

“As a veterinary student, I appreciate all that the AASV does for the students. It is clear to me that reaching out to the students is a main concern of the AASV (creating a student delegate position, student seminars, student presentation and poster contests, student breakfast, stipend for travel expenses to the annual convention, opportunity for podcasts). I enjoy all the sessions that are provided for students at the annual convention to allow students to interact with each other and with swine veterinarians. The seminar topics are great and I feel that they address issues that are important to us as students soon to be entering the swine industry. Individual veterinarians within the industry are also extremely helpful. So many veterinarians that I have met at the conference have expressed to me how they enjoy having students come to their practice for an externship. As a veterinary student interested in swine medicine, it is very encouraging to know that there is an industry that works to do so much to mentor the students.

My only suggestions to AASV are to try to keep students involved in the industry throughout the whole year, after the conference is over. It would be great if there was a way that the AASV could work with AASV faculty members at the individual colleges to provide opportunities and programs to help students stay connected with the swine industry and possibly even offer a few hands-on programs or wet labs. Another suggestion is to have a monthly or bimonthly ‘What is your diagnosis?’ similar to what can be found in JAVMA. Whether in JSHAP or in the weekly AASV e-Letter, it would be interesting to be given a case on a hog farm, and then turn the page or click a link to see if we were able to correctly diagnose the problem, as well as to see how to treat and manage it.

I personally am very grateful for everything that the AASV does to include students. To my knowledge, there are not many other industries that do so much to make sure students have the opportunity to make the most of their education!”

“The AASV is a good resource for veterinary students because it provides current, applicable industry information through the Web site, JSHAP, and weekly e-Letters. I appreciate the opportunities that the association provides through externship grants and reduced rates for the annual meeting. I feel that the AASV might be more relevant to student members if it provided an online mentoring program where students could network with practitioners throughout the country. By making these online contacts, students could learn of additional educational opportunities while in school to better prepare for future careers. Overall, I feel that the AASV does an excellent job of advancing the profession by making sound, scientifically based decisions and continuing the education of swine practitioners.”

A special thanks to all the students who responded and provided comments for this and the previous issue.

-- Tracy Ann Raef