Thursday, May 31, 2018

DAY 1 of Vet Camp

By Allie Allsup
As we embark on this year’s summer veterinary camp, our eighth one since its inception in 2011, we have 43 young campers joining us to listen, learn and engage the field of veterinary medicine.
Once check-in concluded around 8:30 a.m., campers and their family members were invited to join camp staff in the First Year (DVM) Classroom for a welcoming ceremony. This included a meet and greet of all the camp staff members and a brief summary about what the camp entails.
After initial greetings etc., we had a surprise guest, our mascot Bully, who is also affectionately known as Jak, and his handler, Lisa Pritchard. Lisa got to share all the details about Jak and his many habits, while also sharing a little bit about the history of our beloved mascot. As parents said goodbye, each camper got to take a group picture with their counselor and Jak to officially start camp.
Kaitlyn Junkin, Student Camp Director, is in charge of making sure camp comes together and has been preparing for this day for weeks. When asked about what she was most looking forward to about the camp, she replied that it’s getting the kids better prepared for the future that keeps her going.
“I’m really looking forward to teaching kids more about veterinary medicine,” Junkin said. “I wish I had this knowledge and opportunity when I was 15 or 16 years old and it’s exciting because we get to do stuff that us second year veterinary students haven’t even gotten to do as students yet.” 
In addition to a camp staff comprised of veterinary students, MSU’s summer veterinary camp program also has a clinician or faculty member overseeing each of the labs students participate in, to provide added oversight and expertise.
With camp officially underway, campers got to play some fun icebreaker games to get to know one another better. One of which was ‘Guess the Pet’, a game where the campers tried to guess the pet of their counselor. It was a great way for the campers to get to know the counselors a little bit better and a fun-loving activity to get them warmed up to what’s to come.
Next, it was finally time for the campers to experience their first Critical Care Lab, taught by Dr. Brittany Moore-Henderson. Before they got to enjoy some hands-on experiences in the lab, Dr. Marc Seitz came in and gave a 40-minute interactive presentation about Heat Strokes in Dogs. This presentation got them better prepared for what they were about to experience and allowed them to have plenty of discussion before diving into the lab activities.
It’s here that we learned of campers coming from as far as Tennessee, Kentucky and North Carolina. It goes to show that these students are really focused on exploring a future career in the field of veterinary medicine, as well as how far they are willing to come to make that goal happen. In fact, between the two camp sessions – day camp, which just kicked off today, and overnight camp, which will kick off next week – there are campers from a total of fifteen different states (coast-to-coast) and two countries (U.S. and Norway) represented. 

Finished with the presentation, campers were led into one of the MSU-CVM labs where they experienced seven different stations with hands-on activities. Each camper got to experience some type of medical task whether it be pumping the chest of a coding dog (stuffed of course) or putting a catheter into a dummy dog. They were each tasked with very real situations with our counselors providing constant care, attention and participatory efforts for the students to really learn and understand what they are being taught today. They got to learn and review different techniques for helping a coding animal and got to observe certain techniques used by veterinarians.
Day Camp Coordinator Mekayla Mekara talked about what she is hoping to achieve and what she wants the campers to take away from this camp.
“My goal is for the campers to walk away with hands on knowledge that will prepare them for future job shadowing, internships or any field after high school, whether it be veterinary medicine, a veterinary technician or any medical or science field,” said Mekara.
If this morning has anything to say, it’s that this camp is jam packed with activities that are fun and essential for aspiring young veterinarians to encounter, all aimed at encouraging them to consider a career path in the field of veterinary medicine.

For more information about the Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine’s summer veterinary camp program, visit

To see more photos please visit our facebook page.