by Sami Pederson (Class of 2013)
By day three of the Western Veterinary Conference, I already felt like it had been worth the trip. With two days left, I was blown away by everything learned and the people met. Vet schools all over the US (and Canada) are producing some seriously stellar students.
My arrival on Saturday evening was relaxing, checking into the Excalibur Hotel and spending some time walking up and down the strip. It’s easily overwhelming, inserting yourself into a crowded street with the classic flashing lights, people throwing things at you, and never quite sure which direction you’re walking in. Sunday was the commencement of the conference, which proceeded through the week with fantastic lectures, student receptions, and plenty of entertainment.
Even though the trip cost me an entire week of school, I strategically attended several urology and emergency medicine lectures, as well as a few on food animal surgery. I was even pleasantly surprised one night during my daily Blackboard check and download session to find we had covered the IRIS categorization of renal failure in class – conveniently also covered in that afternoon’s Feline Chronic Renal Failure hour. Other lectures of personal interest included “Setting up a Mobile Clinic”, “A Psychotherapist’s View of Veterinarians”, “Treating Shock Beyond Dehydration and Hemorrhage” , and “Caprine Field Surgery”.
This opportunity was granted to me through the faculty and staff at the Oregon State CVM. One third-year student had been selected for the award and trip from each veterinary school. As such an honor, the conference board members really know how to take care of the students. One of our AM breakfast receptions involved a great speech by Guy Pidgeon, Chief Executive Officer of the WVC, as well as recognition of each student. I was excited to find Dr. Ron Mandsager there to help me represent Oregon State – a personal thanks!
To the upcoming classes: the WVC board has decided to change the direction of this scholarship – it will now be open to applications from students, rather than a decision made by faculty members. When the announcement comes, many of you may brush it off, thinking, “how could a bunch of lectures be worth missing a week of school”, which even some of our faculty thought was a bit ambitious. However, I implore you to step back and realize how much more of an opportunity this could be. Third year is overwhelming and at times demoralizing (sorry to say), and it was incredibly refreshing to spend time talking to incredible students about their passions and paths to where they are now. A new friend from Mississippi State worked with another student last year to raise over $300,000 so their Shelter Medicine department could purchase a second mobile clinic. WOW. And if you think the lecture material will be over your head, trust me, IT’S NOT. I was amazed at my level of understanding and the strength of education we’re currently receiving. Seeing yourself answer 90% correctly during interactive lectures is a major ego boost, when you know certified veterinarians don’t remember as much about their renal physiology.
With that said, I would like to once again thank the school for this fantastic opportunity to learn, network, and enjoy Las Vegas.