Pre-Veterinary Club connects students with profession and community

Fresno State Pre-Veterinary Club

(April 30, 2016) – The Fresno State Pre-Veterinary Club is among 30 Jordan College student clubs that are busy this spring hosting events and giving its 50 student members real-world learning opportunities as they prepare for careers in the demanding and competitive field.

During the spring, the club met bi-monthly on Wednesday evenings, and hosted special events such as an appearance by Tom Hueller from the Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine. The Associate Director of Admissions spoke about its graduate program located in St. Kitts, West Indies, which ultimately accepted three Fresno State students upon their graduation this spring.

In March while many students were away on spring break, the club headed north to visit the UC Davis veterinary graduate program. The club saw facilities on a tour hosted by veterinary medicine director of admissions Kimberly O’Bryan and visited anatomy and pathology classes.

Those types of trips and contacts are important experiences in a competitive academic field that includes only 30 accredited veterinary medicine graduate programs across the nation and 19 more internationally.

“We have had 11 of our 20 preveterinary students that graduated this year accepted into graduate schools, which is the highest-ever rate for our program, and we have other students on wait lists,” said Dr. Gayle OBannon, the club advisor and the department’s veterinary science professor. “That’s a tribute to their focus academically and the experience that they have gained outside the classroom through the club and other professional experiences.”

Those students accepted into graduate programs look forward to continuing their education at prestigious programs in the U.S. (UC Davis, Kansas, Michigan State, Midwestern and Purdue) and in the West Indies (St. George (St. Kitts) and Ross (Grenada).

Closer to home, the club also connected with the community throughout the year by helping manage a city dog park in West Fresno at 4257 West Alamos. It regularly checked the facility’s safety, reported any maintenance issues to the city, and kept the area clean and well-stocked with waste bags.

In February the club hosted its first vaccination and micro-chip clinic on campus. The walk-up event offered $10 rabies and DHPP vaccinations and $20 microchip services. In the past, the club had held a spring dog-washing event, and this year wanted to expand its outreach with new low-cost and convenient immunization services.

Many of the club members also volunteered at the Valley Animal Center shelter and veterinary clinic. Students received hands-on industry experience and worked with professionals in an encouraging and informative environment.

Last fall, the club took advantage of a behind-the-scenes tour of the Fresno Chaffee Zoo. The group met animal keepers and saw them handle and feed snakes, iguanas and sea lions. Management of the large species herbivores such as elephants and wildebeests were other highlights, as well as access to the on-site clinic. Club members toured the zoo’s examination and surgery facilities, heard about recent animal medical cases and saw animal x-rays.

Freshmen and club newcomers are personally introduced by the club to Fresno State’s on-campus animal units that offer an excellent chance to gain livestock management experience. Many club members are among the Fresno State students that manage 200 beef cattle, 380 dairy cattle, 500-700 swine, 20,000 poultry chicks, 125 sheep and 30 quarter horses on campus every day.

“The Pre-Veterinary Club exposes our students to a broad spectrum of animals and health care”, said Jennifer Artinian, club president and a senior animal science and pre-veterinary major. “We’re fortunate to have a campus farm that has a broad focus on animal sciences, as well as a network of area professionals that serve as mentors for our students.”