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Entries in Externship (22)


The Veterinary Student Externship You Didn’t Know You Needed

By Dilara Kiran, September 2018 AVMA GRD Extern and Combined DVM/PhD Student at Colorado State University

Have you ever found yourself itching for more, for the chance to make a broader impact on the veterinary profession and to get outside the clinic walls? That’s how I felt when I learned about the AVMA Government Relations Division (GRD) Externship. The externship came highly recommended to me from a classmate and seemed like a great fit. I was disgruntled with the current political climate, was hitting roadblocks in my PhD research, and was tired of sitting in the same veterinary school classroom. I yearned to be able to apply the clinical medicine and basic science I was learning through my combined degree program in a new way. 

Exceeding Expectations
After I was accepted, I looked forward to my externship block for months. I knew I would be spending four weeks in Washington D.C., that I would learn more about policy issues impacting the veterinary profession, and that I would be able to meet veterinarians working in “non-traditional” veterinary fields. I came to D.C. as a sponge, ready to throw myself into all activities and soak up as much new information as I could. Ultimately, this externship exceeded all my expectations. From navigating Washington D.C. (despite the rain and humidity), to drafting documents for members of Congress to advocate for veterinary-related issues, to meeting leading public health veterinarians, I loved every minute. The experience was not just about policy and advocacy, it was about exposing myself to the range of possibilities offered to veterinarians and the many doors that a veterinary degree can open post-graduation.

The Highlight Reel
There were so many incredible things I got to do during my time at the AVMA that I could write a blog post about each one. To keep this post within a reasonable limit, I’ll highlight some of the most impactful moments:

  • Pet Night on Capitol Hill
  • Farm Bill Conference Committee Hearing
  • Meeting about the National Bio and Agro-defense Facility (NBAF)
  • Meeting both of my senator
  • Meeting all veterinarians who are current members of Congress
  • Smithsonian Outbreak Exhibit

All Students Should Apply for This Externship
I believe that this externship is for more than just the student interested in policy. This externship was about building connections and finding passion and meaning in veterinary medicine. It was about being inspired by the veterinary community, learning the importance of my voice, and finding value in being involved and giving back to my profession in diverse ways. I saw the intersection of policy, advocacy, government, and public health in a way I never would have experienced at my own institution. These are the opportunities not found in a textbook, in the classroom, or in a surgery suite.

What Can You Do Now to Have an Impact?
I urge all my fellow students to explore unique opportunities and take chances. You never know who you will meet or how a month of experiences will change your outlook. While the deadline for this year’s AVMA GRD externship application has passed, and while you may not be able to make it to Washington D.C., I would encourage you to be involved. There are outlets such as becoming a member of the electronic AVMA Congressional Advocacy Network, learning about the AVMA Political Action Committee, and attending state VMA Advocacy Training, that can allow you to be more informed on pertinent policy issues in veterinary medicine. There are multiple externship opportunities outside of traditional private practice through government agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control, National Institutes of Health, USDA, and through AVMA, which allow you to gain experiences that are not available within a clinical setting and are valuable for perspective-building, even if you pursue a practice-based career. 

Excitement for The Future
I strive to bridge gaps between veterinary and human medicine through my understanding of clinical practice and basic research science. The AVMA GRD externship expanded my professional network of individuals I can contact for advice and encouragement as I navigate a non-traditional career pathway in veterinary medicine. It opened my eyes to the impact of policy, not only related to animal health, but related to tax, healthcare, and education, on the veterinary profession. This experience exposed me to career opportunities that I had not previously considered and helped solidify that I am following the path I was meant to follow in veterinary medicine. I came back to Colorado excited and energized for my future, and I hope that you, reading this, will be encouraged to pursue opportunities that make you feel the same.

Dilara Kiran, AVMA Extern, in front of the AVMA GRD officeAVMA Externs Dilara Kiran and Erin Beasley with Representative Kurt Schrader (OR), one of three veterinarians in Congress













The winner of the “cutest dog” contest at Pet Night on Capitol HillLarge mosquito replica at the Outbreak Exhibit at the Museum of Natural HistoryDilara Kiran, AVMA Extern, with the Capitol Building



AVMA GRD Externship


AVMA Government Relations
Student Externship Program
AVMA Government Relations Division 

Are you a veterinary student who wants to impact public policy and expand your professional network? You may be interested in the AVMA’s 2019 Government Relations Student Externship Program!

During the four-week program, students live in Washington, D.C. and learn more about public policy issues facing the veterinary profession. Externs will work with AVMA’s government relations team to perform tasks such as educating congressional staffers on the AVMA’s legislative priorities, attending congressional hearings and briefings, and meeting with a variety of veterinarians in sectors of the federal government and nonprofit organizations. During their externships, students will discover the scope of veterinary medicine in government and expand their understanding of the legislative process.

Applications are due October 12, 2018. Please visit the AVMA website for application information and if you have any questions please email or call 800.321.1473.


AVMA Headquarters Externship

Get a new perspective on veterinary medicine with an AVMA student externship opportunity. The deadline is quickly approaching on January 18th for the AVMA Headquarters Externship, so apply soon here.



Thailand Inspiration

Jessica Schuster - Ohio State

V:50 I:4 Experiences


      Five years ago I went through an unexpected and life-changing event that nearly cost me my life, and since that day I have achieved goals beyond which I ever thought I could. I went to college to become a veterinary technician and follow my dream to one day become a veterinarian, I traveled with every chance I had to places all around the world, and took hold of all the opportunities I could. I’ve been snorkeling in the Caribbean, horseback riding through the jungle, and swam with dolphins. I’ve scaled the Mayan Ruins, gone cave tubing, and witnessed rare and exotic creatures. I’ve had more amazing experiences than I could ever tell you in one paper, all because I made one simple promise to myself when this all began five years ago - to never let any opportunity slip through my fingers that I would later regret, because I see everyday as a chance to become more than I was yesterday. And everyday to me, especially after nearly losing all of my chances, is another possibility to live life to its fullest.

            Little did I know, that dream I had since I could remember – the dream to one day become a veterinarian – would indeed one day become more of a prospect than a figment of my imagination. Almost exactly two years ago today, I walked through the doors of The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine, the most nervous I’d ever been in all my life, to present myself as a potential future colleague. Also little did I know that one of my first professors at this college would later become more of a friend and a mentor, who I would travel with all the way on the other side of the world, to offer me more once-in-a-lifetime experiences. So now this brings me to my most recent journey, one of many more I hope, that has offered me so much more than I ever imagined possible – my trip to Thailand.

            It’s not easy to limit a voyage such as this one to a single paper, as I’m sure I could write a whole novel on the experience, but as I ponder this I realize that our journey together could simply be described by three words: Acceptance, Compassion, Inspiration.

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Animal Medical Center

Katheryn Johnson - Ross



Honk…Sirens…Cold dry air. My surroundings over whelm my senses as I find myself in the “Big Apple”, New York City. I walk to the Animal Medical Center (AMC) for my first day of a two week externship…

            What started out as a work horse parade event in 1907, to promote prevention of animal cruelty to animals by the Women’s Auxiliary, has evolved into the Animal Medical Center. They treat more than 30,000 animal cases a year. The hospital is equipped with specialty departments, a full staff of 70 Veterinarians, and treats small animals from dogs and cats to exotics like reptiles. I will share with you what AMC has to offer, what I learned there, and amazing people and opportunities it provides. Let’s first take a look at why the AMC has a diverse and numerous case load.

            The Animal Medical Center has specialty department and services to fit the needs of each patient and client that comes. There are numerous specialties offered, some of which include: avian and exotics, cardiology, dentistry, dermatology, oncology, radiology, internal medicine, neurology, ophthalmology, surgery, and rehabilitation and fitness, and more. All of these departments see a vast diversity of animal cases and provide the best treatment possible. AMC has state of the art equipment to provide proper diagnostics and testing. They have two digital radiology suites, ultra sound machines, five operating rooms with several top anesthesia machines, endoscopy suit, and more. The hospital provides emergency and critical care that is open 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. The hospital not only provides amazing veterinary care to its patients, but provides vet students with a great opportunity for learning. Here is what I took away from my time there.

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