29 May Reflecting on My WVMA Executive Board Term
By Michelle Hintz, WVMA Student Representative
When reflecting back on the last three years of my veterinary education, the first thought that comes to mind is, “Where did the time go?” It’s hard to believe all that has happened in the last few years and the experiences yet to come as a fourth-year student in clinics and on externships. Although the last few months have been full of disappointment after disappointment because of the COVID-19 pandemic, I am lucky to be part of a resilient class of veterinary students who have been encouraging each other all the way.
I am also fortunate to have had the experience of serving as the student representative for the WVMA. Although this was certainly one of those experiences where I was forcing myself out of my comfort zone to practice my communication skills, I got to know many great veterinarians from all over the state while doing so. This experience gave me more insight as to what issues our current veterinarians in the field are concerned about and how the WVMA deals with them. Whether it is obtaining legal information on talking to clients about cannabinoids for their pets or supporting veterinarians on a government task force, the WVMA keeps the veterinary community informed.
The WVMA has also given me and other veterinary students at the UW School of Veterinary Medicine many opportunities to expand our learning, networking and hands-on skills. Some examples include networking dinners at various clinics, Vets to Vets lunch talks, small- and large-animal wet labs, field trips to clinics to learn about emergency veterinary medicine, and a tour of the American Foods processing plant. Throughout these experiences we made connections with many different veterinarians in the field who showed us what their careers look like. These may seem like minute interactions between veterinarians and students, but they all add up and give the students a broader sense of how they can practice veterinary medicine or use their degree in the future. I have received comments from students saying they were glad they came to these events because of what they learned and the connections they made.
Thank you to the WVMA and all veterinarians that have been there to help further students’ skills and knowledge in veterinarian medicine! After seeing the support and information that the WVMA strives to give our veterinarians, my goal is to stay involved after graduation.