The 10th grade of the Department of Veterinary Medicine at Utah State University has arrived at USU. After a week of orientation work and the ceremonial handover of their white lab coats on August 19th, the 30 incoming students are ready for the challenge of becoming veterinarians.
Aimee Thompson has been looking forward to USU for years.
“I applied to USU because it was my top program,” said Thompson. “I’ve been looking at USU since I was in seventh grade, and back then I actually took pictures outside the veterinary science building. I learned about the program from a family who lived here when the program started. It’s nice to be close to Nevada, where I’m from, and on a great program that I’m familiar with. “
USU’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine is part of the Washington-Idaho-Montana-Utah (WIMU) regional program. Students from the Utah State School of Veterinary Medicine spend their first two years in Logan before moving to the Pullman campus of Washington State University, where they focus on clinical work and specializations, and complete their PhD in Veterinary Medicine.
Another new student, Austin Haws, cites his love for Cache Valley, the school divide, and the program’s rigorous reputation as the reason for his application.
“I know several people who went through the program and even worked with some of them, like Dr. Kyle Heaton, Dr. Dalen Wood. and Dr. Michala Lindley, “said Haws. “You weren’t at the USU site, but you had great things to say about the program in general. I also like the two-year split, hands-on experience, and small class size. It just sounded very exciting. “
While the visit to the state of Utah and the WIMU regional program marks a new chapter in the lives of many of the class by 2025, for some it is also a connection to family and past.
“My mother is a nurse, so I have a medical background,” Thompson said. “But I also have a deep passion for animals. My family has owned a ranch in Nevada since the 1870s, and I’m sixth generation, so animals have always been a big part of me. More importantly, I live in a very rural community where the nearest medical help for humans or animals is at least an hour and a half away. Hence, I also have a desire to help underserved communities in rural areas and improve human and animal health like. “
Michael Bishop, Director of Student and Academic Affairs for the USU School of Veterinary Medicine, has seen the WIMU program grow over the years and interacted with many students. He notes that while the program has expanded to include new areas of veterinary knowledge, as well as topics such as communication, conflict resolution, and finance and business, the talent of the students continues to fuel the program.
“They are a great group of people to work with and it’s both interesting and rewarding to be part of this phase of their professional journey,” said Bishop. “It’s a transformative experience that affects you not only on an intellectual level, but also emotionally, socially, professionally, spiritually and even physically.”
While competition for the limited number of veterinary programs in the U.S. is fierce, the state of Utah emphasizes collaboration and collaboration once students arrive in Logan. Orientation offers from icebreakers and high ropes courses to exercises to determine personal strengths help the incoming class group before the school year really begins.
“Everyone keeps mentioning that this is going to be a family,” Haws said during a networking dinner for students and faculty. “I think this will be true. We will have real camaraderie between us and grow and thrive as a cohesive entity. And I think it’s going to be really cool. “