“I know for myself that when I took part in the mentoring program as a student, it was the awareness of knowing what other options there are and what else I can get my hands on and familiarize myself with different areas of the profession. “Said Alumni and Speaker Relations Director Cassie Wagner at DVM ’13, MPH ’13.
The mentoring program in its current form started in 2003. Schmitz played a key role in rethinking the structure of the program in order to involve the students more closely. “I developed the mentoring program from the vision of how the VVMA would like to be more closely connected with the students. I took over what we already had – a VVMA presence at the in autumn [Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine] Event – and started the mentoring program in collaboration with so many at [Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine] To make it possible.”
Bill Tyrrell DVM ’92 has been involved in the mentoring program since changing course in 2003. Since then, over five of his former mentees are now cardiologists and currently two of his three interns were previously his mentees.
“The contacts I made through the mentoring program drove me and my Cardiac Care for Pets (CVCA) clinic to recruit top residents,” said Tyrrell. “It gave me a truly symbiotic opportunity to give something back to the job, [Virginia Tech]to college and also to benefit from the incredible student contacts that were made in building the program. ”
While the benefits for students are numerous, it is perhaps the symbiotic nature that makes the mentoring program so successful.
“I can’t think of a better way to give back to veterinary medicine than by participating in it [Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine] Mentor program, “said Jay Margolis, former president of the VVMA.” The program enables members of the VVMA to [Maryland Veterinary Medical Association], and [District of Columbia Veterinary Medical Association] direct contact with veterinary students and enables us to offer our experience and advice as the students want and need. I have had students work in my hospitals who stay with me at home and I always try to be an open book for guidance and advice on a class, case, or just how to deal with the stress that we all feel daily. The program also allows me to stay up to date on what’s going on in the veterinary training and meet other mentors from the area. “
Schmitz went into the benefits for mentors. “It’s a one-way street,” said Schmitz. “Mentors can learn from students, and we want to connect with the future of veterinary medicine. Veterinary medicine changes daily so that students can apply what they have learned in their practice. “
This symbiosis encourages the mentees to return and act as mentors, which further strengthens the longevity of the mentoring program. Swecker, who has participated as a mentee throughout her entire time at the veterinary college, said: “I am also very excited to be a mentor one day, as I have seen the effects of the program.”