Thirty-six Southwest District 4-H students recently spent a day at the College of Veterinary Medicine's Tifton campus as part of 4-H Veterinary Science Career Exploration Day. The students ranged in age from 13-18, grades 7-12 and were from 14 counties in Southwest Georgia, including Bainbridge and Valdosta. 

While on-site, they participated in hands-on lab experiences in the CVM's Tifton Veterinary Diagnostic Lab, rotating through four diagnostic stations where they learned how to assist in the calving process via a simulator to identifying viruses and examining bacteria from swabs taken from their own pets. During the afternoon session they heard from the staff in the Office of Academic Affairs on topics such as admissions, experts in the field and options for undergraduate degrees such as biology and animal science.

"It's so important to begin early education of our young people on the importance and excitement of a career in veterinary medicine," said Lee Jones, associate professor of population health in the College of Veterinary Medicine and one of the organizers of the 4-H event. "There are so many facets and career paths that can be taken in veterinary medicine, we wanted to give students a highly interactive and real world look at everything that they could explore as part of career in veterinary medicine."  

Melinda Miller, Southwest District 4-H Program Development Coordinator who helped plan the career day added, "We are grateful for the opportunity to expose 4-H'ers to the resources of the University of Georgia CVM in Tifton.  This day was truly experiential learning at its finest, and I am confident we will follow some of these youth as they embark on the veterinarian pathway to completion."

The first-time event was co-sponsored by the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine and the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Cooperative Extension Georgia 4-H program.