ENGAGING ASPIRING VETERINARIANS THROUGH 4-H SUMMER CAMP C.L. Woodard, Seminole County 4-H Extension Agent, Seminole County, Sanford, FL, J.K. Yarborough, UF/IFAS Extension, Seminole County, Sanford, FL., S.T. Michael, F/IFAS Extension, Central District, FL. A.M. House, UF CVM, Gainesville, FL.
Situation: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics employment in S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) careers is projected to grow to more than 9 million between 2012 and 2022 with Veterinarians having an occupational growth rate of 19%; that’s 12% higher than the average projected growth rate for jobs. The Seminole County 4-H Veterinary Science Camp was designed in an effort to meet the needs of urban and suburban youth interested in animal science and STEM careers. Objectives of the camp focused on increasing awareness of careers in Agriscience, STEM, and Veterinary Medicine.
Methods: Each day of camp focused on a different specialty in Veterinary Medicine; Exotics, Equine, Livestock, and Small Animal. Youth spoke with professionals and veterinarians from County Animal Services, private practices, Yarborough Ranch, FDACS, and The Central Florida Zoo. Youth completed hands on learning labs including: fecal floats, x-rays, suturing, injections, and vitals. Finally, campers spent the day with Dr. Amanda House from the UF’s College of Veterinary Medicine. Campers toured UF’s Animal Hospitals, spoke with current veterinary students, and heard the college’s recruitment specialist.
Results: 100% of participants strongly agreed that they had increased their knowledge of careers in the Animal Industry, Agriculture, Veterinary Science and STEM. 92% of participants reported intending to enroll in STEM related courses in school. Participants reported an increased interest in: animal research, large animal surgery, wildlife medicine, equine medicine, radiology, shelter medicine, and agriculture.
Conclusion: As a continuation of this camp, a Veterinary Science SPIN club was developed for the current 4-H year. The club meets quarterly for three hours of educational instruction. Of the youth enrolled in the SPIN club, 86% (19 of 22) are new 4-H members. The majority of these new 4-H members first experience with 4-H was through this Veterinary Science Camp.