It’s reading week for students at Lakeland College and while many use this time to relax and take a break from studies, a few of those in the animal health technology (AHT) program are taking advantage and heading out on a field trip to a veterinary conference in the United States.
The Western Veterinary Conference, held in Las Vegas, is one of the largest in North America and will give participants a chance to attend trade shows, listen to guest speakers and network with accomplished veterinarians.
“Each student has there own area of interest. Some are more interested in doing horse work or small animals like dogs and cats, so there are opportunities for all of them. And they can really start to learn more about what the latest technology is or even some newer things people are doing,” said Brianne Bellwood, program co-ordinator for AHT.
She said sitting in on some of the sessions, having the chance to talk to veterinarians and learning about the new products that are available are good ways for them to learn more about the trade and possibly consider career paths they may want to follow after graduation.
The trip goes from Feb. 15 until Feb. 20 and because of the large scale of the conference, Bellwood feels it’s almost not enough time for students to experience everything it has to offer.
“It’s really just so much to see,” she said. “The four days is almost not enough to get all of it in, so it’s a great opportunity for them.”
This is the second year AHT students have taken the trip. And because it’s extracurricular, they had to raise the money themselves. Some of their fundraisers included bake sales, bottle drives, selling poinsettias at Christmas and a successful online t-shirt campaign.
“Last year, was the first year that we did that,” Bellwood said. “Our next batch of second years that are coming up for next year are already talking about it. Maybe this same type of trip or maybe they might want to do something kind of different.”
Being that the conference is taking place in Sin City there might be a temptation to visit the strip and try some luck at the tables. Bellwood said only three of them are 21 and over though, so it looks like this will just be a learning experience for most of the AHT crew.