Future Day is a yearly event hosted here at UC Davis by the Veterinary Student Outreach Club for high school students to come and learn about veterinary medicine. It is an all day event, with breakfast and lunch provided. The kids are broken into 6 groups and rotate through stations, each demonstrating a different field in vet med. Outreach is something that I’m very passionate about, and so I signed on as co-president with another first year last September. Being co-president means that I was intimately involved with every step of planning and putting together this amazing event. It took place this past Sunday, the 2nd, and involved a lot of hard work – all of which was totally worth it.
We had demonstrations from Pathology Club (with actual path specimens, including a brain and a goat head!), Farm Club (with a super cute little lamb with casts on her front 2 legs), Avian and Exotic Medicine Club (and Melanie, our resident cockatoo as well as someone’s pet snake – the kids got to handle both), Wildlife and Aquatic Medicine Club (they did comparative skeletal anatomy, including a rhinoceros skull), Veterinary Emergency Response Team (with a horse in a sling), and … Lab Animal Medicine Club. The lab animal club gives a talk every year, but this year the guy who has done it for the past few years wasn’t available on the date, and so it fell to me. I am absolutely terrified of public speaking, but knew that I needed to get over it and talk about the field of medicine that I am the most passionate about and that is the most misunderstood. So I put together a presentation and gave my talk, got the kids really involved by asking them tons of questions, and I think it went well. I was super nervous and spoke entirely too fast in the beginning, but that’s okay.
The day went extremely smoothly, from check-in and material distribution (schedule, map, evaluation form, information about college and vet school, handouts from each club), to meals and walking them all over campus in their groups. I was very pleased with our turnout of about 80 kids with some parents. The best part of the day happened when everything was done and a young girl (about 15 or 16) approached me to ask if she could speak to me. We sat down on a couch in Valley, and she told me that she always felt that animal research was wrong and cruel, but that I had changed her mind and she wanted more information. She asked tons of questions, and seemed really excited. She had to leave when her mom became slightly impatient, but she asked for my e-mail address and I gladly gave it to her.
My talk actually changed at least one person’s mind about the field of lab animal medicine. I cannot explain what an amazing feeling that is!! That’s what it’s all about, and it made all of the hard work and all of the butterflies in my stomach totally worth it. :)