Each semester, we are required to complete a Veterinary Oral Communication Exercise (VOCE) video to practice conveying information to clients about their pet's health. My topic this semester involved a dog that was brought in because the owner noticed that he had been losing weight and was sleeping a lot. Upon auscultation with a stethoscope a continuous heart murmur was heard.
A heart murmur indicates turbulent blood flow. Heart murmurs are generally categorised by timing and are defined as being either systolic or diastolic heart murmurs. However, continuous murmurs cannot be directly placed into either category. Continuous murmurs are due to blood flow from a high-pressure chamber or vessel to a lower-pressure system and the main causes are:
During my first semester in vet school, I had to complete a Veterinary Oral Communications Exercise (VOCE) video for a class assignment. The aim of these exercises is to develop an appreciation of the importance of communication in veterinary practice and to practice verbal communication skills. My assigned topic was Periodontal Disease in Dogs.
My video can be viewed below.
Six months after completing my REU at La Selva Biological Station in Costa Rica, I can now reflect on my experiences in the jungle and appreciate all that the program has done for me. I am now a first year Doctor of Veterinary Medicine student at the University of Melbourne, and I know that my research experience last summer strengthened my graduate school applications and contributed to my acceptance into one of the best universities in the world.
What is an REU? REU stands for Research Experiences for Undergraduates, and they are funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). My program in particular was also supported by Duke University and the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP). These programs occur during the summer and are aimed at students who are interested in conducting scientific research at a graduate level.
REU Programs are offered around the United States, and in some cases (like mine) institutions will fund research outside the country. Each institution that hosts an REU program has the freedom to make the experience unique, however, there are many similarities across all of them. Each student works under the guidance of an advisor on a project that can be finished by the end of the summer (most programs last about 10 weeks).
My Experience: My REU project was titled Social organization in day and night roosts of the Proboscis Bat (Rhynchonycteris naso). I was given the opportunity to spend a summer in the tropical rainforest of Costa Rica studying Bat behavior. Leaving the city of Los Angeles where buildings and cement surrounded me, and spending the summer in the forests of Costa Rica where you can see beautiful animals and plants everywhere you look made this a dream internship for a young zoologist like myself. This internship taught me so much about how to be a successful researcher and carry out a scientific experiment.
Benefits of an REU: Not only do REU Programs give you the chance to get to know students with similar interests from across the nation while living in a new city for a couple of months, they also give you insight into the life of graduate school. You will strengthen your research, team working, writing, and presentation skills. After completing the project, I presented our research at four national and regional conferences, providing me with further networking opportunities.
In summary, participating in a summer research program was a blast! I made memories and friendships with my fellow interns that I will forever cherish. Plus I strengthened my academic and research skills, as well as my resume and graduate school application. For anyone looking for research experience in the field of ecology, I would highly recommend the REU through the Organisation for Tropical Studies at La Selva Biological Station. Field projects cover a wide range of topics including botany, invertebrate and vertebrate zoology, and behavioral ecology. The program is run incredibly well with mentors and a coordinator whom are passionate about helping students reach their full potential within the program.
As I prepare to embark on a journey to complete a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree, it is encouraging to see the increasing respect of veterinarians in the medical community, as well as future collaborative opportunities.
What do you call a veterinarian that can only take care of one species? A physician. In a fascinating talk, Barbara Natterson-Horowitz shares how a species-spanning approach to health can improve medical care of the human animal — particularly when it comes to mental health.
Source: TED talk
I presented my research on the Social organization in day and night roosts of the Proboscis Bat (Rhynchonycteris naso) at the Southern California Conference for Undergraduate Research (SCCUR) at California State University, Fullerton on November 22nd, 2014.
I presented at 7 conferences in 2014.
For more information and to view my abstract, click here.