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Impact of the Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine's Boiler Vet Camp on participants' knowledge of veterinary medicine

James L. Weisman DVM1, Sandra F. Amass DVM, PhD, DABVP2,3, and Joshua D. Warren BS4
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  • 1 Office of the Dean, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907.
  • | 2 Office of the Dean, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907.
  • | 3 Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907.
  • | 4 School of Veterinary Medicine, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907.

Abstract

Objective—To assess whether Boiler Vet Camp, a 7-day residential summer camp for students entering eighth or ninth grade in the fall, would increase participants' understanding of career options in the veterinary profession, increase understanding of the science of veterinary medicine, or increase the number of students stating that they intended to apply to the Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine.

Design—Survey.

Sample—48 individuals attending the 2009 Boiler Vet Camp.

Procedures—Information on participant demographics was obtained from camp applications. A questionnaire was administered on the first and sixth days of camp, and results were analyzed to identify changes in responses over time.

Results—More campers correctly answered questions designed to evaluate knowledge of the veterinary profession and 10 of 12 questions designed to evaluate specific knowledge of the science of veterinary medicine on day 6, compared with day 1. Remarkable differences were not observed among gender or race-ethnicity groups for these questions. There was no significant difference between percentages of campers who stated that they would apply to Purdue before and after camp. Significantly more Caucasian campers stated they would apply to Purdue on both day 1 and day 6, compared with campers from under-represented minority groups.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results indicated that the Boiler Vet Camp accomplished 2 of its 3 planned objectives, suggesting that such camps can be successfully used to increase knowledge of the veterinary profession among middle school students. Reasons for the low percentage of participants from underrepresented minorities who indicated they would apply to the Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine require further exploration.

Abstract

Objective—To assess whether Boiler Vet Camp, a 7-day residential summer camp for students entering eighth or ninth grade in the fall, would increase participants' understanding of career options in the veterinary profession, increase understanding of the science of veterinary medicine, or increase the number of students stating that they intended to apply to the Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine.

Design—Survey.

Sample—48 individuals attending the 2009 Boiler Vet Camp.

Procedures—Information on participant demographics was obtained from camp applications. A questionnaire was administered on the first and sixth days of camp, and results were analyzed to identify changes in responses over time.

Results—More campers correctly answered questions designed to evaluate knowledge of the veterinary profession and 10 of 12 questions designed to evaluate specific knowledge of the science of veterinary medicine on day 6, compared with day 1. Remarkable differences were not observed among gender or race-ethnicity groups for these questions. There was no significant difference between percentages of campers who stated that they would apply to Purdue before and after camp. Significantly more Caucasian campers stated they would apply to Purdue on both day 1 and day 6, compared with campers from under-represented minority groups.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results indicated that the Boiler Vet Camp accomplished 2 of its 3 planned objectives, suggesting that such camps can be successfully used to increase knowledge of the veterinary profession among middle school students. Reasons for the low percentage of participants from underrepresented minorities who indicated they would apply to the Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine require further exploration.

Contributor Notes

Mr. Warren was a third-year veterinary student at the time of the study.

The 2009 Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine's Boiler Vet Camp was supported by the Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine Office of the Dean, Purdue University Office of the Provost, Indiana Veterinary Medical Association, Indiana Animal Health Foundation, Webster Veterinary, Fair Oaks Farms, Indiana Pork, Indiana Horse Council, Indiana Agriculture Association, Harlan, Indiana Farm Bureau, Indiana Association of Equine Practitioners, North East Indiana Veterinary Medical Association, Southwestern Indiana Veterinary Medical Association, and Michiana Veterinary Medical Association.

The authors thank Barbara E. Cochran of the Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine for assistance in performing the study and Rebecca K. Hershey of the Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine for assistance in developing camp objectives and designing the study.

Address correspondence to Dr. Weisman (jweisman@purdue.edu).