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.
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.
Objective—To determine the impact of gender and race-ethnicity on reasons applicants to the Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine decided to pursue a career in veterinary medicine and their career aspirations.
Design—Retrospective cross-sectional study.
Sample—Personal statements from 694 veterinary medical school applications submitted in 2008.
Procedures—Personal statements were read by investigators to identify the turning point for each applicant's decision to pursue a career in veterinary medicine and each applicant's intended career path.
Results—Veterinary practice experience and animal ownership were the most frequently stated reasons for pursuing a veterinary career; differences were not identified between males and females. More Caucasian applicants than underrepresented minority (URM) applicants stated veterinary practice experience and more URM applicants than Caucasian applicants cited animal ownership as a reason for pursuing a veterinary career. Many applicants did not cite a specific career path within veterinary medicine; applicants who indicated a career path most often cited veterinary practice. More females than males stated an interest in equine medicine, and more Caucasian applicants than URM applicants indicated an interest in mixed animal practice. More URM applicants than Caucasian applicants indicated a desire to pursue specialty training.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggested that veterinary practice experience and animal ownership were important factors influencing applicants' decision to pursue a veterinary career, but many applicants had not selected a specific career path. Opportunities exist to influence the decisions of individuals to become veterinarians and the selection of specific career paths within the veterinary profession.