CVM open house attracts almost 4,000 visitors


Alex Long (back, left) looks on as (left to right) Maddi Capps, Abby Hood and Addi Capps from Mooreville Elementary School present a bulldog to Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine student Janet Koester. Koester and her classmates tended to injured toys on April 13 at the teddy bear clinic, part of CVM's annual open house celebration. PHOTO: Tom Thompson | MSU College of Veterinary Medicine

The Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine's open house attracted almost 4,000 visitors on April 13 and 14.

The open house offered hands-on activities, such as a petting zoo and a microscope station, as well as guided tours and educational exhibits and presentations on veterinary science and animal safety.

Jenny Sowell, a second-year student of CVM and vice-president of the CVM class of 2014, said a major goal of the open house is to inform while entertaining the attendees.

"The wonderful thing about the CVM Open House is that it serves many purposes. Our main goal is to expose children to the world of veterinary medicine, along with teaching them about important topics, such as how to wash hands properly and how to approach a dog safely," Sowell said. "We also want to open our doors and encourage students to consider the field of veterinary medicine as a possible career."

Sowell attended the CVM open house as a child and said the experience helped her realize her passion for working with animals.

"The entire experience was something that I remember very vividly and definitely played a role in my decision to become a veterinarian and attend MSU," she said. "My hope for this year's open house is that it will have that same impact on the children that attend and that we make a lasting impression when it comes to the importance of animal care and public health."

Gary J. Burt, assistant clinical professor and director of the Animal Health Center, said the CVM students were largely responsible for planning and hosting the open house.

"This was almost completely a product of the students' ideas and hard work," he said. "Every year, they plan it, they coordinate it -- they really pour a ton of effort into making this an event CVM can be proud of."

Sowell and fellow class of 2014 student Steven Davison served as the student coordinators for the open house and organized other students into committees for each area of the event.

"Because this is a student-led event, it really takes a lot of teamwork to make it successful," she said. "It is so amazing to see everyone come together to make the open house an unforgettable experience for those who attend."

Brandi Van Ormer, CVM director of communications, said every school in Mississippi was invited to attend the open house.

"We invited all the schools, and it looks like a good number of them showed up," she said. "We didn't have the open house last year due to building renovations, so this year we came back with a bang."

Rylee Chisolm, a third-grader from South Pontotoc Elementary School, said her favorite part of the open house was the teddy bear clinic, a station where visitors could drop off stuffed animals to be stitched up, cleaned and ready for pickup at the end of the visit.

Jaden Thomas, a first-grader from East Oktibbeha County School, enjoyed the livestock at the open house. He said he would like to pet the cow on exhibit but was relieved he did not have to examine the animal.

"Maybe I'll do that one day when I'm a real vet, but not today," he said.

Kaitlyn Byrne | MSU Ag Communications

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