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Entries in ross university (7)


When it hit me: I’m a first year vet student

Entry, Foot in Mouth Disease
Terra Berardi, Ross


It hit me when formaldehyde,

began to smell like home.

It hit me while my brother was eating chicken,

and I proceeded to tell them about the muscles and bones.

It hit me when I acquired a million pets,

that I meant to only foster.

It hit me when I used words like “distal” and “proximal,”

to give driving directions to my father.

It hit me when I forgot,

what having a social life means.

It hit me when every study break involved,

the consumption of caffeine.

But it hit the most when I sat down,

to write this submission,

because it was a way of feeling productive,

while procrastinating on my study of nutrition. 


On an Island Being the Change You Wish to See in the World

Winner, Experiences
Meghan Ruck, Ross

Ross University’s School of Veterinary Medicine’s Josh Project chapter has a very unique opportunity here in St. Kitts.  We are given the chance to personally visit the children that are receiving care in the Joseph N. France General Hospital’s pediatric ward and impact their lives directly.  Each of our “Josh Kit” donation visits to the hospital comes with its own set of memories and emotions.

When we give each child their “Josh Kit” for the first time, it is truly heart-warming to see their eyes light up and a huge smile flash across their face as they are introduce to their new friend “Josh”, the plush toy Golden Retriever.  It’s a special connection that you make in those moments; one that you feel when they trustingly place their hand in your hand to walk with them down the ward hall to the play/reading room for story time.

I’ve been so blessed to be able to soak up these beautiful moments for over two years now as I’ve done everything in my power in making sure that these opportunities remain possible for our Josh Project chapter, allowing us to continue to impact the lives of the children here in St. KittsMy role has been much like that of a symphony conductor, being responsible for communicating, leading, and guiding an orchestra of performers; together we create music.  By successfully unifying many amazing “performers” across the RUSVM and St. Kitts communities, as a partnership, we have been successful every semester in executing our fundraising events (Josh Project Coin Fundraiser, Josh Project Cook Off, RUSVM fleece sale, etc.) that fuel our abilities.

It was these very partnerships that brought us to one of Josh Project’s greatest achievements.

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If She Only Had a Brain

Entry, Experiences
Becky Zaremba, Ross University

During my undergraduate time at Purdue University I took a summer volunteer position at the large animal teaching hospital which allowed me to shadow clinicians as well as become familiar with basic veterinary skills. Since I was interested in pursuing a career in equine practice this is what was referred to as “a good life choice”! The poor life choice that followed was that I hadn’t invested in a Dorland’s Medical Dictionary sooner and, like most vet students, I had a hyperactive baby animal gene.

During one of my rotations, a four day old American Mini filly presented with a fist sized mass on the dorsal aspect of her skull. After further evaluation the mass was identified as a meningocele. A neurologic exam indicated that she had ataxia of all four limbs and that her vision was incomplete. Otherwise, she acted as if she was a normal healthy foal, but was not sufficiently nursing from a bottle as she was donated to the university as an orphan. A nasogastric tube was placed and a CT scan was scheduled in order to more closely examine the meningocele. The CT scan is when I truly became involved in the case as it was, hands down, the most interesting thing I had yet to encounter in veterinary medicine.

The CT scan had revealed that the meningocele contained brain tissue and fluid. The clinicians on the case had started discussing options for the filly and at that point they were unsure if there was anything that they would be able to do.

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Winner, Creative Corner
Mandy Valin, Ross



African Conservation Experience

Entry, Experiences
Julia Kochan, Ross University

This certainly was an experience – a veterinary experience? Questionable. Although I went into this trip expecting “the unexpected,” knowing full well that you cannot create medical emergencies out of thin air, I did not expect the extreme excess of down-time that we experienced through ACE. Most of our time was spent doing game capture, which was fun for maybe the first 2 hours. Overall though, we probably spent a majority of our time running curtains across a “boma” – or in lay terms, a device created to “funnel” wild antelopes into a truck. Again, seeing the animals was fun and exciting, but that wore off after about 2 or 3 hours. The veterinarian that was in charge of our trip allegedly “dropped” us, and we were left in the hands of Boondocks, the animal capture and relocation company. Countless hours were spend napping in a lodge with no electricity, and no access to anything outside of the game reserve.  I think in lieu of our expected cancellation from the veterinarian that ACE could have stepped up to the plate and taken us around to do some sightseeing or visit some local parks – we are in Africa after all.
After spending over $5000 US, we did deserve some activity other than playing cards in a lodge.  However, I can’t completely bash this trip, because we did do a few veterinary-related procedures.  An injured lioness was treated, under the supervision of another veterinarian with a group of Ross students, which we soon became envious of.  There was another time we tagged along with that group of students to dart and move some sable and perform an arthrotomy on a Rhino. We did some individual translocation of some large antelope on our own, and we found some time to perform necropsies on two springbok.  So the whole trip wasn’t a complete waste, we did have a few isolated veterinary experiences. However, Boondocks treated us like children, did not allow us to casually drink or do anything social, and talked down to us as if we were “beneath them” and not there to participate in a work experience that we had paid for.  I would not recommend this company to Ross students looking for a veterinary experience. Wildlife Vets and another smaller veterinary group had much more veterinary experiences, were treated well, and left wanting to go back. Unfortunately, I left with no intention of returning to Africa, which was very disappointing.