Middle school students explored veterinary science as a possible career in a week-long 4-H Veterinary Science Day Camp conducted by Hawai‘i County 4-H Extension agent Becky Settlage in Hilo in July. CTAHR’s Extension veterinarian Jenee Odani, local and state veterinarians, and a couple of UH student assistants also helped to lead the program. With their love of animals and desire to help them, the thirteen youth had a strong interest in this career, and this program definitely increased their interest!
Participants, ranging from 11 to 13 years, jumped right in, discovering career options in working with animals and finding out what a veterinarian does. They learned skills needed to land an entry-level job in a vet clinic, such as completing resumes and doing mock interviews, and honed good communication skills on the phone and in person with practice situations. Campers engaged with technology through online research and virtual behind-the-scenes tours of veterinary offices, while hands-on activities helped to engage them and cemented the learning they got through lectures.
Jenee and a former student assistant, Blaine Ishizu, taught campers how to give intramuscular and subcutaneous injections, scrub for surgeries and put on surgical gloves, prep slides for fecal exams, and use a microscope. Campers also learned about internal and external parasites. The last day campers learned about disaster preparedness and the job of a state veterinarian, and they got to explore a veterinarian’s truck.
Learning was assessed through Quiz Bowl and Jeopardy!-style games. At the end of the week, the students received certificates of learning. Assessments completed on the first and last days showed how much campers knew about this career choice coming in and what impact the program had. Evaluations were positive, and results showed a significant increase in participants’ familiarity with veterinary science and virtual reality technology. Participants also felt more confident in their ability to communicate with the public and deal with safety situations with animals. And all felt that the information they got during the week was valuable and worth their time!
View photos from the program on the East Hawaii 4-H & Hawaii County 4-H Livestock Facebook page.