Summer Pipeline Programs Delight Participants with Face-to-face Learning

Monday, December 12, 2022

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Boiler Vet Camp participants don surgical garb and give a thumbs up to the camera
In a session called “ABCs of the OR,” campers learned the importance of proper sterility for surgery by gowning up and wearing surgical gloves.

Purdue Veterinary Medicine summer programs designed to broaden the pool of applicants seeking admission to veterinary school found no shortage of enthusiastic participants as they were conducted in-person for the first time since the pandemic. The ever-popular Boiler Vet Camps for students in the 8th through 12th grades returned in June as in-residence programs on the Purdue campus, hosting 100 campers. Meanwhile, educationally and economically under-resourced college undergraduates got help in their quest to become veterinary professionals through the Vet Up! College residential summer program.

Campers practice intubating dog models
Junior Boiler Vet Campers learn about veterinary medicine by working with animal models in the Clinical Skills Laboratory.

The week-long Junior and Senior Boiler Vet Camps each hosted 50 campers. The Junior Camp was held June 12-18 for rising 8th and 9th graders. Nearly 30 of the campers were from Indiana with others traveling from Arizona, California, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, the Virgin Islands, and Wisconsin. The Junior Camp involved learning about a variety of veterinary-related topics through sessions such as “Cud It Out,” “Fish Need Doctors, Too,” “Equine Treadmill,” and “A Look Inside the Horse (with Endoscopy),” as well as opportunities to interact with animals. The camp itinerary also included visits to the Indianapolis Zoo and Fair Oaks Farms.

The following week, the Senior Camp for rising 10th, 11th, and 12th graders attracted participants from Indiana as well as Alabama, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, the Virgin Islands, Washington State, and Wisconsin. The campers focused on subjects like surgery and anesthesia, as well as on learning what goes into a strong veterinary school application. A big part of the Senior Boiler Vet Camp experience came on day one, when the campers got into groups, and each group received a camp dog to care for throughout the week. The campers also had the opportunity to observe and identify blood cells, learn to administer a canine physical exam, and much more.

By fueling the campers’ interests and getting them thinking about potential future careers in veterinary medicine, the Boiler Vet Camps help expand the pipeline of potential future applicants for veterinary college admission. The success of the camps reflected the support and contributions of a team of faculty and staff with diverse representation, as well as dedicated DVM student camp counselors. A total of 20 veterinary students in the DVM Classes of 2024 and 2025 served in that role. Boiler Vet Camp is a highly selective program, only accepting about 20% of applicants each year.


Geared toward rising college juniors and seniors, Vet Up! College is a six-week learning experience designed to help prepare participants to be competitive in applying to veterinary school. The 2022 Vet Up! College program began May 23 in Lynn Hall with a variety of educational and informational sessions and hands-on labs.

Participants work together pouring a liquid into a tube at a microscope workstation
Vet Up! College participants get hands-on experience in a parasitology lab led by Dr. Sriveny Dangoudoubiyam, assistant professor of veterinary parasitology in the Department of Comparative Pathobiology.

A total of 23 students from more than 20 universities participated. With an average GPA of 3.67, the students came from across the country to engage in a variety of learning experiences and activities, including sessions on anatomy, physiology, animal behavior, parasitology, clinical skills, large animal skills, emergency and critical care, neurology, pathology, and foreign animal disease case studies. Additionally, the students participated in group projects and visited several farms and the Indianapolis Zoo. They also volunteered at a local animal shelter, engaged in career development, interacted with Purdue veterinary students, and completed the Diversity and Inclusion Certificate program.

One of the participants, Logan DeSchepper, spoke on behalf of his fellow participants at the farewell ceremony. “I believe that programs such as Vet Up! are essential to rearing the next generation of veterinarians,” Logan said. “Having the opportunity to interact with those from so many cultures and diverse backgrounds this past month has truly been an honor.”

Several of the participants received special awards, including the Model Pre-vet Student Award, Most Dedicated Award, Most Engaged Award, Most Collaborative Award, and the Academic Excellence Award. Contributing to the success of the program were several members of the DVM Class of 2024, who served as TAs, living in the dorms during the program and helping to answer questions, provide encouragement, and assist participants in developing study strategies.

A pig and her piglets stand in the middle of the room as Dr. Ragland and Vet Up! participants stand alongside
Associate Professor of Food Animal Production Medicine Dr. Darryl Ragland teaches Vet Up! College program participants about swine production medicine at the Purdue Swine Farm.

Another component of the program involved completing a capstone project. Participants were organized into seven groups and each group researched a particular topic before making its presentation on the last day of the program. The 10-minute presentations were evaluated on a variety of factors, including the quality of the visual presentation, references, literature review, and the team’s poise in addressing questions.

The farewell ceremony and reception Friday, June 17 marked the close of the students’ time on campus, and the start of their clinical experiences, which they went on to complete during the final two weeks of the program at locations in their home communities. The ceremony included individual recognition of the program participants. As their names were called, the participants each received a white coat and stethoscope as well as a certificate for completing the Diversity and Inclusion Certificate program. To learn more about the program, visit

Writer(s): Purdue Veterinary Medicine News |

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