Ever-popular Boiler Vet Camps Draw Would-be Veterinarians from Across the Country

Friday, June 30, 2023

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campers and camp counselors along with camp director Jim Weisman take a group photo outside of Lynn Hall
2023 Junior Boiler Vet Camp
A camper holds the ultrasound wand to the abdomen of the dog animal model as he and another camper look at the ultrasound display on a tablet
Junior BVC Campers practice their ultrasound skills with the Butterfly iQ+ Vet ultrasound unit on an animal model.

The chance to spend a week at Purdue University exploring the world of veterinary medicine proved to be an irresistible opportunity for dozens of young people who signed up for the 2023 Boiler Vet Camps. A total of 100 campers came to the Purdue campus in West Lafayette, Indiana to attend the in-residence Junior and Senior Camps held earlier this month. 

The Junior Camp, held June 11-17, introduced rising 8th and 9th graders to a variety of veterinary-related topics through sessions with fun titles such as “Cud It Out,” “Fish Need Doctors, Too,” and “A Look Inside the Horse (with Endoscopy),” as well as opportunities to interact with animals. Campers also visited the Indianapolis Zoo and Fair Oaks Farms. Of the 50 campers who participated, more than 30 were from Indiana. Other states represented were Iowa, Michigan, California, North Carolina, Alabama, Ohio, South Dakota, Kentucky, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Oregon, as well as Washington D.C.

The Senior Camp, for rising 10th through 12th graders, was held the following week and focused on subjects like surgery and anesthesia, as well as on learning what goes into a strong veterinary school application. The exciting week kicked-off with the campers getting into groups, with each group receiving a camp dog to care for throughout the week. Other experiences included observing and identifying blood cells, and learning how to administer a canine physical exam. The 50 participants in the Senior Camp included nearly 30 Indiana residents, along with attendees from Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin. 

A group of five senior campers join together for a group photo with their camp dog at the Continuum sculpture in front of Lynn Hall
As part of the Senior Boiler Vet Camp, campers got into groups and received a dog to care for during the week.

Putting on the camps takes a team of volunteers. This year, a total of 21 veterinary students from the DVM Classes of 2025 and 2026 served as camp counselors. In addition, two student assistants helped with the overall programming for both camps.  One of those assistants, Audrey Evans, of the DVM Class of 2026, said her role gave her the opportunity to work with faculty, staff, and fellow veterinary students across the college to inspire the campers as they contemplated future careers as veterinarians and veterinary nurses. “I did not have a strong veterinary mentor until late in my college career, and it was truly moving to see how excited the campers were not only to meet people who were living out their dreams, but to experience a taste of the veterinary industry,” Audrey said. “While veterinary school may be incredibly difficult at times, the campers’ excitement and wonder surrounding veterinary medicine reminded me how incredible the veterinary medical profession really is.”

A camp counselor assists campers with proper bandaging on an animal model in the Clinical Skills Lab
BVC campers, working with animal models, learn fist-hand about a variety of procedures such as proper bandaging.

Sydney Taylor, of the DVM Class of 2025, served as the head camp counselor for the Junior Boiler Vet Camp. Asked what her favorite part of her experience as head counselor was, Sydney said, “I have really enjoyed helping the campers with the interactive and hands-on sessions within the college. These sessions generate so many questions and it is a great way for the campers to interact and learn with the counselors, as well as the faculty.” Sydney also was impressed by the impact the camping experience has on the campers. “I have found BVC to be so impactful to these students because it becomes an opportunity for them to really expand on their knowledge and interest in veterinary medicine, all while creating memories alongside others with the same career aspirations.”

Boiler Vet Camp is a very selective program with only about 20 percent of the applicants being accepted each year. “We find that the interest in our camps is very broad,” said Dr. Jim Weisman, assistant dean for clinical education, who serves as the camp administrator. “Not only do the campers come from across the country, they represent diverse populations, with a balanced mix of male and female students and one-fourth of the attendees reflective of populations that are underrepresented in the veterinary medical profession or educationally and economically under-resourced. We are excited to offer these annual camps as a means of enabling these enthusiastic and inquisitive young people a chance to learn about veterinary medicine first-hand and to see themselves in a future veterinary medical career.”

campers and camp counselors along with camp director Jim Weisman take a group photo outside of Lynn Hall
2023 Senior Boiler Vet Camp

Writer(s): Kevin Doerr | pvmnews@purdue.edu

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