Veterinary Exotic Animal Club Wins Purdue Outstanding Program Award

Friday, May 15, 2020

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Lydia pictured smiling holding a white cockatoo
Lydia Hall, of the DVM Class of 2021, pictured holding a cockatoo, led the Veterinary Exotic Animal Club officers as president when the club planned the second MOAAR Symposium November 9-10, 2019.

Veterinary students earn respect not only by completing a famously rigorous curriculum, but also by going above and beyond in the process, pursuing particular areas of interest and helping others along the way.  Such is true of members of the Purdue Veterinary Exotic Animal Club (PVEAC) – the club which this year won the Outstanding Program Award, presented by Purdue Student Activities and Organizations.

Paige listens to a gerbils heart with a stethoscope
Paige Phillippi, of the DVM Class of 2022, participated in the 2019 MOAAR Symposium, and is the current PVEAC president.

The Outstanding Program Award recognizes the student organization that has implemented the most outstanding campus program during the academic year. The Veterinary Exotic Animal Club received the award for hosting annual symposia with alternating themes since 2017.  The symposia began with the first biennial Medicine of Aquatics, Amphibians, and Reptiles (MOAAR) Symposium in 2017, which was followed by the Medicine of Mammalian and Avian Species (MMAS) Symposium in 2018.  The club then hosted the second MOAAR Symposium last November. 

Attendance for each event ranged from 90 to 120 participants, and included veterinary students from several veterinary colleges, such as Michigan State, Kansas State, and Ohio State, as well as exotic animal veterinarians and veterinary nurses.  Each of the weekend-long symposia featured multiple speakers addressing a range of topics, and included special keynote presentations.  The first keynote speaker in 2017 was SeaWorld Orlando veterinarian Claire Erlacher-Reid, a diplomate of the American College of Zoological Medicine.  Dr. Endre Sós, of the Budapet Zoo in Hungary, gave the keynote lecture at the 2018 MMAS Symposium.  Then, last November, the second MOAAR Symposium featured Dr. Cara Field, staff veterinarian for the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, Calif., as the keynote speaker.

Dr. Steve Thompson, Veterinary Exotic Animal Club advisor, said the club officers for the past three years, as well as many club members who assisted on the symposia planning and implementation teams, deserve the credit for the club winning the award.  The 2017 officers, led by Dr. Kelsey Trumpp (PU DVM 2019), started the MOAAR symposia.  The 2018 officers, led by Levi Smith, of the DVM Class of 2020, decided to alternate MMAS with MOAAR (Dr. Thompson points out that “Más” is “more” in Spanish).  “We then tied-in the College’s Office of Lifelong Learning to continue annual programming with continuity and professionalism for Purdue Veterinary Medicine,” Dr. Thompson explained.  Dr. Thompson also emphasized that many students even provided housing for the veterinary students who attended the symposia from out of state.

club members join together for a group photo in a classroom
Paige Phillippi, of the DVM Class of 2022, participated in the 2019 MOAAR Symposium, and is the current PVEAC president.

The 2019 officers, led by Lydia Hall, of the DVM Class of 2021, orchestrated plans for the second MOAAR Symposium.  The current officers are led by Paige Phillippi, of the DVM Class of 2022.  Dr. Thompson says planning has begun for the next MMAS Symposium, but due to the current circumstances, the timing has yet to be determined and likely will involve postponing the event to sometime in the first part of 2021.

The award was presented virtually to the current club officers as well as some former officers by representatives of Student Activities and Organizations during a Zoom meeting April 24.  Congratulations to all of the club officers and members involved in organizing and hosting the symposia for enabling the Purdue Veterinary Exotic Animal Club to be named the 2020 recipient of the Outstanding Program Award!

Writer(s): Kevin Doerr |

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