Would-be Veterinarians Flock to Boiler Vet Camp after a Pandemic-induced Hiatus
Purdue Veterinary Medicine’s ever-popular Boiler Vet Camps returned in force during June after a two-year absence due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the course of two weeks, the College of Veterinary Medicine hosted 100 campers, giving them a first-hand look into the world of veterinary medicine.
The Junior and Senior Camps each had 50 campers, according to Jessie Sexton, a veterinary student in the DVM Class of 2024, who served as one of two camp student assistants. “My favorite part of camp this year was seeing the campers excited about showing their parents all they had learned during the graduation ceremony presentations,” Jessie said.
The Junior Camp was held June 12-18 for rising 8th and 9th graders. Nearly 30 of the campers were from Indiana. The others came 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 next week, June 19-25, featured the Senior Camp for rising 10th, 11th, and 12th graders. More than half of the Senior Camp participants were from Indiana, while the others came from 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 Senior Camp 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 their 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.
Reflecting on the experience of serving as a Boiler Vet Camp student assistant, Juli Soda, of the DVM Class of 2025, said, “My favorite part was seeing the enthusiasm of the campers as they watched the surgeries and learned about various other medical procedures in a physical exam by working not only with animal models, but also on each other and other animals.”
Unique due to its immersive, in-residence format, Boiler Vet Camp provided the participants with a preview of the vast array of roles filled by veterinary medical professionals. The success of the camps reflects the support and contributions of a team of faculty and staff with diverse representation, as well as dedicated second- and third-year DVM student camp counselors. A total of 20 veterinary students in the DVM Classes of 2024 and 2025 served as camp counselors. By fueling the campers’ interests and getting them thinking about potential future careers veterinary medicine, the Boiler Vet Camps help expand the pipeline of potential future applicants for veterinary college admission. Boiler Vet Camp is a highly selective program, only accepting about 20% of applicants each year.
Writer(s): Kevin Doerr | firstname.lastname@example.org