Outgoing Purdue SCAVMA President Values Leadership Opportunity

A select few Purdue Veterinary Medicine students add to their course load the opportunity to gain leadership experience by taking on the role of president of the Purdue Student Chapter of the American Veterinary Medical Association (SCAVMA).  Typically, one student serves in that position each school year, and by doing so, enters an elite fraternity of past presidents.  The past, current and upcoming SCAVMA presidents gathered at the end of the school year for a group photo.  Immediate past president Tessa Meland, of the DVM Class of 2016, took time to share her perspectives on the benefits and stresses of serving as the leader of the College’s main student organization. 

What did you appreciate most about serving as SCAVMA president?

I appreciated the opportunities that were presented to me. I was able to meet influential and dedicated individuals in the veterinary community while I attended conferences and meetings throughout the United States and Indiana. I truly appreciate the support I received from our administration here at the College. Dean Willie Reed, Dr. Kathy Salisbury, Dr. Jim Weisman, and Dr. Sandy San Miguel, to name just a few, were always available to help me with SCAVMA. I learned so much about representing an organization and am thankful to my peers for giving me the opportunity.

What were some of your best memories?

I think my favorite memories involved the conventions I attended. I will never forget the people I met and the incredible speakers I heard at the AVMA conventions and SAVMA Symposiums. However, if I had to pick one memory it would be when the SCAVMA Cabinet entered in the 'Give a Dog a Home' event in the spring of 2014. We decided at the last minute to paint a Harry Potter themed dog house and I'm not going to lie...there was some pretty impressive artwork on it! We won second place and one of the faculty members ended up buying it off the lot that same day before the others were delivered to the animal shelter. We were very proud of the other half of our brains for showing we can be artists as well as scientists!

2014 SCAVMA Officers with their Harry Potter themed dog-house created as part of the “Give a Dog a Home” project.

Would you recommend this leadership opportunity to others? Why?

People have asked if I would do it over again, knowing how much time and energy it required, and I always say “yes.” I think this position is one that teaches the individual so much about his/herself. You will learn how to lead, delegate, handle criticism, resolve conflicts, manage your time and represent an impressive community. It's a lot of work and is stressful at times, but the friendships and opportunities you will gain easily make it all worth it. We will all be leaders at our future veterinary practices, businesses, etc., and this is a chance to practice and develop the necessary attributes before you graduate. I also recommend other incredible leadership opportunities that are available to students at our University!

Is there anything else you wish to share?

It goes by way too fast! To the classes of 2017, 2018 and 2019 - enjoy your time at Purdue. Talk to your professors, clinicians and technicians, they are the best of the best and we are lucky to have them.

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