Pre-Vet Club Helps Students Learn the Trade
With 4,800 projected openings for veterinarians each year, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics places that occupation among the fastest growing careers.
Liberty students pursuing degrees like zoo and wildlife biology and zoology (pre-vet) hope to fill those openings. Outside of class, students are encouraged to join the Pre-Veterinary Medicine Club.
Kristen Mendoza is the club’s president, majoring in zoology with a pre-veterinary concentration. Her freshman year at Liberty began with a dream to heal animals. Now a senior, it’s being fulfilled through her early involvement in the club and her persistence.
“When I was a freshman, I knew that I wanted to pursue veterinary medicine, but I had no idea where to start at all,” Mendoza said. “I had to do the digging and the research myself so I would do the same thing with the presidents of the vet club in the past years. I would blow up their phones, ask them questions and take them out for coffee and pick at their brain.”
Applying for vet school can be overwhelming, but Mendoza wants all club members and potential members to know they have her to help them.
Mendoza’s “blueprint” is laid out in the club meetings, where students experience something productive every time. From learning from speakers like veterinarian faculty advisors at Liberty, to doctors and veterinary admissions directors from University of Pennsylvania and the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, students go in and out of the club more prepared to apply for vet school.
Some of the speakers invited to talk at the club are Liberty alumni. Former presidents and vice presidents accepted into the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine helped give advice on how to apply. Seeing their success left Mendoza very encouraged.
Mendoza likes to prepare members for interviews with the club’s mock interview process.
“In vet school, there’s mini-interviews, like, different questions that we may face when we’re applying,” she said. “So, we have practice questions, and we’ll set up like little stations just to get (the students) a little bit more prepared.”
Mendoza said Liberty University provides a thorough degree plan for pre-vet majors. In addition to the basic courses like animal physiology and animal behavior, Mendoza strongly advises that students take a few courses in particular that are often required by vet schools.
“I know cell biology is a big one that I saw on the pre-reqs for a lot of vet schools, as well as biochemistry. I’m taking those two classes right now,” she said.
For students who want to “get their feet wet first” before applying to vet school, Mendoza said her club helps them find internships, which may help them land jobs while they are still in undergrad.
As the previous presidents were to her, Mendoza wants to be that same mentor to members and potential members of the Pre-Veterinary Medicine Club.
More information on the Pre-Veterinary Medicine Club can be found @luprevetclub on Instagram or by emailing Kristen Mendoza at email@example.com
Araujo is a feature reporter for the Liberty Champion