DVM students attend Ocean City veterinary conference

Jimmy Shatt of Baltimore, Maryland, is a third-year veterinary student at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, where he is pursuing the small animal track. In 2013, Shatt graduated with a bachelor’s degree in animal and poultry sciences from Virginia Tech. He is president of the student chapter of the Maryland Veterinary Medicine Association. This article originally appeared in the MVMA newsletter.

Group photo: participants of the 2015 Summer Research Program
The MVMA’s Annual Summer Conference in Ocean City, Maryland, attracted 15 students and several faculty members from the veterinary college.

Each year, the Maryland Veterinary Medical Association (MVMA) hosts its annual conference in Ocean City, Maryland. Fortunately, students are able to attend this conference for almost free, thanks to generous sponsorship of the MVMA and Maryland Veterinary Foundation. This year, the student chapter was able to increase its conference presence with 15 students attending.

From a student perspective, it’s not always obvious the importance of having close ties to one’s state association. However, the annual Ocean City conference not only provided students and professionals alike with top notch continuing education opportunities, it also was used as a venue to facilitate and strengthen invaluable friendships.

I had the personal opportunity to attend the MVMA executive meeting, where I was able to see firsthand all that it takes to run and sustain a great organization. In addition, I was able to understand and witness the collaborative partnership among the executive board, practicing veterinarians throughout the state, and students from the veterinary school in Blacksburg, with extension to the University of Maryland campus.

During this year’s conference, the teams for the annual volleyball game were mixed up to include Maryland students and veterinarians on the same teams instead of pitting them against one another.

At first, I was apprehensive about sitting at the same table with such influential voices across our profession. However, from the moment I stepped foot into the conference room I was welcomed, being actually included in the conversation to represent the crucial student opinion. I am excited to say that this meeting was a great opportunity to unite the state association and student chapter. Some initiatives that were discussed include strategic planning to increases membership at the student level, increased submissions to the quarterly newsletter, and increased support and participation within the mentor program at the college.

One of the conference highlights each year is the “Vets vs. Students” volleyball game. As usual, this year’s game was a blast. While competition is at the heart of any “type-A” veterinary student, this year’s game had a different feel. Rather than having what could have been a rematch game with the Maryland veterinarians teamed up against students (who lost last year), we decided to mix up the teams joining veterinarians and students as one. This idea truly speaks to the feeling of unity and mentorship the weekend harbored. Overall, from soaking up the sun, building invaluable relationships, and having the chance to attend classes taught by renowned professionals in their respective fields, fun was had by all.

The annual conference offered professional development and continuing education opportunities, as well as time for participants to network and enjoy their surroundings.