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Animal and Veterinary Sciences

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News - Summer 2007 Newsletter

Mainely Progress, August 2007
Volume 4, Number 1

The Department of Animal and Veterinary Sciences interfaces with the Lobster Institute in a variety of ways. Each year several students work on lobster related projects as part of Dr. Stokes’ senior topics class working on a wide array of projects that have included, lobster health assessments, feed attractant and bait evaluation, behavior, and stress measurement.

Currently, Julie Kaye, an AVS teaching assistant, is completing a Masters degree using GIS to evaluate environmental toxin maps as they relate to clusters of lobster shell disease.

One of the goals of the Lobster Institute is to develop endowed scholarships for graduate and undergraduate students, giving them opportunities to participate in problem solving research. We hope that AVS will follow a parallel course in endowing research and teaching activities with livestock and dairy.

The Lobster Institute has learned that University and Experiment Station funding are most inadequate to do the work that needs to be done now. In addition, grant funding is not as dependable and timely as situations often warrant, especially in the area of lobster health. Alumni, friends, and industry are all welcomed to support the C.O.R.E. (Conservation, Outreach, Research, and Education) campaign to endow the Lobster Institute, to make sure there is a consistently accessible source of revenue that ensures that the Lobster Institute is always available as a resource for those in the lobster industry. To-date, the Lobster Institute has raised over $1,000,000 as part of its C.O.R.E. Campaign.

There is a land-grant university in every state thanks to the Morrill act of 1862. Each of those institutions has some type of animal science department although the actual names vary widely. All of those departments probably have some type of pre-vet or pre-professional curriculum. Biology programs can also have pre-vet or pre-med concentrations and students from any degree program can be admitted to vet school if they have received good grades in the required courses and meet the other admission requirements. It is thus possible for someone from an art history program to be admitted to vet school. A few years ago the associate dean for admission from UPenn vet school told us that about 30 percent of all applicants are from animal science programs, 40 percent are from biological science programs, and the rest come from other degree programs.

In the ’80s and ’90s we had 80 to 90 majors in AVS and one or two students were admitted to vet school each year. When our new students arrive in September we will have almost 180 AVS majors. As our enrollment has increased, so have the number of our students admitted to vet school, being about 35% of our graduating seniors in each of the last two years. This is a large percentage for a state without a vet school. There is a national shortage of large animal vets, so our students clearly have an advantage having completed classes that involve hands-on activities with production animals.

We were interested to know how our students fare when they make it to vet school, so I contacted three of our recent grads who are now studying at Cornell (Anne Wiley and Meghan Flannagan) and at Ross University in the Caribbean (Martha Hart). Martha and Meghan were also able to visit us last semester and spoke to our Senior Topics II class.

Martha pointed out that studying at Ross University on the island of St. Kitts involves both the academic challenge of vet school and the need to adapt to living in a third world country. This involves only grocery shopping on Thursday or Friday after the supply ships have delivered the food. Everything on the island is much slower paced, which is a severe contrast to the fast pace of vet school. Martha is very satisfied with the education she is receiving at Ross. “The lecture curriculum is excellent. The professors use lecture, video and audio, lab, and demonstrations to accentuate their teaching and further our learning. We have small and large animal cadavers for Anatomy I and II and the amount of hands-on labs and experience that we have are incredible. We also perform surgeries before going to our clinical rotation including small animal surgery on live dogs and large animal surgery on live donkeys.”

Martha felt that her undergraduate education prepared her for vet school pretty well, except for anatomy, which she found very hard after taking a year off from studying. She recommends that “anyone considering going to vet school get as much clinical experience as you can before you go.”

Anne Wyllie, said that the UMaine curriculum was a great starting place and that the cow experience really helped with the large animal labs. She felt prepared for her classes and that “UMaine did a very good job preparing me for vet school” but “I wish I had taken more cell biology classes.”

Meghan Flannagan also felt that she was very prepared for vet school and she too struggled with the cell biology course, particularly the section on cell signaling. Anne said that “the faculty are very friendly and most are willing to help with any questions we have.” Meghan however, felt that the neuro-anatomy class was a bit of a struggle for everyone, “more due to the horrible professor than to the actual material or lack of background.”

All of our grads are clearly loving the challenges of vet school and feel that we prepared them well for those challenges.

Congratulations to our May graduates, many of whom will be continuing their education at a graduate school or have plans to do that soon. We wish all of them the very best in their future careers. Here is a little information about some of them.

Of the 20 students in Senior Topics last year, 3 were admitted to vet school, one is on a waiting list for medical school, two have applied for graduate school in Animal Sciences, and nine more will apply this year. Two mature students (Colrain Balch and Greg Closter) who were only taking the vet school pre-reqs were also admitted, as was Matt Rolleston, who completed his double major in AVS and Chemistry this year. Erin Kinney, a Marine Sciences major who was active in our equine program was also admitted. Congratulations to you all. Come back and visit us sometime!

Congratulations also to:

It is with great regret that we announce the passing of James W. Mitchell, 1942-2007. Jim supervised the poultry research on campus for many years before taking over management of the Witter and Rogers farms. He retired in 1996 after 33 years of service to the university and will be missed by us all.

A considerable number of our alumni contacted us since the last newsletter. Here is news about a few of them:

Are you an AVS grad who went on to grad school, vet school, med school? We want to recognize the achievements of our graduates in a display at Witter and on our AVS display that we use at Open Houses and take to fairs, such as Fryeburg or Bangor. If you went on to post-graduate studies in any program after you left Maine, then please let us know. Please contact us with all the necessary dates, degrees, locations, topics, your name, and any name change, etc. and your current position.

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Contact Information

Animal and Veterinary Sciences
5735 Hitchner Hall, University of Maine
Orono, ME 04469-5735
Phone: (207)581-2770 | Fax: (207) 581-2729E-mail:
The University of Maine
Orono, Maine 04469
A Member of the University of Maine System