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O U T R E AC H

Spotlight

by Sara Carney

PEER to Peer: Inspiring Children through Veterinary Medicine

Clarissa Root, a third-year veterinary student, at Vet Camp At the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM), education goes beyond just teaching students how to be veterinarians. Through the Partnership for Environmental Education and Rural Health (PEER) program, veterinary students, undergraduate biomedical science students, faculty, and staff work together to educate and inspire a love of science in K–12 students. PEER uses demonstrations and lessons from the field of veterinary medicine to introduce children, mainly middle school-aged, to a variety of scientific concepts. “Kids love animals, so we use the information about animals to stimulate their interest. For example, we have a presentation on a physical exam,” said Dr. Larry Johnson, professor at the CVM who runs PEER. “They can learn the vital signs, such as heart rate and respiratory rate, of their favorite animal. You know they’re going to memorize those, and they’re going to discover they’ve got vital signs too.”

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Tori Whitaker, a content specialist with PEER, echoed this and said, “It’s not easy to talk about obesity with middle school students, which is why we try to relate issues such as diabetes and obesity to pets. Our work really fits nicely into the One Health Initiative, the link between human and animal health and the environment, and that’s a lot of fun.” Many of the presentations, videos, and lesson plans are generated by students, veterinarians, faculty, and staff at Texas A&M. “We have brilliant students who want to come up with something to share,” Johnson said. “We try to make the presentations about whatever they like—for example, if they like cows, we try to get them to do a lesson on cows— because the students are more passionate about what they like. Some students have said that they get a chance to refresh their memory about the things they’ve learned and see it in a different context.” In the summer, veterinary students travel to various schools and other sites to present lessons to middle school

CVM Today - Winter 2017  

A semi-annual publication for the faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends of the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical...

CVM Today - Winter 2017  

A semi-annual publication for the faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends of the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical...