STILLWATER, Okla.—Janine Veronneau of Edmond, Okla., is a member of the class of 2011 at Oklahoma State University’s (OSU) Center for Veterinary Health Sciences. The daughter of Drs. Stephen and Bettina Veronneau, both of Edmond, Veronneau was one of 13 U.S. students who spent their summer studying veterinary medicine and public health in Africa.
This year the Veterinary Center celebrates its 60th Anniversary. In the spring of 1948, the then Oklahoma A&M College opened the doors to its School of Veterinary Medicine. The first class was comprised of 31 males. The class of 2011 is 73 percent female. It’s unlikely that those first veterinary students would have ever experienced a summer like Veronneau’s.
Veronneau learned about this opportunity through information distributed to all veterinary colleges by North Dakota State University (NDSU). NDSU, in partnership with Makerere University in Uganda, is currently expanding their Ugandan study abroad program and offered a $2,500 scholarship to help boost participation.
“I came up with about half of the money myself,” explains Veronneau. “The scholarship made it possible for me to take this trip of a lifetime.”
Accompanied by eight Ugandan veterinary students, the group traveled about the African countryside on various field trips including a visit to a Heifer International Project farm, a local pig farm, the Ugandan Bureau of Standards, a fishery, commercial dairy operation, and small animal clinic.
In addition to the field trips, students attended classes at the Makerere University in Uganda on a variety of subjects such as Beef Production, Commercial Dairy Production, Epidemiology of Bovine Tuberculosis, Milk Hygiene in Uganda, Food Safety in Uganda, Tick-Bourne Diseases in Uganda, and Fishery Hygiene and Safety. The group also spent a week in two National Parks, Lake Mburo and Queen Elizabeth, learning about the management and protection of the wildlife, as well as tracking and darting lions and hyenas with a veterinarian who was researching the large predators.
Veronneau kept a weblog of her trip (http://www.xanga.com/yeagersmoon) and a photo gallery (http://www.veronneau.shutterfly.com) to share information and photos with family and friends at home.
“It was amazing to see how one shed and one heifer could make such a difference in a family’s life,” says Veronneau. “The family went from a grass-thatched hut to a brick, four-room house with a tin roof, put four children through school, added two chicken houses and six acres of land and will be adding another shed for another heifer.”
Veronneau discovered that Ugandans face many veterinary related challenges including sanitation and disease control, the occurrence of bovine tuberculosis in cows and humans, lack of information sharing, and tick-borne diseases.
“One thing I noticed is that there is not much veterinary care given to Ugandans’ animals due to lack of funds and I think lack of pet education,” exclaims Veronneau. “Just traveling in an African country was amazing. The public health classes were great. Tracking and darting lions was an incredible experience. You know lions are big but it’s different seeing one tranquillized right in front of you.”
Veronneau is interested in the public health aspect of veterinary medicine. This program provided her with a unique look at a different country’s agricultural practices and public health management. She will receive elective course credit for participating in the study abroad program.
The Oklahoma State University Center for Veterinary Health Sciences is one of 28 veterinary colleges in the United States and is fully accredited by the Council on Education of the American Veterinary Medical Association. For more information, visit www.cvhs.okstate.edu or call (405) 744-7000.