Scholarship Support for AQUAVET® Training Program For Summer of 2016 and 2017

PROJECT
Scholarship Support for AQUAVET® Training Program For Summer of 2016 and 2017

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR
Rodman G. Getchell, PhD; Research Scientist, Department of Microbiology and Immunology; Associate Director, AQUAVET®

ABSTRACT
This proposal is relevant to Wildlife Conservation because the scholarship support for Cornell DVM students would allow them to participate in one of the premier experiential learning and education opportunities available in the world, AQUAVET®. Veterinary students with a thirst for knowledge about aquatic animals have been attending AQUAVET® for over 39 years. Wildlife Medicine is a significant component of this intense immersion program. This type of experience is not part of the regular curriculum, so students must pay for it themselves. Support to train in fields outside the traditional paths of veterinary practitioners is very limited.

I am asking for $12,000 for scholarships to assist these students financially while they pursue goals that align with the mission of John T. and Jane A. Wiederhold Foundation. The 2015 AQUAVET® I tuition is $2250 and the new AQUAVET® III course costs $3700 for full time veterinary students. The awards would be divided evenly among Cornell DVM students accepted to either AQUAVET® course. The trainees who apply to Cornell’s AQUAVET® Program are veterinary students from first, second, third, and fourth year classes. In 2012, 2013, and 2014 respectively, 4, 6, and 6 trainees received Foundation support. A similar number of Cornell DVM students have applied for the 2015 classes.

The objective of the scholarship support is to increase the number of Cornell DVM students pursuing careers in conservation medicine, particularly in aquatic animal medicine. The reasons why this proposal should be funded are many. The AQUAVET® training program satisfies the mission of the Foundation by providing CVM students the opportunity to participate in a world-class immersion course in aquatic animal medicine. The hands-on experience that is integral to AQUAVET® generates the type of enthusiasm that few other programs can maintain and provides mentoring by highly skilled faculty. The new AQUAVET® III course takes this experiential learning to another level. Challenges encountered by students are increasingly fiscal in nature. Scholarship support to train in fields outside the traditional paths of veterinary practitioners is extremely limited.

AQUAVET® trains veterinary students how to improve the welfare of marine and freshwater animals. This is one of the main goals of wildlife conservation and fulfills a key Foundation purpose, which is to help protect wildlife. Our AQUAVET® classes expose students to the interdisciplinary skills that an education in conservation medicine provides. Many of our recent scholarship recipients have used this training to write research proposals to the Expanding Horizons Program and conduct international fieldwork focusing on wildlife conservation. Shalette Dingle (2016) studied cheetah conservation in Namibia. Caroline Laverriere (2015) worked with the FAO in Vietnam. Sharon Liu (2016) conducted a project in Ghana exploring how human resource security informs conservation. She then TA'd for Dr. Radcliffe's summer course on Conservation Medicine here at the college. I believe when you read the excerpts and letters from last year’s students in the Progress Report and Appendix, you will see their commitment to pursue a career in conservation medicine, improve the welfare of marine animals, and protect wildlife inhabiting the world's aquatic environments – one of the goals of the John T. and Jane A. Wiederhold Foundation.

Student with dolphin