Students from the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech had a strong showing at the 2015 Student American Veterinary Medical Association (SAVMA) Symposium last month at the University of Minnesota.

Each year, a veterinary school hosts the educational symposium for students from across the country. The three-day program includes interactive wet labs, lectures, academic and athletic competitions, an exhibit hall, and the SAVMA House of Delegates biannual meeting.

In the academic competitions, Virginia-Maryland fielded two teams: bovine palpation and radiology. The Bovine Palpation Team finished second in this year’s competition, and second-year veterinary student Tyler McGill of Waterford, Vermont, finished first among individuals.

The competition consisted of three rounds in which teams were eliminated until only the top three teams remained. “We were one of only two schools to advance all five team members to the second round, and the only school to advance four team members to the final round,” McGill said.

Palpation Team members included third-year veterinary student Emily Murray of Leesburg, Virginia, who is following the food animal track, and second-year students Erica Marshall of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, food animal tracker; Matthew Putnam of Fresno, California, food animal tracker; Ryan Giles of Fort Collins, Colorado, food animal tracker; and McGill, an equine tracker.

Palpation Team members showed their versatility when they joined forces with another second-year student and food animal tracker, Joseph O’Hara of Kingston, Pennsylvania, to form two teams for the SAVMA Radiology Bee, an Academy of Veterinary Radiology-sponsored event.

One team made it to the championship radiology round and finished second overall. Giles took third place in the individual competition.

The symposium kept a running total of points accumulated from academic competitions, much like a medal count in the Olympics. “Though we had a good turnout with over a dozen Virginia-Maryland students attending, some schools brought nearly 80 students,” McGill said. “Although only six of us competed in academic competitions (others were busy representing us in meetings), our strong performance was enough to land us third place in the overall point total among all vet schools.”

During the House of Delegates meeting, third-year veterinary student Maria Romano of Shepherdstown, West Virginia, was appointed the global and public health officer for the SAVMA National Board for the 2015-16 school year. In this position, she will oversee and organize the SAVMA One Health Project and the National One Health Challenge.

The One Health Challenge gives veterinary colleges an opportunity to organize, collaborate, and host events related to the concept of One Health. SAVMA provides start-up and competitive-based funding to help students with their events.

Additionally Romano, who is following the public/corporate veterinary track, will act as the national representative for all partnering organizations involved in the One Health Project and serve as a SAVMA member resource as she promotes opportunities in global veterinary medicine, and/or public health and One Health.

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