Are You Up to the Challenge? Free Trip to the AVMA Convention + $2500 Scholarship

$2500. That may not seem like a lot of money compared to the $100,000 in student loans you have right now, or the annual salary you plan to be earning a couple of years down the road.

But what if you measured it against the $10/hour you make working as a tech on the weekends? That’s 250 hours, which could be over 30 shifts at eight hours a piece.

Or how about really looking at your starting salary? At $65,000 a year, that $2500 will take you at least a couple of weeks to earn after taxes. If you’re dealing with it slowly as a student loan, you might end up paying twice that much over ten years when you factor in the interest.

So yes, $2500 isn’t a million dollars, but it’s nothing to sneeze at, either!

Here’s the Scoop

The AVMA is offering veterinary students a fun way to compete for not only this $2500 scholarship but also an all-expenses paid trip to the AVMA Convention in Chicago next July. Those of you following me on Twitter or Facebook probably already saw my link to this opportunity, but I wanted to write up a few more details for you here. This way you don’t have any excuse not to at least consider it!

Remember when I wrote about the benefits of networking at veterinary conferences? This would be a perfect opportunity to put those lessons into practice.

The contest is being held to commemorate the AVMA’s 150th anniversary. Who knew our venerable professional organization had been around so long?

So what do you have to do?

I mentioned that this is a contest. You’ll be competing to win one of EIGHT of these prizes packages. Eight winners! That may not seem like a lot, compared to all the potential competition out there. But be honest with yourself. How many of your fellow vet students have the energy or inspiration to actually put an application together for something like this? Let me tell you: not many.

If you can take this project on with the same resolve as you put into getting accepted to vet school or even just studying for last week’s anatomy test, you will have a very good chance of winning the money and the free trip.

Now we come to the fun part. Okay, maybe just fun for weird people like me who actually like to learn about how cool the veterinary profession is. The AVMA originally planned for their anniversary celebration to feature a panel of “distinguished veterinarians” discussing the important accomplishments in their respective veterinary fields. Although this would have been interesting, they realized that they could make it even more so by giving this job to some fresh-faced young veterinary students who might also provide insight into the profession’s future.

Here’s my brief summary of the task from the scholarship guidelines.

1) Select an area of interest within veterinary medicine from the following options:

  • Companion-Animal
  • Equine
  • Food-Animal
  • Industry
  • Academic
  • Public Practice
  • Wildlife and Ecosystem Health
  • Global Food Security

2) Interview at least two established leaders in that area

3) Create a submission package that includes a compilation of your interviews (can be written or recorded) along with a written or video proposal for your presentation at the convention.

Basically, you need to prove to the competition judges that you will give an interesting and informative presentation, one that will make all the veterinarians and students attending feel good about our profession’s past, present, and future.

Doesn’t it sound kind of fun? Come on, you know it does.

The coolest part for me is that it gives you a perfect excuse to get in touch and start networking with some of your veterinary idols. This would make a perfect first step to further development into genuine mentoring relationships. What might that mean for you? You’ll get personal insights from someone who has been there before and wants to help you follow in their footsteps. Not only that though: this relationship could end up being your ticket to your veterinary dream job.

Hint: You’ll probably have an even greater chance of success if you choose to apply with one of the less glamorous areas of interest, as I imagine they will have one winner from each area (eight winners, eight areas of interest). Global Food Security, anyone?

The Fine Print

The competition is only open to current SAVMA members who attend schools represented in the SAVMA House of Delegates. Sorry to all my international readers! I’ll find some good stuff for you too, I promise.

Your initial proposal is due via e-mail by December 31, 2012. This is just a short paragraph identifying your area of interest and expressing your commitment to the competition.

The final submission is due on March 15, 2013. You have plenty of time, especially if you can get a good start over Christmas break! Get all the details here.

Final Words

Are you ready to do this? Remember, that $2500 will take some serious time and effort to earn any other way. This is a fun and interesting option that probably won’t take nearly the same number of hours. You’ll also end up with some great relationships and future networking potential.

Do you need help choosing an area of interest, or identifying key leaders to interview for your application? Get in touch or comment here!

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2 Responses to “Are You Up to the Challenge? Free Trip to the AVMA Convention + $2500 Scholarship”

  1. Chris S Queen (@thenerdyvet) December 6, 2012 at 8:25 am #

    Great post and just a shame it’s only open to US students as I know that UK students would get really excited about this. What a fantastic opportunity!

  2. Elliott December 8, 2012 at 1:23 pm #

    Chris, thanks for stopping by! The contest is actually open to SAVMA members from any AVMA accredited schools, so that includes several of yours in the UK as well as a few others around the world! Spread the word if you can!

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