Expanding Girls Horizons in Science and Engineering

Submitted by Elko Veterinary Clinic

March is a month we look fondly upon as the veterinary nation celebrates “Expanding Girl’s Horizons in Science and Engineering” month. Veterinary medicine has a huge appeal to millions of children, especially girls, as many of us have fond memories of our family’s cat or dog, or visiting the grandparents’ farm every summer to play with goats, horses and chickens. Combine our instinctual habits of caring and nurturing with a woman’s general ability to multi-task (sometimes to the point of self-destruction…), these traits and capabilities are a woman’s launching pad to be an ideal veterinarian, veterinary technician, or technician’s assistant.

According to the May 2017 edition of the “Veterinarian’s Money Digest”, women occupied more than 80% of seats in US veterinary schools. As far as the ratio of women to men in any aspect of vet medicine, that ratio stands at 55 women for every 45 men, in both public and private veterinary sectors, with more than 90% of veterinary technicians in America being women.  Biology, pharmacology, nursing and restraint, surgery and anesthesia, and communications and computer literature are just a few of the higher education requirements that are used daily by all in veterinary practice. Our field of medicine is constantly growing and changing and learning, and as the advocates for our patients, so must we. Yet, when you ask women involved in the field of veterinary medicine, you will soon learn that our days aren’t always filled with puppies and kittens. There are emergency cases that needs our quick minds and capable hands at any hour of the day. There is pain that we need to relieve and sadness that we need to comfort with tender, yet confident hands. And we always need to have our thoughts in the mindset of a team dynamic, where every member of the veterinary staff supports each other and steps into their scrubs and saves the day 24/7.

So now that you’re all sorts of excited after reading thus far, what to do now? 

Many women in our field will offer the same pieces of advice… Reach out to teachers, to relatives and friends. Ask about how you can get more information, and contact information of others who may be able to point you in the right direction. Use the internet to research conventions, STEM programs, or camps that pertain to your specific interest. Start inquiring now, it’s never too soon to start chasing a passion and deciding if you can make it into a career. And lastly, be sure to do the work, before you make a decision. Make phone calls, schedule interviews, try to log shadowing hours with people or in businesses and hospitals, so that you have a clear and unbiased view of the field you’re interested in. In a 2006 article by JAVMA, there was anywhere from 5-8 positions available for every veterinary technician graduate in the country, so just imagine the opportunities that could be available to you in 5-10 years!

Be diligent, persevere, and use that brain, young lady! The sky is the limit, and your future is in your hands.