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Kids who love animals and science can start preparing for their animal health career as early as 7th grade via a Veterinary Science Program being offered by Texas AgriLIFE Extension Service, a Texas A & M University agency, under their Hidalgo County 4-H Youth Development Program. Barbara Storz, County Coordinator for the Hidalgo County office of Texas AgriLIFE Extension Service, recently announced the upcoming introductory meeting for parents and youth on Wednesday, February 15, 2012, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Texas AgriLife Center’s auditorium located at 2415 East Business 83 in Weslaco.
“We didn’t have to create an interest for this; it’s already there,” said Dr. Floron “Buddy” Faries, “and that interest has created a demand.” To meet this demand, Veterinary Science: Preparatory Training for the Veterinary Assistant was written by Faries, a Texas AgriLIFE Extension Service veterinarian at College Station.
“The new training materials, recently released under the 4-H Youth and Development program, was fueled by additional job possibilities in areas such as homeland security, laboratory technology and public health,” said Storz. In fact, the National Center for Foreign Animal and Zoonotic Disease Defense, a U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Center of Excellence, funded the project and published the educational resources. “In turn, these additional teaching materials, coupled with key volunteers to assist our youth and staff, make it feasible to offer this career path program for our Hidalgo County youth,” said Storz.
“The Veterinary Science Program will prepare students for a job as a veterinary assistant or to continue into a college-level program as a veterinary technician or a veterinarian,” Storz said. These career paths, in turn, can lead to jobs in research, positions in a diagnostic laboratory, or in the field of animal inspection and food security, as well as, the various jobs we usually think of for veterinarians, such as teaching, private practice and working for zoos and wildlife management agencies. “Much of the job growth in veterinary science is in regulatory matters pertaining to homeland security or global public health issues,” said Faries. “The Veterinary Science program is available to any young person, residing in Hidalgo County, in grades 7th through 9th who has an interest in animal science,” said Storz. The youth who participate do not have to be in a 4-H club all ready. This program takes between four to five years for a student to complete in a normal school year. “We are going to accelerate the program slightly, said Storz, by asking the students to double the lessons we work through in a month from February through June. Then, in September we will be at the ‘second’ year level.” The classes will begin on February 21, at 6:00 p.m. and end at 7:30 p.m., in Edinburg, and will meet each month on the third Tuesday. In addition, youth will have assignments to watch live and taped programs, presented through the web, from College Station. The web classes are all taught by Dr. Faries,” said Storz and we expect him to join us each semester to work with our youth.” There is no charge for the program, however, students will need to join 4-H, at a cost of $25.00. The text book for the five years is $85.00. For more information about the Veterinary Science Program, contact the Hidalgo County office of Texas AgriLIFE Extension Service, at (956) 383-1026. All interested youth and their parents are encouraged to attend the program introductory meeting on Wednesday, February 15th at the Texas AgriLIFE Research and Extension Center, 2415 E. Business 83 in Weslaco, beginning at 6:00 p.m.