Published: 22 February 2024

The Canadian Emerging Veterinary Scholars Summit report 2023

In October 2023, we were graciously hosted at The Canadian Emerging Veterinary Scholars Summit by the University of Calgary, Canada.

Presenting research which we were passionate about, and had invested substantial time into, was an immensely fulfilling experience. Kate presented work from her extramural summer research project investigating potential rabies distribution as a result of pet dog movement with people displaced by the conflict in Ukraine. 

Asha presented her BVMSci undergraduate research project, which aimed to investigate the prevalence and distribution of neoplastic disease across UK snake populations in captivity. The study involved a retrospective analysis of pathological case submissions to the International Zoo Veterinary Group (IZVG) Diagnostics Laboratory, in collaboration with veterinary pathologists Dr Andrew Rich and Dr Mark Stidworthy. This presentation received an accolade for undergraduate research, awarded by the dean of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at University of Calgary.

This incredible experience was made possible by the University of Surrey, and generously funded by the Academy of Medical Science’s ‘INSPIRE Award’.

Although the prospect of presenting to a large audience felt rather daunting, there was plenty of support offered. Every faculty member made the effort to ensure that we felt welcomed, especially as the sole international students at the conference. We really appreciated the chance to present in such an encouraging environment, and take that dive out of our comfort zone! 

Beyond our own research presentations, we found the conference content very engaging, and enjoyed the chance to discuss novel and exciting research being undertaken with the experts themselves. A huge variety of topics were presented, ranging from small animal orthopaedic surgery to the human-medicine applications of wound healing in reindeer.

We also found the career panel discussions, and the seminars on 'Academia and Study Design' and 'Veterinarian Mental Wellbeing', to have helpful teachings; we'll definitely be taking certain aspects from each class with us going forwards. 

Another highlight of the international event was the opportunity to speak with fellow veterinary students from across Canada, with diverse perspectives, ideas and advice to share – while exploring the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine’s innovative facilities, in addition to Calgary Zoo!

We enjoyed every aspect of attending and presenting at the conference and feel very grateful to have experienced such a brilliant opportunity!

The whole experience was invaluable for our personal and professional development, showcasing the breadth of veterinary research and its prospective career paths. It’s inspiring to directly witness the relationship between academia, and the ultimate advancement of animal welfare. Asha in particular has been encouraged to pursue research further, and hopes to submit her paper for publication in the near future. 

We are both beyond grateful to everyone who supported us throughout this opportunity: both the University of Calgary and the University of Surrey, and the Academy of Medical Sciences for their endorsement and funding. We’d like to give special thanks to our research supervisors: Dr Emma Taylor and Dr Josué Diaz-Delgado.

Kate Walmsley and Asha Stone

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