This week, veterinary students at Colorado State University (CSU) began essential animal-care instruction for high-schoolers in the Navajo Nation, and worked to equip area teenagers with basic veterinary skills while encouraging the teens to pursue college education. The newly launched project, starting in August, will provide weeklong surgical clinics for pets, horses and livestock in the Monument Valley region of the Navajo Nation.
Navajo veterinary student Patrick Succo prompted the initiation of the project after he was inspired to pursue veterinary medicine ten years ago in a program very much like the one he’s now leading.
“Veterinary medicine is what I really want to do, and that’s where it all started,” said Succo, entering his second year in Colorado State’s DVM Program. “I’m hoping the high-school students attending our workshops will gain the motivation to pursue higher education like I did.”
The outreach project is based at the Monument Valley High School Agri-Science Center in Kayenta, Arizona. The program is designed to benefit high-schoolers, livestock producers, pet owners and the animals residing in Navajo country. The program also hopes to boost medical skills and cultural competency among CSU veterinary students.
CSU vet students will conduct workshops during annual veterinary summer camps for sixty area high-schoolers and will perform surgeries with guidance from the university’s veterinary faculty during regularly scheduled clinics. CSU veterinary students will provide camp sessions about pet, equine and livestock vaccinations, parasitology, infectious disease, physical exams, wound care, surgical preparation and dental care.
“It’s a match made in heaven,” said Dr. Melinda Frye, a veterinarian and CSU associate dean for veterinary academic and student affairs. “When Patrick told me about this opportunity, it seemed almost too good to be true because it’s such a win-win. It was even more exciting to visit the Agri-Science Center at Monument Valley High School and imagine how this collaboration could look.”