At the 86th National FFA Convention and Expo in Louisville, Ky., Oct. 30 through Nov. 2, graduates of the Veterinary Science Certificate Program excelled in the National FFA Veterinary Science Career Development Event (CDE) competition. Dr. Floron C. “Buddy” Faries, Jr., served as a national committee member over the event, representing the National Center for Foreign Animal and Zoonotic Disease Defense (FAZD Center) at the convention, which hosts more than 557,000 students from all 50 United States, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
Faries developed the FAZD Center Veterinary Science Certificate Program (VSCP), and today he and Dr. Heather Simmons oversee the program’s administration. Students in grades K-12 and graduate levels seeking paraprofessional experience utilize the program as a means to enter the veterinary field. While the FAZD Center’s VSCP is not required to participate in the FFA contest, Veterinary Science: Preparatory Training for the Veterinary Assistant, a textbook developed and written by Faries, is a reference for contestants.
At the FFA Convention, Faries developed and monitored two sections of the overall CDE: Scenarios and Team Activity. The sections tested participants’ abilities to perform practical veterinary assisting activities, as well as identify breeds, parasites and equipment. A written exam is required, and also a team presentation to a panel of judges about the roles and responsibilities of the veterinary team centered on a particular patient scenario. To reach the national event, teams had to first pass the tests at local and state levels.
“It was rewarding to observe high school students across the nation, who have completed the curriculum and apprenticeship of the FAZD Center’s Veterinary Science Certificate Program, successfully compete in the CDE,” said Dr. Faries. “The two high school courses in veterinary science prepared them for all categories of the CDE: individual written examinations, written scenarios, practicums and team activity.”
The top placing team was Madison FFA from San Antonio, Texas. The top placing individual was Meghan Marner of Arizona.
For more information on the FAZD Center’s Veterinary Science Certificate Program, visit fazd.tamu.edu/tools/veterinary-science-certificate-program/ .