What is Mentor Day?
by Kris Evans, DVM,
Driving home from Blacksburg, VA,
after completing my second year serving the Virginia Maryland
Regional College as a mentor at a college I did not attend, I
thought about my alma mater. I wish they had a similar program
and that I lived close enough to participate. Then I thought
about all the Maryland and Virginia graduates who either are
unaware of the program, or are not involved, and the experience
they are missing.
Mentor Day actually gets rolling the
night before with a barbeque at the veterinary school. At dinner,
all the mentors are introduced (Virginia has MANY more than
Maryland!) and the students find their assigned mentor and share
a meal over introductions and discussion. Each freshman student
should be assigned to a mentor via email prior to this event.
Maryland and Virginia students are preferentially assigned to a
mentor from their home state, although we do not currently have
enough mentors from Maryland for all the Maryland students.
Then, after the dinner, mentors and students may elect a
quieter location, such as Big Al’s, to continue the
On Mentor Day, the morning begins with breakfast and two mentors
at each table with their mentees. At 9 a.m., the students start
traveling to different tables in 15-minute intervals, similar to
speed dating. This allows students to meet several different
practitioners working in the student’s area of interest. At 11
questions written by the students are asked of the
practitioners, including some of the vet school candidate
interview questions, which can be quite challenging even now!
Finally, everything ends with lunch and goodbyes. Hopefully all
the students have developed contacts who can help them over the
next few years with advice, summer employment, and other future
The Virginia Tech grads often stay the
weekend for the game and to enjoy other the company of other
alumni, and the mentors who graduated from other vet schools
leave with an appreciation of the mentor program’s stated goals
of enriching student and veterinarian relationships. I
personally am hopeful that some of the students will follow
through on the invitation I extended to visit our hospital and
spend time as an extern with one of our specialty practices.
Several students visited us last year, and their externships
were very successful.
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