Vet Set Go
Auburn Alum Inspires Future Veterinarians Through Web
With a passion to encourage, teach and inspire future veterinarians, Chris Carpenter ’89 created Vet Set Go, the first and only web community dedicated to aspiring veterinarians.
Dr. Carpenter has worked for years to help kids and teens explore their dreams of becoming veterinarians.
When he realized the quandary of a large number of kids wanting to become veterinarians, but not having the correct resources or knowledge to begin the process, Vet Set Go was born.
“What makes veterinary medicine so different is that the majority of veterinarians made their decision to become a vet before age 13,” said Dr. Carpenter. “Today, one in five children age eight to 11 wants to become a veterinarian. These statistics display such a good perspective because it shows that veterinary medicine is a calling.”
When he came up with the idea of Vet Set Go, Dr. Carpenter saw it as an enormous opportunity to influence aspiring veterinarians through a more personal, interactive medium on the web.
“I was always looking for ways to encourage and inspire veterinarians,” Dr. Carpenter said. “I realized my young daughter could use an iPad better than I could and was watching YouTube constantly to learn new things.
Even if kids can’t go shadow a veterinarian, they can watch it.”
His goal through Vet Set Go is, first, to encourage aspiring veterinarians to explore their dreams now and not to wait. Second, he wants to give them the knowledge on how to do so.
The website contains different interactive sections, including articles and videos on interesting cases, activities, games and various discussion forums. Once Dr. Carpenter started posting content, the site’s popularity grew rapidly.
While he learned that the online community was helpful for connecting, Dr. Carpenter found that parents consistently contact him wanting something to give their child to further their education. That led him to publish a hard-cover book, Vet Set Go, a quick start guide and condensed six-chapter book containing content on the website.
The content featured on the website and in the book comes from Dr. Carpenter’s experience, as well as friends and colleagues in veterinary medicine. Some recent posts have included cases about a wolf, snapping turtle, a forum about different summer veterinary experiences and the college’s Vet Camp, which he attended last summer.
“I want Vet Set Go to be a campaign for the profession to grab the attention of young kids and parents and show them that veterinary work is awesome,” said Dr. Carpenter.
“Vet Set Go is also an idea factory, and all of the ideas don’t just come from me. A lot of people in the Vet Set Go community have discovered other ways to get involved and gain animal experience through one another.”
In addition to Dr. Carpenter’s extensive work with Vet Set Go, he directs the non-profit Companion Animal Parasite Council in St. Petersburg, Fla., an organization dedicated to keeping pets and people protected from parasitic diseases.
Dr. Carpenter holds a license to practice veterinary medicine in multiple states and is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association and the National Science Teachers Association. After receiving his DVM from Auburn in 1989, Dr. Carpenter completed an MBA.
After seven years of Vet Set Go, Dr. Carpenter now works on it in his spare time.
He continues to reflect a passion for the field of veterinary medicine and its benefits to the public.
“What a gift veterinarians have been given that all of these kids want to learn about and embrace our profession,” said Dr. Carpenter. “If we introduce them, now is the chance to teach them about good pet health care at the very least. Even if they don’t become vets, they learn how to care for a pet at a time when they are so excited about animal science.”To find out more, visit https://vetsetgo.com.
Auburn University Vet Camp Gives Youth Miniature Veterinary School Experience
Each summer, junior high and high school students travel from throughout the U.S. to attend the College of Veterinary Medicine’s Vet Camp, one of few in the country that gives youth a first glimpse into the veterinary medicine profession.
This past summer, 96 students attended Vet Camp and were able to learn about public health, food animals, wildlife, anatomy, imaging, and first aid and receive mentoring about veterinary careers.
Vet Camp is planned through the college in partnership with Auburn University’s Office of Professional and Continuing Education with regis- tration fully booked up to six months in advance. Registration opened Dec. 1—go to www.vetmed. auburn.edu to register.
Current veterinary students serve as head counselors and lead the camp in preparing modules and activ- ities for the campers to participate in during their time at Vet Camp.
“Vet Camp is like a crash course week of vet school,” said Rachel Burt, a third-year student who served as a head counselor. “The kids aren’t just coming for a week to play with animals; they really come to Auburn to understand what it takes to become a veterinarian.”
Camp allows youth to experience the veterinary program through hands-on experiences in classrooms, laboratories, and outdoor facilities that include the Southeastern Raptor Center and Auburn’s equine, dairy and beef units.
While in these programs, students learn about physical diagnoses and participate in mock surgeries in the college’s laboratories.
The large animal portion of the camp allows students to interact with the college’s equine and dairy animals and learn about various colors and markings, safety precautions and proper grooming of these animals.