Nearly 15,000 veterinary students in the United States are joined through the Student American Veterinary Medical Association in order to shape their professional futures, and providing the leading voice for all these trainees is Colorado State University vet student Jessica Carie.
Carie, a third-year veterinary student, was elected 2015-16 president of SAVMA.
“CSU is a powerhouse in the veterinary community, so representing our school on a national level is exciting and daunting,” said Carie, who is among about 550 students in Colorado State’s DVM Program, the No. 3 veterinary school in the country.
Shaping the future of veterinary medicine
SAVMA formed in 1969 as the national student branch of the American Veterinary Medical Association. With 32 chapters, SAVMA represents the nation’s veterinary students in broad educational and policy discussions, and advocates for student needs as aspiring veterinarians prepare for and transition to the workforce.
As president, Carie is a non-voting member on the AVMA Board of Directors and weighs in on issues concerning education and the future of the veterinary profession.
“I’m finally at a place where I know enough about what is going on to get involved and play a key role in helping my peers before and after they graduate,” Carie said. “I was told by a member of the board, ‘Your voice is just as equal as everyone else here.’ That’s exciting because we’re looking at what we want the profession to become in the next 50 years.”
Carie is the second CSU student to fill the national SAVMA presidency student in the last four years.
Born and raised in New Orleans, Carie has wanted to be a veterinarian for as long as she can remember; she’s interested in caring for livestock in communities where animals are an integral part of life.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Miami, then moved to Alaska and worked for five years, mainly with the Fish and Wildlife Service as an intern and wildlife technician.
“Veterinary school kept getting pushed back because every new job I took and every project I worked on was so exciting,” Carie said, laughing. Finally, she entered the Colorado State DVM Program, which had been her goal.
Carie joined SAVMA and sought leadership positions for the opportunity to travel, to be energized by other people, and to make a global impact. She was president-elect last year, traveling alongside the previous SAVMA president, attending AVMA meetings, networking with professionals, and spreading the word about student initiatives.
Now she hopes to make greater contributions: “This is the time SAVMA can really make a difference in our profession, and I get to be the voice for the students,” Carie said.