CORVALLIS, Ore. - Oregon State University is hoping to inspire a new generation of students to consider pursuing medical careers by giving high school students from the Woodburn area the chance to spend a week exploring the world of veterinary medicine.

OSU's College of Veterinary Medicine and the Department of Biomedical Sciences at OSU are partnering with the Woodburn School District to sponsor the Summer Veterinary Experience, which begins Sunday, Aug. 12, and continues through Aug. 17 on the OSU campus.

Veterinary Medicine leaders say the college is committed to increasing the diversity of its student body, which contains 4 percent students of color. By contrast, 86.2 percent of Woodburn School District's students are classified as minorities. Most of the summer program participants are students of color.

"Woodburn Schools are producing high academic achievers, who are bilingual," said Susan Tornquist, OSU associate dean for student and academic affairs with the College of Veterinary Medicine. "We hope this partnership will help reach out to students who might not originally think of pursuing a medical degree."

Ten sophomores and juniors from in and around Woodburn will participate in the program. They will learn about all aspects of the veterinary medicine field, including time in research and anatomy labs and clinical settings. They'll also have the chance to meet with faculty, and will be assigned a current vet med student as a mentor. They will stay in residence halls on campus and will learn about admission requirements and financial aid opportunities.

"It's important that students start thinking now about what they need to do in the future to be able to attend college," said Woodburn School Superintendent David Bautista. 

If successful, the program may be extended to middle school students in the future.

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Dr. Susan Tornquist, 541-737-6943