The Veterinary Research Scholars Program (VRSP) at the Kansas State University, College of Veterinary Medicine (KSU-CVM) aims to provide veterinary students with: 1) a mentored research experience in the rich environment of Kansas State University (KSU);2) an increased appreciation for all components of the research endeavor, including: hypothesis generation and testing;experimental design;data collection, analysis, interpretation and dissemination;grantsmanship;responsible conduct of research;technology transfer and commercialization of intellectual property;3) the opportunity to interact with a diverse group of comparative biomedical scientists and veterinary research scholars during the course of the summer and at national research symposia;4) an enhanced understanding of the career pathways available to veterinarians in biomedical research, comparative medicine and public health. The program personnel are a diverse group of 40 talented individuals with overlapping strengths in four areas of research excellence: 1) epithelial function in health and disease;2) infection-immunity-public health;3) model organisms-animal models-translational research;4) basic and applied pharmacology. VRSP activities consist of hands-on research in the mentor's laboratory, weekly research workshops and supper clubs, and field trips. In addition, there are formal social and scientific interactions between VRSP and the veterinary summer scholar program at the University of Missouri. Attendance at the Merck-Merial-NIH Veterinary Summer Scholar Symposium is encouraged to provide students with an opportunity to learn about research being conducted throughout the nation, and to network with their peers. The VRSP conducts formative, ongoing and summative assessment. The instruments developed have focused on five areas of interest: 1) Relationships Established in the Veterinary Research Scholars Program, 2) Research Abilities and Skills, 3) Career Path, 4) Satisfaction with Program, and 5) Demographic Information. Outcomes analysis has indicated that our structured summer research opportunity has awakened veterinary students to the possibilities of non-practice careers and encouraged positive attitudes towards biomedical research. The VRSP at KSU is thus addressing the critical national need for veterinarians in biomedical research.
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