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Virginia Tech News / Articles / 2007 / 06 

Veterinary college enhances exchange program with Chilean university

June 21, 2007

University of Austral in Chile
University of Austral in Chile

Three senior officials at Virginia Tech’s Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine recently traveled to South America as part of the continued development of a comprehensive exchange program with the University of Austral in Chile.

Dean Gerhardt Schurig, Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies Dr. Roger Avery, and Dr. Bettye Walters, director of international programs, met with their counterparts to refine a November 2005 Memorandum of Understanding that created a comprehensive exchange program.

The exchange program will now include three components, said Walters, who is based on the veterinary college’s College Park, Md., campus.

One phase is designed to create an “Honors Research Program” that encourages University of Austral students to become more interested in research.

The Veterinary Clinical Student Exchange Program is designed to enable veterinary students at each institution to undertake clinical experiences through programs operated at the counterpart school, said Walters.

For example, rising third year student Melinda Cep will spend six weeks in Chile this summer working with an aquaculture program that produces salmon. Similarly, Chilean veterinary students might undertake clinical experiences with American-based Banfield hospitals and others.

A third component of the program is designed to foster exchange experiences for graduate students studying at each university, Walters said.

Schurig began working on the exchange relationship with the University of Austral several years ago. Both the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the College of Natural Resources at Virginia Tech are also involved with the program.

The Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine (VMRCVM) is a two-state, three-campus professional school operated by the land-grant universities of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg and the University of Maryland at College Park. Its flagship facilities, based at Virginia Tech, include the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, which treats more than 40,000 animals annually. Other campuses include the Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center in Leesburg, Va., and the Avrum Gudelsky Veterinary Center at College Park, home of the Center for Government and Corporate Veterinary Medicine. The VMRCVM annually enrolls approximately 500 Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and graduate students, is a leading biomedical and clinical research center, and provides professional continuing education services for veterinarians practicing throughout the two states. Virginia Tech, the most comprehensive university in Virginia, is dedicated to quality, innovation, and results to the commonwealth, the nation, and the world.