Lights, camera, vet school!
Ask any veterinarian and most will say that they decided on their career path at a very young age. In most cases, it was because they had a deep love and curiosity for animals. The road to veterinary medicine is long, with years of study, hands-on experience, and training. So, just imagine, the opportunity of a lifetime of gaining hands-on experience, training with industry-leading professionals, and participating in veterinary activities ranging from clinical consultation to surgery at the age of 13! And now imagine this happening on national tv!
Such was the opportunity granted to Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine (Ross Vet) first-semester student, Vincent Lavertu, class of 2024. In 2013, in his hometown of Blainville, Quebec, Canada, Vincent was chosen from a group of over 250 young people to co-host a television series with Dr. Sebastien Khoury, host of Canada’s Brigade Animo series, a tv show dedicated to educating young people on the care of animals, their diversity, and the important role that animals have in our environment and human welfare.
Over the course of five years, the production of 130 15-minute episodes and 700 hours of filming, every week proved to be the hands-on, real-life experience that many veterinarians don’t experience until years into their formal education. Vincent, Dr. Kfoury, and co-host Aurelia made weekly visits to animal caregivers that included veterinarians, animal-assisting therapists, zookeepers, wildlife personnel, farm owners, laboratory technicians, and specialists (beekeepers, entomologists, bird educators). They also visited zoos, zoological reserves, wildlife reserves, stables, aquariums, farms (small and industrial), animal shelters, veterinary clinics, and Ecomuseums. “Veterinarians from different fields of practice were regular collaborators on the show and animals from domesticated to wildlife were featured. Although my interest in animals was already well-established before I joined the show, the opportunity and exposure I had convinced me that veterinary medicine was the career for me,” says Vincent.
Vincent adds, “Working with such diversity of animals and environments was extremely rewarding. I also enjoyed the filming experience which demanded discipline, rigor, flexibility, and maturity. And I greatly treasure the extraordinary people who all had animal welfare at heart and shared that passion with me. Specifically, Dr. Kfoury has served as a mentor for me, in the field of veterinary medicine, but also for his entrepreneurial skills. He is truly an inspiration for me, guiding me and encouraging me in my studies.”
As a first-semester student at Ross Vet, Vincent is now on his way to formalize his veterinary education and shares that Ross Vet is the perfect place to do so, “I am excited by Ross Vet’s accelerated program, as well as the clubs and organizations. I want to continue to work with a diversity of animals and people and Ross Vet offers me this. I feel I am getting something more by studying at Ross Vet; more hands-on experience, more variety, and more challenge.”
The start of Vincent’s program has been a bit of a challenge, starting his first semester of veterinary education online due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Vincent is not expected to start in-person classes until May 2021. Once on the island, Vincent hopes to meet with like-minded colleagues who share his passion not only for exotic animals but also for triathlon training. Vincent completed his first half Ironman of Mont-Tremblant during the summer of 2019.
Vincent joins Ross Vet with a very open mind for his future. Mindful of the interconnectivity between the health of humans, animals, and the environment and how issues liked mass production and distribution of food products, increase in travel, and global warming evolve the field of veterinary medicine, Vincent is open to new opportunities and growth. And while Vincent’s interest in exotic animals remains strong, he hesitates to commit to only that, “I would also like to be an entrepreneur and open my own clinic, but this may take many forms. My certainty is that my success will be through helping people live with, be around, and rely on healthy animals.”