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Mentoring and Networking Opportunities for Student Veterinarians

There are many different mentoring opportunities for student veterinarians:

The Veterinary Experience Program

The Veterinary Experience Program (VEP) is a voluntary program for Phase 1 and 2 students offered in association with the OVC Alumni Association.  This is a learner-centered program for self-motivated students established to provide crossover between academics and the world of work. The program is designed to provide DVM students with the opportunity to spend a day ‘on the job’ with a practicing veterinarian on a one to one basis and gain some hands-on animal experience. 

Program Coordinators

Dr. Kerry Lissemore, Associate Dean, Academic, Dr. Todd Duffield, a faculty member in the Department of Population Medicine, and Elizabeth Lowenger, Manager, Student Affairs for OVC work together to coordinate the program.

Program Objectives

  • Provides an opportunity for DVM students to explore an aspect of veterinary medicine they may be considering as a career option.
  • Provides an opportunity for DVM students to apply classroom theory in the current workplace.
  • Integrates current DVM students with alumni and non-alumni practitioners for the purpose of networking and career planning.

Program Management

VEP is facilitated through the OVC Dean’s office. Elizabeth Lowenger is available for students to contact should you have any questions, concerns or comments regarding this program. Elizabeth can be contacted at (519) 824-4120 Ext. 54430, or by email at

Matching Process and Registration

VEP opportunities are catalogued on a web-based practice bank. The practice bank can be accessed online. It identifies the type of practice, the location of the practice and the best time to reach them. Sign up is on a first come first served basis.  Students are provided with the contact information for their chosen clinic. The student is responsible for contacting the clinic to book their VEP experience and for arranging transportation. Students should contact the clinic at least three days prior to visit. The appointments can be made during the Winter and Summer breaks as well as during the school year.

Liability forms are required and can be downloaded from the VEP website.

If you would like to interact with a specific type of clinic not listed on the site (i.e. a species not listed, research, industry, etc.), or if you would like to connect with a clinic in your hometown or during your travels, please contact Elizabeth. We will try to arrange the initial contact with an OVC graduate to match your interests. Please provide us with three weeks notice for this type of placement.

Student feedback on the quality of the experience is encouraged. Please send feedback to Elizabeth Lowenger.


Summer Career Opportunties & Research Exploration Program (Summer CORE Program)

Program Coordinators

Dr. Gordon Kirby, Associate Dean, Research and Innovation and Elizabeth Lowenger, Manager, Student Affairs.

The Summer Career Opportunties & Research Exploration Program (Summer CORE Program) offers BSc, DVM and other students the opportunity to enhance their time as research students at OVC during the May-August summer break.  It is in conjunction with the Undergraduate Research Assistant (URA) and Undergraduate Student Research Awards (USRA) programs, which offer students the chance to work with faculty on novel or on-going research projects.  The SLRP program provides research-oriented activities and exposure for students while they complete primary research/educational activities with faculty advisors.  The program includes a Round Table discussion series with veterinarians and scientists working in diverse and intriguing areas, field trips to cutting-edge research facilities and the Metro Toronto Zoo, and professional development workshops to prepare for conference-style sessions.

Students jump start their own academic leadership with oral presentations in May. The Summer CORE Program then offers students the opportunity to share project advancements and/or results with peers and the OVC community through Poster Presentations in mid-August.

Registration for the Sumemr CORE Program is in early May.


Mentoring Programs

Program Coordinators

Dr. Peter Conlon, Associate Dean, Student and Elizabeth Lowenger, Manager, Student Affairs.

There are several mentor programs established at OVC.  Either in person or on-line, mentors will share their expertise, tips, experience and knowledge with you in order to enrich your experience as an OVC student veterinarian.  Below is a brief list of the programs: 

Career Options Mentor Program - Previous graduates' experience and career choices can help you explore different career options. They will share with you their knowledge.

Phase 2 to Phase 1 (P2P1) Guide Program

The P2 to P1 Guide program is a forum to discuss and discover life as a student at OVC by pairing first year and second year student veterinarians.  You will be introduced to your two guides, who are assigned to your practice group, during orientation and there are several activities planned during the first month of school. It provides an avenue for entering students to ask questions regarding classes, textbooks, study tips, useful resources at OVC, volunteering, extra-curricular activities, and any other issues related to the DVM program.

NOTE: This program is not intended to be a counselling service to deal with highly personal issues. There are OVC Peer Helpers available through Dr. Conlon's office, as well as professional counsellors available on campus through Counselling Services, who can help you with serious life issues.

We realize some students may be more comfortable discussing student life one-on-one with an individual mentor. Please attend the Orientation Days lunches and social events to familiarize yourself with the mentors assigned to your group. Feel free to email the mentor you wish to speak with to set up a one-on-one meeting at lunch or after school.

Alumni Mentor Program

Every second year in the fall semester Phase 1 and 2 students have the opportunity to state what areas of veterinary medicine pique their interest. The Manager, Student Affairs at OVC will try to find a practicing veterinarian who works in an area of interest that you have to serve as a mentor. These veterinarians volunteer their time to meet and talk to the students to share their knowledge and experiences both as a student and as a practicing veterinarian.

The goal of the program is to help student veterinarians build relationships and contacts within the veterinary community so that students have a source for advice and support throughout their time at OVC. The primary method of communication between students and their mentor will be via an initial face-to-face meeting followed by email.

Students will be emailed with more details in the fall.

Suggested alumni mentor activities:

  • Group chatting on MSN or Facebook
  • Group dinners at a local restaurant
  • Group outings such as attending the OVMA Conference or the OVC Alumni Association's CE day
  • Group potlucks
  • Volunteering at your mentor's clinic or place of work

Use your imagination! The more effort your group puts into the program, the more you will get out of the experience!