A Pre-Vet Club member learning proper shearing technique.
Bring pig ears if possible. Not the commonest directive in a club meeting announcement—unless you’re talking about the campus Pre-Veterinary Medicine Club. Members will be learning to suture, and pig ears—or feet—have the right texture to practice on. (Those who can’t find them in a local grocery store can bring a hand towel instead.)
Practical, hands-on, and imaginative—these are hallmarks of club advisor Dr. Ashley Stokes’s mentorship style. Both a veterinarian and a professor in the department of Human Nutrition, Food and Animal Sciences, as well as last year’s Ka Pouhana (Mentor) Award winner, Dr. Stokes has also drawn a horse’s skeletal system on its skin to show how it looks in 3-D as the horse trots, among other innovative and effective ways to get students interested and keep them learning.
Due to increased competition and only 28 US veterinary schools, getting accepted to a veterinary program has become far more difficult than getting into some of the other medical professions. When Dr. Stokes came to CTAHR in 2009, one of the first things the energetic professor did was revive and improve the languishing club, as a step towards positioning students to nab those highly prized spaces.
The PVC offers the option of mentorship by a practicing veterinarian in the state, helping out and seeing what the daily business of caring for and healing animals entails. The club also offers tours and learning opportunities at farms and organizations such as the Hawaiian Humane Society, and hands-on activities at everything from sheep shearing and horse handling to the aforementioned suturing lab. It’s not all work, either; members ride horses, bond at beach parties, and make friends with others who have similar interests.
Students visiting Ponoholo Ranch on Hawai‘i Island to learn about beef herd breeding management.
And the club is exceeding in all of its goals: membership has more than tripled, and more and more students are getting accepted into veterinary schools. And any pigs in the Islands with ear-piercing emergencies can surely rest easier, knowing that there are plenty of aspiring veterinarians who will be able to suture them up.
For more information about the club, check out their website at
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For information about CTAHR’s pre-veterinary medicine program visit
or email firstname.lastname@example.org.