Cultivating Tomorrow’s Leaders

An integral part of the mission of the Texas Veterinary Medical Foundation (TVMF) is dedicated to ensuring the infusion of bright new medical talent into the veterinary profession by supporting students at the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (TAMU-CVM). TVMF recognizes the importance of cultivating leaders who embrace diverse perspectives and strive to improve the local communities where they will live and work after graduating from school. This is why TVMF reserves two seats on the Board of Trustees solely for TAMU-CVM student representatives, who bring a unique yet important viewpoint to the table.

This year’s TVMF student representatives are Devyn Schultz (TAMU-CVM Class of 2020) and Serene Yu (TAMU-CVM Class of 2021). TVMF is intentional about creating an environment in which student representatives are provided with a unique combination of challenges and support in an effort to help them develop leadership capabilities that they will continue to use in the future.

“Interacting with the TVMF Board of Trustees has definitely been most impactful,” Schultz said. “I have been exposed in a practical way to how I can personally make a positive impact on my community as a veterinarian.”

Devyn Schultz, TAMU-CVM Class of 2020

Fellow TVMF student representative Yu concurs.

“Prior to vet school, my concept of being a veterinarian was limited to working in a self-contained practice or hospital,” Yu said. “But now I know more about the wealth of services TVMF and TVMA offers to veterinarians and communities. And now that I know, I can educate my classmates and other people about TVMF and our mission.”

In 2018, TVMF celebrates 40 years of service to Texas. Since its establishment as the 501(c)3 charitable and philanthropic nonprofit organizational arm of the Texas Veterinary Medical Association (TVMA) in 1978, TVMF has worked tirelessly to develop robust program offerings that give life to its mission to care for animals, serve the pet-owning community of Texas and advance the veterinary profession. A critical path to accomplishing the latter is the training and leadership development of TVMF’s student representatives.

“TVMF strives to strengthen the human-animal bond and advocate for pet owners and the veterinary profession as a whole,” Yu said. “The organization works to advance all components of pet care, not just from the side of veterinarians. This makes TVMF a unique and invaluable organization because its mission is comprehensive and empathetic, working to provide resources for everyone.”

“I have seen how the Foundation can work to bring many different parties together—industry, university, private practice—to respond to disasters such as Hurricane Harvey,” Schultz added. “I definitely have been convinced of the value of our state Association and Foundation and hope to continue to be an active member throughout my career.”

TVMF believes in helping student representatives to harness their leadership potential and to understand how their commitment and dedication to their home communities can leave a powerful and lasting impact. Students who serve on the TVMF Board of Trustees hear and contribute to the resolution of real-world challenges, like the devastation left behind in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. These students are given the opportunity and mentorship to help develop and implement action plans. This process brings many voices to the table and utilizes a collaboration of professionals and community members to assist those in crisis.

“After Hurricane Harvey, TVMF reached out to many affected clinics to offer funds and donations to help rebuild and take care of animals impacted by the storm,” Yu said. “As a charitable network for veterinarians, I believe that TVMF can offer some financial peace of mind in a profession that can be very stressful. Additionally, TVMF helps veterinarians engage with and better serve their community. Programs like the TVMF PALS and Rusk Veterinary Assistance Grants connect elderly, homebound and disabled and financially strapped clients, respectively, with quality veterinarians and veterinary care for their pets.

Serene Yu, TAMU-CVM Class of 2021

“Even though it seems far away, in four years, students will become members of TVMA and active veterinarians in their communities,” Yu continued. “It is important that students have a voice on the TVMF Board of Trustees as future professionals and inform the board on current topics and changes taking place at the curriculum level, which will influence our future careers and the profession as a whole.”

Schultz agreed and added, “The TVMF Board of Trustees has provided me with great mentorship. I love that TVMF is engaging students and providing opportunities for leadership development before we enter the veterinary profession.”

Cultivating these leaders of tomorrow and instilling a passion to serve where they live is what student engagement on the TVMF Board of Trustees is truly all about.

“I believe that because I have been given so much, I have a responsibility to give back and help others, to use my platform and resources to serve,” Yu concluded. “Being a part of the Board of Trustees is a great way of serving the veterinary community and helping pets and pet owners.”

Should you have any questions about the engagement of the students at the TAMU-CVM or need additional information about TVMF, please contact the Foundation office at 512-452-4224.