Clemson University and the University of Glasgow partnered some years ago to help animal and veterinary science students complete their bachelor’s degrees and, in some cases, receive a Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery (BVMS) degree, which is the equivalent of a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) in the United States.
The program is FEEPASS, or Facilitated Early Entry Program of Animal Science Students. The first Clemson student to participate in the program, Lindsay Rodenkirchen, from Timmonsville, South Carolina, graduates with a BVMS later this month (June 2021). She is excited about the possibilities she has and will receive from this experience.
“Coming to study in Glasgow through the FEEPASS Program is the best decision I’ve ever made in my life,” Rodenkirchen said. “It has opened the doors to a wide range of possibilities and I can’t wait to see where life takes me.”
Alexis Dann, a Clemson student from Rising Sun, Maryland, plans to graduate with a BVMS at the same time.
“Aside from school, I’ve really grown as a person being in another country for 5 years,” Dann said. “You get to fully immerse yourself in another culture and make lifelong friends from different parts of the world. This is something that I would not have been able to do going to school in the United States.”
The FEEPASS agreement between Clemson University and the University of Glasgow began in 2016 with the help of Heather Dunn, who was a senior lecturer in Animal and Veterinary Sciences (AVS) at the time.
“After learning about FEEPASS, I felt confident this was an ideal option for some of our AVS students,” said Dunn, who is now a research assistant professor in the Department of Bioengineering. “The University of Glasgow Veterinary Program provides an opportunity for graduates to practice veterinary medicine globally. In addition, the curriculum is organized differently from most vet schools in the United States. Glasgow veterinary school students begin learning clinical applications from the first day of class by integrating concepts of structure, function, health and disease. The goal is to develop clinical and professional skills that students continue as they progress through the program.”
Today, Jeryl Jones, AVS professor, serves as liaison and advisor for the program.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for students to finish their AVS bachelor’s degree while studying abroad,” Jones said. “This program also allows them to become totally immersed in a new culture while completing their studies and gives them a guaranteed seat in vet school without having to submit a Veterinary Medical College application.”
Clemson students apply for the program during their sophomore year. If they are accepted and complete admissions requirements, they can spend their fourth year in Glasgow and return to Clemson to graduate. They can then return to Scotland for 4 years of veterinary school at the university. All-in-all, students can spend 5 years in Glasgow.
Joyce Wason, director of admissions and student services manager for the University of Glasgow School of Veterinary Medicine, said they work with 12 universities in the United States that have animal science programs.
“We know we are getting very good students who have experience with production animals when Clemson students participate in our program,” she said. “Graduating as a veterinary surgeon from Glasgow gives students the ability to travel and work literally anywhere in the world. The global opportunities are endless.”
The University of Glasgow School of Veterinary Medicine is accredited by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, the American Veterinary Association and the European Association of Establishments for Veterinary Education. Credits earned transfer back to Clemson so that students can graduate with a bachelor’s degree. Successful completion of the FEEPASS program also guarantees students a spot in the University of Glasgow’s veterinary school.
Rodenkirchen traveled to Glasgow in 2016. She likes how the university structures its curriculum and that students are afforded hands-on opportunities the first week of class. Participating in the extramural studies, or EMS, is something she has “thoroughly” enjoyed.
“These studies are placements we have to plan and complete throughout the entirety of our degree,” Rodenkirchen said. “We are given a lot of freedom to tailor the placements towards our own interests. For example, because I’m interested more in small animal medicine, I chose to see practice in a variety of small animal clinics around the world. These placements also help us apply what we learn in the classroom to real life. It has been especially helpful for me as a tactile learner.”
Rodenkirchen said she has been able to “broaden (her) perspectives on veterinary medicine,” as well as “explore and appreciate different cultures, and create friendships and connections with people” from all over the world. In fact, she’s so connected to Scotland, she doesn’t plan to go far after graduation.
“Having this international community opens the door to so many new opportunities,” she said. “I have just accepted a job offer to work in a small animal general practice here in Glasgow. Scotland won my heart, so I’ve decided to stay for a bit longer.”
Dann also has been in Scotland for 5 years – completing her bachelor’s degree and continuing on to receive her BVMS.
“Dr. Dunn encouraged me to go,” Dann said. “It gave me the opportunity to travel and study abroad, while also following my dreams of becoming a veterinarian.”
Dann appreciates the diversity she has discovered.
“Because of the diverse student body, we are taught a more worldly view of veterinary medicine to encompass the different countries people come from,” she said. “By completing most of my externships in the United States, I have been able to see first-hand the differences.”
Differences she has noticed include alternative approaches to some surgical procedures, such as performing a cat/feline flank spay to remove the ovaries and uterus for sterilizing a female cat.
“For example, in the United Kingdom and Europe, a flank spay is commonly performed, whereas the United States generally takes a midline approach,” she said. “This gives us another option for surgical approaches and we can tailor the procedure to the patient.”
Dann has enjoyed her time abroad. In addition to classwork, she has played lacrosse and traveled around Scotland and to England for games. During her studies, Dann was able to travel “a fair amount.” She went to France, Spain, Czech Republic, the Canary Islands and all over the United Kingdom/Ireland.
After graduating from the University of Glasgow, Dann is moving to Dallas to complete a 1-year internship in mixed animal medicine. After she completes her internship, she plans on “settling down and practicing in Campobello with (her) fiancé and dogs.” She met her fiancé, Nathan Holmes, at Clemson.
Other Clemson students participating in the program include Cleo Seger from Newport Beach, California, who is in the third year of the program. Jordan Sutter from Easley, South Carolina, and Kyle Caldwell from Charlotte, North Carolina, are in their second year in the program.
Support is provided for Clemson AVS students who want to participate in the FEEPASS program. Meredith Wilson, associate director for enrollment management in the Pam Hendrix Center for Education Abroad, said the Center provides advising for all students traveling abroad.
“We help students navigate the applications and documentation required for both Clemson and the University of Glasgow,” Wilson said. “We also connect them to a financial aid advisor to ensure they have access to applicable funding during their experience abroad, provide pre-departure orientation and support to help prepare for the experience, as well as ensure that applicable coursework is transferred back to Clemson once their first year is complete.”
Pam Hendrix Center staff also provide all students with a health and safety app, AlertTraveler, for their phones. The app not only feeds students’ pertinent information based on their location, but also allows Pam Hendrix Center staff and students to easily communicate if the need arises.
Once students arrive in Scotland, they are provided support to help them become acclimated to the culture and achieve their goals.
In addition to Clemson, other universities that participate in the program are: California Polytechnic State University, San Louis Obispo, University of Connecticut, University of Illinois, University of Maine, University of Missouri, The Ohio State University, Pennsylvania State University, Purdue University, University of Vermont and Washington State University.
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