AETA 2014 Scholarship Winner Report: Amanda Folkmann

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Published on: December 22, 2014

AETA 2014 Conference Report & Evaluation

Amanda Folkmann–2014 Scholarship Recipient

Advanced reproductive technologies have been a major interest of mine for several years. I grew up on a family farm with Angus cross beef cows and the traditional Angus/Simmental bull roaming around doing his duty when it needed to be done, but I always wondered how this system could be made more efficient. As a second-year veterinary student at Iowa State University, there were several conferences brought to my attention that would have been beneficial to attend. However, the AETA conference stood out as one that was not the usual run-of-the-mill session. Student learning and hands-on activities looked to be a major part of the program and definitely reinforced my decision to attend this particular conference.

Prior to attending the conference, I hoped to accomplish several goals. The first of these goals was exposure and networking. What better way to learn more about the embryo transfer industry than shaking hands with professionals who have been utilizing this technology since before I was born? The second of these goals was to gain more hands-on experience, specifically seeing more embryos and learning about technique. Last, I wanted to take away information about how different veterinarians were integrating the embryo transfer service into their practices and making it work for themselves, their staff, and their clients.

Throughout the conference, my goals were more than met! The student activities that were included in the conference this year were very beneficial and informal in all aspects. I was given the opportunity to evaluate various embryos, practice techniques on reproductive tracts, and test an assortment of microscopes and pipettes. During every student-focused session, experienced veterinarians were more than willing to help students and answer any questions we had. These situations provided a great setting to get to know a wide range of veterinarians with a number of skill sets and experiences. The contacts I have taken from this experience will be excellent resources for the future and will surely be sources to track down with questions.

One of the biggest ideas that I took away from the student sessions is that there are many ways in which embryo transfer can be utilized in a clinical setting and can be made to work for an individual veterinarian’s vision and lifestyle. Every professional who I had the pleasure of speaking to has used embryo transfer in a slightly different manner within their practice and is making it work for themselves and their clients. Taking these varying viewpoints into consideration will allow me to integrate embryo transfer into my career in the future and, hopefully, assist farmers who have not had the opportunity to integrate these advancements into their production herds.

Overall, the AETA conference was a major benefit to my future career as well as the few years of education that I have left ahead of me. Even though veterinary school is a daunting process, advancements in the reproductive field make it worth the time and effort. Mingling with individuals who have completed the process ahead of me and looking at the impact that they have had on the agricultural and veterinary fields is all the more reason to press on with the goal I have set for myself. It was truly an honor to be selected for the student scholarship this year, and I am thankful for the opportunities that it has placed in front of me.

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