2019 AETA Scholarship Winner Report: Sarah Harp

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Published on: January 3, 2020

My name is Sarah Harp; I am from central Ohio and am currently a fourth-year student at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine. I am interested primarily in working with beef cattle and small ruminants.

I want to first say a heartfelt thank-you to the American Embryo Transfer Association for their generosity in providing these scholarships. I would likely not have been able to attend otherwise, and their support allowed me to learn more about the industry, meet countless people involved in the business, and experience what this organization is all about. I also want to say thank you to all those in attendance who took time to talk to us as students and share your stories and advice. And finally, a big thank-you to Dr. Rob Stout at Legends Lane Reproductive Services for encouraging me to join this organization and apply for the convention scholarship as well. His mentorship and willingness to teach have been an inspiration to continue pursuing this career field.

One of my primary objectives in attending the convention was to talk to people involved in the industry and find out how they got involved, how embryo transfer is incorporated into their business, and what they like or would change about their career field. I was surprised at the wide variety of businesses and experiences of those in attendance. A large portion work in reproduction specialty–only practices, whether private or commercial; but I spoke with quite a few who work in general practice and have incorporated embryo transfer services into their business. Also, as this is a relatively new and expanding field, it was interesting and inspiring to have so many founders and pioneers in the field in attendance who are still involved and sharing their knowledge. I am thankful for the connections I made during the conference and the opportunities for future externships that I can learn from in the coming year.

The sessions offered at the conference covered a diverse range of topics and were an excellent learning experience for those just getting started in the industry. The pre-conference ET 101 course was an excellent refresher on introductory material and an opportunity for practitioners to troubleshoot problems they have encountered and get advice. The general sessions throughout the conference showed the scientific and research-driven aspect of this field. I particularly appreciated the question-and-answer times following the presentations, as the questions showed vested interest in ensuring that solid research methods were leading to valid conclusions. This field seems to lend itself nicely to research studies even at the private practitioner level, and with room to still grow and improve, this aspect is a drawing force to see where we can improve over the next generation.

Finally, I must mention the truly family-like atmosphere among the membership. It may not be as small and close-knit as it once was, but the warmth and friendship throughout the conference was apparent. Everyone was very welcoming, and I had several people comment about the organization’s efforts to get younger members involved, and I believe the scholarship is a great start to those efforts. I was also interested to hear about other programs within the organization, such as the trade missions, which not only offer valuable services to other countries but promote international trade as well. The efforts to continually improve this organization are apparent, and the collaborative nature of the group makes it one which will be a privilege to be a part of.

Thank you again to all of those involved who make these scholarships possible. I look forward to continuing to be a part of this organization and seeing the strides made in years to come.

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