Pictured attending the March 8-9 national symposium of the American Pre-Veterinary Medical Association from Hope are Club Animalia student members Eden Comer, Naomi Gunneson, Emma Yonker, Ashley Lauraine and Natalie Terry, and club adviser Dr. Kelly Ronald, assistant professor of biology.

Two Holland-area students who are members of the Club Animalia veterinary club at Hope College were honored during the national symposium of the American Pre-Veterinary Medical Association (APVMA) held on Friday and Saturday, March 8 and 9, at North Carolina State University.

Ashley Lauraine and Emma Yonker Ashley Lauraine, a junior from Holland, was elected to a one-year term as vice president of the APVMA.  Emma Yonker, a junior from West Olive, was one of only two students out of the more than 500 attending from colleges and universities across the United States to be awarded a $1,000 research scholarship.

Lauraine and Yonker are both majoring in biology, and serve Club Animalia as treasurer and vice president, respectively.  Both also conduct research with Dr. Kelly Ronald, who is an assistant professor of biology and Club Animalia’s faculty adviser.  Ronald’s research studies the relationship between animal behavior and sensory physiology.

Established in 2006, Club Animalia works to promote the human-animal bond on campus and throughout the greater Holland area.  Examples of the club’s service-oriented activities include a “Zoo 2 You” program through which members bring animals from the college’s Animal Museum to local elementary schools to teach about the natural history and life of wild animals; a veterinary science class with the Ottawa County 4H; and volunteering with the Harbor Humane Society.  The club has received the APVMA’s “Outstanding Community Service Award” five times:  for 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2019-20.

On Saturday, March 23, the club is hosting its first Animal Career Day, an event tailored for middle school through undergraduate students who are interested in pursuing careers in veterinary medicine and other animal-related fields.  The event will take place in the college’s A. Paul Schaap Science Center, and will feature informative presentations, interactive workshops/hands-on labs, and engaging discussions led by veterinarians, scientists and animal-care professionals; several animal-centered organizations present for networking opportunities throughout the day; and a dedicated table hour with live animals.  Registration is $15, and more information is available at https://hope.edu/academics/center-exploratory-learning/

The American Pre-Veterinary Medical Association is a national organization of pre-veterinary students that seeks to promote and stimulate interest in the field of veterinary medicine, provide open communication between pre-veterinary clubs and organizations nationally and provide resources to students on pursuing the field of veterinary medicine.  The APVMA’s annual, two-day symposium is designed to expose pre-veterinary students to the diversity of the profession, while also providing networking opportunities.

A total of five members of Club Animalia as well as Ronald attended this year’s symposium.  In addition to Lauraine and Yonker, the Hope students who attended were Eden Comer, Naomi Gunneson and Natalie Terry.