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Animal Science Student Shadows Veterinarians in Italy


JONESBORO – A summer trip turned out to be much more enlightening than pre-veterinary medicine student Jared Baltz of Pocahontas anticipated.

Baltz spent two weeks in Europe, getting a first-hand orientation to working in veterinary medicine while participating in the Doctors in Italy Fellowship Program. Doctors in Italy encourages talented young people to pursue educational enrichment experiences.

“Jared got accepted into the Fellowship and had an incredible experience participating in the summer program at the animal rescues in Rome and Florence,” explained Martina Conte, a representative of the organization.

Baltz shadowed veterinarians across the country, witnessing animal rescues and learning a great deal about the profession he plans to pursue.

“Three other students and myself helped at a couple of rescues in the Rome area by feeding and helping care for animal husbandry,” Baltz said. “We learned about various animals' nutritional requirements and behavioral signs to help ensure our safety.”

They assisted with cattle, horses, sheep and goats, and they also were exposed to some more exotic animals such as an ostrich, raven, meerkat, buffalo and peacock.

“We also shadowed veterinarians at Polivet, a 24-hour emergency clinic. They provide healthcare to companion animals such as dogs and cats, but also exotics like reptiles, rabbits and birds.”

Baltz, who has begun his senior year at A-State as an animal science major in the pre-veterinary medicine program, learned about the opportunity from College of Agriculture faculty.

“This program helped further my educational experience by granting me the opportunity to see how another country does veterinary medicine and to see different perspectives on livestock. I was able to see a couple of surgeries while at the clinic and some of the equipment they use for these procedures,” Baltz explained.

The firsthand experiences with animals are very helpful to Baltz as he considers his future.

“I believe I would like to pursue a career in surgery in veterinary medicine. Also, the experience at the rescues showed me proper care for various species and practices for being safe around these large animals. Large animal medicine is another career path that I am interested in.” 

The Doctors in Italy Fellowship Program was launched in 2018, in partnership with hospitals in Italy. Last year, the fellowship expanded to include veterinary medicine.

“This program showcases the transformative power of experiential learning and the global perspective fostered within the Arkansas State University's student community,” Conte added.  Exceptional students from numerous countries are selected for the experience, which also includes in-depth immersion in Italian culture.

Photo of Baltz and Owl
Baltz with an owl at Parco Faunistico Fiocco di Neve, a wildlife and safari park.

Photo of horse named Santiago
Santiago, a rescued horse, at Santuario Capra Libera Tutti, an animal shelter.