Jeff Olivarez of Edmond, Okla., and fourth year veterinary student at Oklahoma State University’s Center for Veterinary Health Sciences, is in the final stretch of his term as president of the Student American Veterinary Medical Association. As leader of this national organization, he has been able to represent all veterinary students at several national meetings.
“Being the student AVMA president has been great this past year,” says Olivarez. “I’ve gotten to meet a lot of people, go to a lot of meetings, and really represent the students.
“Probably my greatest accomplishment so far in this position is just being able to better serve the students. We are changing things up within the committees, trying to increase grant amounts and offer more opportunities for students. We’ve created an at large liaison position for all of our members to apply for. That way it’s not just limited to a set amount of students, like our delegates, being able to go to these different meetings. We really want to involve as many people as possible. So just kind of breaking down some of those barriers that we’ve had in the past and really opening up our organization as a whole.”
And in the remaining time Jeff is in office, he has a few goals in mind.
“I would like to keep my sanity and to graduate,” he says smiling. “One of our projects that we’re working on is an app for our members. I would really like to get that launched before the end of my presidency.”
However, leading SAVMA doesn’t come without challenges.
“I’ve had to take some days off from class. Now that I’m a fourth year, I have to take some days out of clinics to attend conferences and meetings to make sure that our voice is heard. It does take a lot of work but it’s totally worth it in the end. If any veterinary student is considering getting involved, I would say do it. It has truly changed my life. I’ve grown personally. I’ve been able to meet and talk with some great veterinarians. You get to do and be a part of something bigger than yourself.
“Part of the reason why I wanted to run is to serve the students but also to prove that you don’t have to be as super serious as some people might think. I’m a goofy person. I wanted to challenge the norm and be able to show that you can lead and still have a good time.
“I’m just really thankful for all the support I’ve been given from the school and from my peers as well as clinicians and faculty members. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without them. I’ve truly enjoyed my time serving all the students and I’ve hopefully done a pretty good job.”
If you are interested in learning more about the Student American Veterinary Medical Association, visit the SAVMA webpage. For information on one of the top veterinary programs in the country, visit http://cvhs.okstate.edu/DVM_Program.
Contact: Derinda Blakeney, APR | OSU Center for Veterinary Health Sciences | 405-744-6740 | firstname.lastname@example.org