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CVM Students Take on National
Leadership Roles

Two third-year students at the MU College of Veterinary Medicine, Brian Jochems and Jessi Kraemer, have been selected to join the executive boards of national veterinary student organizations.

Jochems Joins SAVMA Board

Jochems was chosen to be the international exchange officer-elect for the Student American Veterinary Medical Association executive board.

Created in 1969, the organization’s goals include introducing veterinary students to the concept of organized veterinary medicine; promoting, enhancing and supporting professionalism and veterinary medical education; and encouraging the development and empowerment of students as leaders in the profession of veterinary medicine and the community as a whole.

Jochems will serve one year as the SAVMA board’s international exchange officer-elect and the following year as the international exchange officer. In these positions, he will represent SAVMA internationally and serve as a resource for veterinary students interested in international experiences, he said.

Jochems said he is passionate about international travel and has experienced the benefits of international education firsthand. While an undergraduate at MU, Jochems spent a semester studying at the University of Reading in the United Kingdom. In addition to taking classes not available at MU, it was an opportunity to meet new people, try new things and step out of his comfort zone, he said. After his classes ended, he capped off the experience with a whirlwind three-week sightseeing tour of 14 countries.

“That sparked my interest in international experiences and the benefit of getting different perspectives from other cultures and countries,” Jochems said.

Since starting his veterinary education, Jochems has met international veterinary students at conferences and through other experiences. Through their “mutual passion for animal welfare and well-being,” he learned about some of the ways veterinary medicine can differ depending on location. For example, different regions might use different anesthesia drugs based on their availability and cost, he said. Jochems said learning about these differences “helps strengthen your understanding of the profession and enhances your ability to practice the best veterinary medicine.”

Jochems’ new position will require a large time commitment and a lot of travel, but it will be worth it, he said. He will be taking four trips during his two years in office, starting with two weeks in Romania this summer followed by trips to Taiwan, Austria and Istanbul later. He will also attend all annual AVMA conventions and SAVMA symposiums.

Kraemer Joins VBMA Board

Following a competitive application process and interview, Jessi Kraemer was selected to join the Veterinary Business Management Association’s 2016 national executive board.

The VBMA is a student-driven organization dedicated to advancing the veterinary profession by increasing business knowledge, creating networking opportunities and empowering students to achieve their personal and professional goals. Founded in 2004, it is the largest veterinary student organization without an umbrella or parent organization.

Its board is composed of six officers: president, vice president, treasurer, business certificate director, marketing director and compliance chair. In July, Kraemer will find out which office she will hold and will begin preparing to transition into that role under the guidance of the current officeholder. Kraemer will officially start in January 2016 and serve until the end of the year.

A past president of the MU VBMA chapter, Kraemer enthusiastically endorses the organization’s mission.

“VBMA has shown me my niche of passion in veterinary medicine,” she said.

Kraemer said VBMA teaches veterinary students valuable skills they might not learn elsewhere, such as how to negotiate their first jobs, pay off debts or successfully run a business. These skills help students become better veterinarians and better people, she said.

Kraemer said she appreciates the opportunities VBMA has given her to grow as a leader.

“Leadership is a skill,” she said. “You’re not born a leader; it’s a skill you can develop.”

Like Jochems, Kraemer will face a large time commitment in her new position. In addition to participating in many conference calls, she will attend the annual AVMA and VBMA conferences.

“I will always make time for things I’m passionate about,” she said.

Although Kraemer took some business courses during her undergraduate education, she didn’t anticipate just how much she would enjoy learning business skills through VBMA activities.

“I never saw myself being involved in a business organization, but here I am,” she said.

With two years of her veterinary education remaining, Kraemer is keeping her future career options open. However, she said she is considering opening her own practice someday or pursuing possibilities in industry. She likes the corporate structure and its potential for growth and expansion.

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Last Update: February 29, 2012