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Volunteer experience through the Pre-Vet Club

WWU’s Pre-Veterinary Club supports pre-health students in moving into their career field

Above, students discuss veterinary topics and support each other through similar experiences. Below, veterinarians connect and work with their patients. // Illustration by Mina Di Virgilio

Those interested in veterinary medicine at Western Washington University have the opportunity to broaden their volunteer experience and student connections at the Pre-Veterinary Club. There, attendees explore a variety of topics from career pathways to ethics to research in the field.

According to Clare Arguijo Boehm, club president, meetings are discussion-based, and facilitate networking within the field in order for students to further their experiences and potential opportunities. She mentioned that by bringing together even a small group of people who are passionate about the realm of helping people and animals, valuable things can be shared. 

“It's always the most disappointing thing when you miss an opportunity [because] you weren't aware of it,” Boehm said. “Being able to expose people to opportunities that they may not have found on their own is incredibly important.”

Mary Darst, a club member since spring of 2023, explains that any pre-health pathway is complicated to navigate, and that support from peers is essential. These relationships are especially important if you don’t have family or friends with knowledge and experience in these fields. 

Getting clinical experience can be challenging, according to Darst, as many veterinary clinics want those with one to two years of clinical experience prior to hiring. 

“I didn't really have an ‘in’ anywhere. And I feel like this club gives you an opportunity to have somewhat of an even playing field with other applicants,” Darst said. “I have been working at a clinic for a little over two years now. I was able to recommend some opportunities at that clinic. One of the girls that I recommended it to was a volunteer vet assistant [there] for a while and I think that gave her an in to get a job. She works at Banfield [Pet Hospital] now.”

Scott Brown, an advisor and coordinator for animal sciences at Washington State University, explained the importance of getting as much experience as possible, and WSU’s own student club opportunities. 

“It gives them the chance to try things out and see if there's a different interest for them. It's just always a great opportunity. And plus, it looks good on the resume when they're applying for grad school,” Brown said. “It's a great advantage for [students].”

According to Boehm, the club also welcomes licensed veterinarians to share their experiences and facilitate tabling events to fundraise and inform students about their meetings. 

They are currently in the process of compiling pre-health volunteer opportunities for their members that are flexible with student schedules. They are interested in working with organizations in downtown Bellingham, such as the Animals as Natural Therapy nonprofit, which uses animal-guided behavioral and mental health practices. Along with this, they hope to coordinate volunteering with clubs on campus, like the Western Equestrian club. 

“At the beginning of last quarter, we were talking about what we wanted to see from the club for the year and it was exciting to see a bunch of hands shoot up for different topics that they wanted to be covered,” Boehm said. “It got me really excited for the year, it’s what keeps motivating me to work hard on these presentations that we have every two weeks.”

The club’s last meeting of the quarter, where they will plan volunteer events for spring quarter, will take place on March 11 in the Interdisciplinary Science building room 242.

Meetings are held bi-weekly, typically Mondays at 4 p.m., but are subject to change depending on availability of speakers. More information on dates and location can be found here.

Mina Di Virgilio

Mina Di Virgilio (she/her) is a campus life reporter for The Front this quarter. She is a third-year Spanish major and journalism/public relations minor. Outside of reporting on Western’s campus, Mina enjoys reading, drawing, and figure skating. You can reach her at

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