UC Davis students jump head-first into leadership


Davis, Calif.-Madeline Yamate knows how to be a team player. With an MBA in marketing and organizational behavior, she's got the basics of negotiation, time management and project solving covered.

Davis, Calif.-Madeline Yamate knows how to be a team player. Withan MBA in marketing and organizational behavior, she's got the basics ofnegotiation, time management and project solving covered.

So when this first-year UC Davis veterinary student decided to cut summerbreak short and partake in a week-long program on leadership, she didn'tanticipate hearing anything new.

Instead, Yamate discovered a program that's anything but conventional.

"I expected to go through cerebral exercises, and we did, but Iwas delighted to find they were presented in a way that was enjoyable inaddition to being educational," she says. "Imagine learning inan environment that is warm, supportive and open to different view points.

"Every night I went home feeling really excited about what we haddone and learned, and although I was physically and psychologically fatigued,I was also invigorated by all the positive experiences I had during theday."

A new way to educate

The Veterinary Leadership Project, a pilot educational program in itssecond year, is five full days of workshops designed to develop skills inlistening, decision-making, conflict management and negotiation, to namea few.

Held in late August, the program offers hands-on exercises that aren'ttraditionally taught in the classroom but are key to developing a successfulcareer in veterinary medicine, says project coordinator Donald Klingborg,DVM.

"The veterinary profession has a solid history of community leadership,but the rates and magnitude of change in veterinary medicine requires ever-improvingleadership assets and commitment," says Klingborg, assistant dean forpublic programs. "These workshops are designed to provide studentswith a toolbox of skills that will help them balance complex demands ofcareer, community involvement and personal life."

Life lessons

Michele Hoag, another first-year student, says she acquired skills she'lluse the rest of her life.

"It was so much better than I could've expected," Hoag says."I basically thought they were going to give us information on howto survive vet school. What they gave us was leadership training that Ithink I will use my entire life, both in school as well as in practice.

"The week we spent at the training was tough but it made my transitioninto veterinary school so much smoother and gave me more confidence."

Yamate, too, is ready to tackle four years of work. "We receivedskills and tools that will aid us both in the immediate future and furtherdown the road. If nothing else it allows you to create bonds with your fellowstudents, which certainly makes the vet school environment more welcoming."

Schnurmacher Foundations, Hill's Pet Nutrition, Inc., and UC Davis sponsorthe program.

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