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Interview with Dr. Chris Carpenter

Short info about yourself

Chris Carpenter, DVM, is the founder and president of Vet Set Go, the first and only web community dedicated to helping teen and tween aspiring veterinarians explore their passion. Vet Set Go works to encourage future veterinarians to explore their dream and to show them how they can start today.

Dr. Carpenter holds a license to practice veterinary medicine in multiple states throughout the US. He is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association and the National Science Teachers Association.

In addition to his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the Auburn College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Carpenter holds a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology from the University of Florida and a Masters of Business Administration from New Hampshire College.

Dr. Chris Carpenter with vet tech and dog - I Love Veterinary

Raised as a “military brat” who grew up all over the country, Dr. Carpenter now lives in St. Augustine, Florida with his wife, daughter and a goofy Labradoodle named Jackson. In his spare time, you will find him taking in the Florida sun as he surfs, road bikes, swims, or spends time with Jackson at the neighborhood dog park.

When and why did you decide to become a vet?

I made my decision to become a veterinarian when I was eleven years old. I was working at dog shows and decided at the time and decided that I wanted to spend my life working around animals. 

Where did you study?

In addition to his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the Auburn College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Carpenter holds a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology from the University of Florida and a Masters of Business Administration from New Hampshire College.

Say something about your vet school

I loved going to Auburn College of Veterinary Medicine. The whole program was focused on developing great practitioners and I loved that. To me, veterinary school really got exciting during our junior and senior years when we started working more and more with animals in a clinical environment.

Tell us about Vet Set Go and what made you start it?

Surveys show that 65 percent of today’s veterinarians decided before the age of 13 that it was the career path they wanted to pursue. Unfortunately because of their young age, it can be difficult for future vets to find opportunities to gain animal experience or volunteer.

Dr. Chris Carpenter with vet assistant - I Love Veterinary

This is why I started Vet Set Go. To encourage young future vets to explore their dream and to show them how they can get veterinary and animal experience today. 

Tell us about the Vet Set Go “Become a Veterinarian Camp Contest.”

To help up-and-coming young students pursue their dreams of becoming a veterinarian now, Vet Set Go — the first and only community dedicated to aspiring teen and tween veterinarians, together with Merck Animal Health, a leading healthcare company that boasts extensive knowledge in shaping the future of animal health and enhancing the veterinary profession — is inviting sixth through eighth grade students to enter the fifth annual Vet Set Go “Become a Veterinarian Camp Contest 2021.”

The online essay contest will award three prizes for tween and teen students to attend the Auburn University’s Junior Vet Camp from July 11-16, 2021, at Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine, one of the nation’s premiere veterinarian schools. 

The prize package is valued at $845 and includes camp tuition and room and board at the Auburn Junior Veterinary Camp in Auburn, Ala. Transportation to the camp is the responsibility of the winners. The contest opens on Monday, March 1, 2021 at 8am EST, with an online essay submission available at www.vetsetgo.com.

The contest ends on Wednesday, March 31st, 2021, with all essays due by 11:59 p.m. EST. The three selected winners will be notified of their free Junior Vet Camp experience by May 30, 2021.

"Become a Veterinarian Camp" kids examining old beagle - I Love Veterinary

“Since the onset of the pandemic, veterinarians have not been able to allow young, aspiring veterinarians the invaluable opportunity to volunteer and shadow in their clinics and hospitals as they traditionally would. They’ve been in survival mode managing an unprecedented demand for services while adapting to new curbside operation protocols,” said Chris Carpenter, DVM, founder and president of Vet Set Go.

“That’s why we know there is an even greater need and desire for animal healthcare experience. Vet Set Go is proud to offer this unique opportunity to help send young, aspiring veterinarians to this world-renowned veterinary program this summer.”

Where is the camp and what does it entail? 

During the camp, contest winners will learn about veterinary medicine at Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine, one of the nation’s premiere veterinarian schools.  The will receive instruction in Auburn University classrooms, laboratories, and outdoor facilities.

The curriculum includes learning about public health, food animals, wildlife, anatomy, x-rays, and first aid as well as valuable mentoring about veterinary science careers.

How does one enter the contest? 

The Vet Set Go “Become a Veterinarian Camp Contest” is open to students entering sixth through eighth grade in fall 2021. With the help of a parent or guardian, students enter the contest using the official entry form available Monday, March 1, 2021, at www.vetsetgo.com.

"Become a veterinarian camp", vet with horse and kids visiting camp - I Love Veterinary

Student entrants will be asked to complete a short online essay (300 words or less) that addresses at least one of these topics:

  • Why they want to be a veterinarian
  • Why they love animals
  • What they have done to get animal experience or learn more about science

Additionally, contestants will be asked to submit a photo of themselves with a favorite pet or animal or doing something to demonstrate their animal experience. Every contest applicant will receive a free Vet Set Go “Become A Vet Quiz.” The web-based quiz offers aspiring veterinarians a custom 19-page report with custom advice and guidance to pursue their dreams.

What do you look for in future veterinarians and how can we continue to encourage and inspire them?

I love when I meet an aspiring veterinarian with a strong passion for animals and a determination to find a career working with them. It is a long road journey to get a veterinary degree and I truly believe people make it through because of their passion and determination.

I believe every veterinarian should allow at least one student to shadow them each year. There are literally millions of aspiring veterinarians out there and I think we should share our profession with the next generation of animal doctors.

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