A Sylvania student recently won an essay contest, granting her a coveted spot in a week-long veterinarian camp at Auburn University.

Many young students grow up wishing to become a veterinarian, but it may be difficult for them to find opportunities for hands-on experience at a young age.

Harlee Turner, a 13-year-old from Sylvania, knows she wants to become a vet when she gets older, but she didn’t have to wait until college to learn more about animals.

Turner, after writing an essay about why she wanted to enter this particular field, was selected to attend a spot at Auburn University’s Junior Vet Camp from July 15-20.

Royal Canin, a leader in pet health and nutrition, and Vet Set Go, the only community dedicated to aspiring young veterinarians, partnered to create the contest which allowed Turner to attend the camp.

Dr. Brent Mayabb, Royal Canin’s Chief Veterinary Officer and Vice President of Corporate Affairs, said his company wanted to provide youth with the opportunity to learn more about the veterinary field.

“Royal Canin believes veterinarians are at the core of making a better world for pets, and we recognize the importance of encouraging future veterinarians across the country to pursue their dreams,” said Mayabb. “For aspiring veterinarians, it can be difficult to find opportunities where they can get experience working with animals at a young age.

“This contest is designed to help overcome this challenge and give students access to the world of veterinary medicine.”

It is important to get these students involved as soon as possible, said Dr. Chris Carpenter, Founder and President of Vet Set Go.

“The love of animals is often where the early passion is ignited for veterinarians,” said Carpenter. “Our field is expected to grow in the coming years, and this time in adolescents’ lives is critical to nurture and support these dreams and give a glimpse of what the future can hold. We couldn’t do this without the support of Royal Canin and are grateful for the partnership.”

Turner said she is also grateful for getting to attend the camp.

The skills she learned from the camp at Auburn, Turner said, will help her on her parents’ poultry, beef and goat farm.

Turner said at the camp she learned how to perform suturing patterns and how to locate where certain bones are in animals.

“I was really interested in learning more in order to help my parents on the farm,” she said. “It gave me a better experience to learn how to help.”

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