We are delighted to introduce our first Country Representative from Belgium, Dutch speaking part, Anna Baauw! Her motivation to represent our Student Chapter grew when she attended the SC Symposium in the RVC, organised by the 3 representatives from the UK: Stuart, Harriet and Sima. Anna is another example of how attending lectures and meeting people outside the usual Faculty environment may enrich your knowledge and motivate you to accept new challenges.
Take a look at Anna’s brief presentation to get to know a bit more about her:
My name is Anna Baauw. I’m one of those who always wanted to become a vet as a child. I’m also one of those, who somehow ended up studying something different.
In 2014, I graduated in Forest and Nature Conservation at Wageningen University. During my master, I realized two, or maybe three things. First of all, the importance of collaboration between different disciplines, such as ecology, veterinary and medical science. Luckily, the concept of ‘OneHealth’ was gaining popularity at that time, and therefore I could easily explore pieces of those interactions. During my internship, I worked on the survival of (human) pathogens in different types of soil. For my master thesis, I did research on the interactions between ticks, animal hosts and different environmental habitat types in a nature area in South Africa.
The second thing I realized was a bit more complicated to deal with: I decided that, after all, I still wanted to become a vet. The result of this, is that I’m now a third year veterinary student at Ghent University. Although it is a long way to go, I love being in in vet school. At the same time, the ecologist in me was missing the wildlife, the linkages with nature, biodiversity, society. I started to visit conferences on biodiversity conservation and wildlife health to make that connection. In October I attended the EWDA student chapter symposium in London. Not only the talks were great; I also totally felt at home. It really felt like we all belonged to one big family. The passion and the enthusiasm I experienced there, encouraged me to start a wildlife student group back home.
As it turned out, I was not the only one, and right at that time some other great students announced that they had just started a veterinary student association on development and wildlife (www.vsdw.be), so we joined forces. We’re a very young association at this point, but my dream is for it to turn into a platform within the larger EWDA network, where we support each other, connect students, teachers and practitioners with similar passions, and also create educational opportunities (lectures, excursions, courses etc.) for students to prepare themselves for a career in wildlife conservation or other nature-society-veterinary-interdisciplinary work (OneHealth would be a shorter word to say the same…).
I’m very much looking forward to my new ‘job’. I hope that I can contribute to the EWDA by building on a larger, stronger European student network, and locally by creating a similar passionate, supportive atmosphere for other students that dream of a career in wildlife, as the one I experienced at the EWDA student chapter.
Oh, and the third thing that happened during my master studies: I met a pangolin and fell in love with him (or her).”