WTAMU VERO program expands with new faculty and high hopes


Emily Merrill

Veterinary Education, Research and Outreach center is almost ready for students for the fall of 2021.

The West Texas A&M University Veterinary Education, Research and Outreach program plans on accepting students and beginning classes in the fall of 2021. This program will allow pre-veterinary students to attend their first two years at veterinary school on WTAMU campus and the last two years in College Station at Texas A&M. Two experts, Dr. Benjamin Newcomer and Dr. Jenna Funk, have been hired on to help with this program.

“They’re both outstanding hires,” said Dr. Dee Griffin, clinical professor and a director of VERO. “They’re more qualified than we had hoped. Dr. Newcomer was brought in to address the needs in milk production. He’s worked in foreign countries as well. Dr. Funk was a student of mine. We had to chase her down. They’re both country kids that know how to work hard. They’re ‘down home’ kind of people. Both bring a wealth of new ideas and open minds for what can be. They see potential and do something with it.”

More individuals are being interviewed to join the VERO faculty and teach the 18 students that will be attending veterinary school at the VERO center in the fall of 2021.

The faculty that have been brought on have very high standards and a majority of them are experts in a certain field. 15 individuals have been hired so far and more are currently being interviewed. Senior pre-veterinary student Jadeyn Arthur expressed what she expects from these new professors.

“I would want the professors to push their students to be quick thinking and resourceful individuals. They are targeting a sector of students who plan to return to rural areas, and with that they need to prepare the students for that lifestyle. I would also like the professors to give as much opportunity for research as they could,” Arthur said.

The VERO program is meant to open doors for veterinary students. Texas A&M in College Station is currently the only veterinary school located in Texas. Because of this, competition for acceptance is high and the acceptance rate of the school is very low. The VERO program at WTAMU is a solution to this problem.

“The VERO program opens up a door for opportunities and resources that will help produce more rural veterinarians. As a WTAMU pre-vet student that has witnessed first hand the shortage of rural vets, VERO promises a learning environment where I could get hands-on learning experience with livestock,” Arthur said.

The VERO program is not only an open door for pre-veterinary students or the agriculture and natural sciences department, but an open door for WTAMU as a whole. The VERO program and center will encourage even more incoming and prospecting students to visit campus. Recruitment coordinator and graduate research assistant Micah Davidson explained how the VERO program will help in this way.

“VERO takes our program a level higher than it already is. Additionally, the increased exposure and visibility with VERO being on WTAMU campus will assist in recruiting even more great students,” Davidson said.