Immerse yourself in the marine world and explore your passions for veterinary science, animal care, animal training and research.
The Pre-Vet: Marine Animal Health and Veterinary Science course will be hosted at Mystic Aquarium in Mystic, CT where students will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the marine world. Throughout this course students will be interacting with aquarium research scientists, veterinarians, animal trainers and animal rescue professionals to understand the science behind their work. Students will gain knowledge and experience through labs and activities focused on animals at Mystic Aquarium including penguins, seals, reptiles and fishes.
Through this course students will participate in labs, tours and activities that will increase their scientific literacy in genetics, hematology, microbiology, anatomy and physiology. Students will learn about careers and education/career pathways directly from working professionals to understand if animal health and veterinary science is a desirable education and career path. Journal discussions will develop students’ skills in reading and analysis of primary scientific literature.
The course involves off-site visits to Mystic Aquarium and the UConn, Avery Point Campus. Supervised transportation is provided by the program and is included in the course cost and fees. Parents/guardians and students will be required to submit Mystic Aquarium participation forms prior to attending this course.
This class is meant to be immersive and students will experience:
- Learn about a wide variety of careers in animal health and veterinary science, from professionals in all stages of their careers.
- Participate in lab programs focused on hematology, microbiology, molecular biology, anatomy and physiology, and learn how each is utilized to analyze an animal’s health.
- Observe feeding and training sessions with beluga whales, penguins and sea lions, and have the opportunity to learn from and ask questions of their animal care teams.
- Please note: students will not have direct encounters with marine mammals.
- Visit behind-the-scenes areas to view animal care, research and veterinary staff at work. This will include a visit to the animal rescue clinic to understand the veterinary care of both animals at the aquarium temporarily for rehabilitation as well as animals permanently in our care.
- Explore current topics in marine mammal research during journal article discussions.
Meet the Professor
Maureen Driscoll, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in Residence of Marine Sciences
Dr. Driscoll is a research scientist at Mystic Aquarium where she has worked for the last 6 years conducting research to assess the health of marine animals. Her two primary areas of focus are 1) developing methods to measure hormones and other biomarkers in alternative matrices such as feces, saliva, respiratory blow, and feathers; and 2) documenting the microbiomes of marine animals to see how bacterial communities contribute to their overall health. Her projects have focused on beluga whales, African penguins, seals, walruses, and amphibians. Dr. Driscoll received her B.S. in Biology from Salem State University, Salem MA and was awarded a Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Biology with a concentration in Microbiology from the University of Rhode Island. She is also an Assistant-Professor-in-Residence at UConn, where she lectures for several Marine Biology courses. This is her forth summer teaching the Pre-vet course.
Maureen Driscoll, PhD, (https://marinesciences.uconn.edu/person/maureen-driscoll/) Research Fellow, Assistant Professor in Residence of UConn Marine Sciences.