Educational Opportunities & Engagement

Beagle Run

In collaboration with the Virginia Tech School of Architecture, specifically Building and Construction graduate students, CENTAUR and VAMD veterinary students were awarded a university grant to design a new “Beagle Run” for the pack of research beagle living at the vet school. This run is designed to provide the best outdoor experience for the beagle and their handlers while maintaining a bio-inclusive and sanitary design.


CENTAUR faculty participated in co-teaching a “Bio-Build” graduate course focused on learning about and integrating the needs of living things, like plants and animals, into the built environment for the benefit of people and animals. This course is intended to expose graduate student in the College of Architecture to design challenges and modifications that assist in integrating elements of the living world into the built environment. The particular focus this fall was aimed at creating environments that accommodated animals,  and supported animal-human relationships.

Animal-Human Relationships Course

In the spirit of interdisciplinary collaboration, CENTAUR program director Dr. Virginia Maxwell created a new elective course for third-year veterinary students called “Topics in Animal Human Relationships”, centered on fostering an interdisciplinary perspective on a veterinarian’s role in providing health services to animals while being mindful of the anima;-human relationship. This course brought together professors and speakers from many disciplines, including psychologists, attorneys, animal behaviorists and architects from across Virginia Tech and beyond to provide VAMD vet students with unique insights into the complexities of the animal-human relationship and how to become well-rounded veterinarians. Students in the MPH as well as undergraduate seniors and graduate students in departments across campus are also welcomed to enroll or audit. 

Companion Animal Behavior & Socialization Course

Dr. Virginia Maxwell, a professor and specialist in large animal internal medicine and certified in shelter medicine, and Dr. Erica Feuerbacher, associate professor of animal science and welfare in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS), together coordinate the new Companion Animal Behavior and Socialization course. This elective course is offered to third-year students at the veterinary college, along with students in the master of public health program, and seniors and graduate students in animal behavior science through CALS. The course consists of eight live or recorded lecture sessions, five laboratory sessions working with Animal Care for Education (ACE) dogs, and two student presentation sessions. The ACE dogs come from regional shelters, fostered by the veterinary college from August to mid-October, before being adopted into homes. A major objective of the course is for students to learn how to recognize and understand behavioral cues that could indicate more serious physical problems in companion animals.

Journal Club

CENTAUR hosts a monthly journal club for affiliated faculty, graduate students, and cross-campus professionals to attend. Journal Club is an informal discussion of current literature on topics determined by the monthly presenter. This interdisciplinary group consists of graduate students, professors, and professionals from many colleges and departments, including Psychology, Human Development, Architecture, Engineering, and Animal Science.

Clerkships, Student Projects & Student Scholars

Public-Corporate Clerkships 

CENTAUR faculty serve as preceptors for public corporate (PC) clerkships that permit students to develop an understanding the veterinarian’s role in assisting non-profit organizations such as shelters, and service dog providers. These experiences are often arranged with non-profits that have an on-going relationship with CENTAUR but may also be established at a new facility that can provide students a unique perspective on the Animal Human Health relationships. 

St. Francis PC Student Projects

  • Arian Skiba - Layperson pamphlets on Puppy diseases
  • Emily Brookes - Layperson decision Tree on puppy GI diseases (Vomiting, Diarrhea)
  • Laura Parkhurst - Layperson document on dangerous house hold products and response to dog exposure
  • Jeffrey Lung - Layperson charts on parasite control in SA
  • Jonathan Cappelmann - Layperson charts on common medications prescribed for small animals – administration, activity , SE
  • Kelsey Lamb - Lay person document on kennel emergency protocols
  • Tara Durkin - Lay person documents on blood sucking parasites
  • Raegan Huges - Needs of partner & service dog in veterinary setting
  • Sadye Soffin - Breeding dog and puppy care
  • Emily Barber - Service dog retirement information and assessment

Middleburg Humane Foundation PC Student Projects

  • Amanda Hazy - Updating SOPs for horses housed at MHF
  • Brianna Piechowski - Investigation of reason for relinquishing horses to MHF

Healing Strides PC Student Projects

  • Micah Thompson - Investigated reasons for horse retirement from EAAT programs.  Included data collection, analysis, and a short report of findings

PC Clerkship Students, Clerkship Expereince Descriptions & Deliverables

10 Things to Consider Before Adopting a New Pet.pdf by Mike Karchner, PC Clerkship
MDL Biosecurity Manual.pdf by Kyle Borodunovich, PC Clerkship
MDL Dog Socialization Program.pdf by Taylor Ellis, PC Clerkship
PC Externship.pdf by Gemma Carter, PC Clerkship
Body Condition Score_ St. Francis Dog.pdf by Nicole Fanfarillo, PC Clerkship
CayleeSFSD.pdf by Caylee Cuppernull, PC Externship
SadieSFSD.pdf by Sadye Soffin, PC Externship
SFSD Project_Hughes.pdf by Raegan Hughs, PC Externship
SFSD Retirement Info.pdf by Emily Barber, PC Externship

Masters of Public Health (MPH) Practicum 

CENTAUR faculty also act as preceptors for Masters of Public Health (MPH) Public Health Practice Experience (PHPE), an individual experiential learning opportunity that serves as a bridge between a student’s academic training and applied public health practice. The student will develop products that demonstrate attainment of program foundational and concentration-specific competencies and are useful to the PHPE site organization. PHPE sites include domestic and international governmental, non-governmental, non-profit, industrial, for-profit settings, appropriate university-affiliated settings. The program works with the student to develop a PHPE that is aligned with their academic goals and potential future public health career plans. 

Middleburg Humane Foundation MPH Student Projects

  • Lizzie Rives - Literature review on influence of pet ownership on departure decisions by people experiencing domestic violence.  Lizzie is also developing pamphlets on assessing animal health for shelter volunteers for MHF
  • Jenna Eggborn - Biosecurity and Preventative care of Horses and Mini Pigs

MPH PHPE Project Descriptions & Deliverables

MHF Advanced Manual.pdf by Charlee Shulte, PHPE Student
MPH PHPE Poster.pdf by Alexis Nuzzo, PHPE Student
Comprehensive Preconditioning SOP.pdf by Tara Long, PHPE Student
Preconditioning Requirements, Dog Aging and Disease Data Analysis.pdf by Tara Long, PHPE Student

Summer DVM Student Scholars 

CENTAUR faculty and affiliate faculty are proud to work with students participating in the Summer Veterinary Student Research Program (SVSRP) program. The objective of the SVASP program is to expose veterinary students to research and the diverse opportunities for a biomedical research career. Veterinarians with a biomedical research background are in demand and this career path provides many opportunities in academic, federal, biotech and pharmaceutical institutions. To achieve our  objective we have identified four key success factors:

  • Close interaction of high-quality students who show an interest in research with enthusiastic competent scientists as mentors•
  • Educational activities that support a fundamental learning experience in biomedical research
  • Exposure to DVM scientists in federal governmental agencies, academia (medical and veterinary school), and industry who have chosen to pursue a biomedical research career

Current DVM Scholars Opportunities:

  • Opportunities will be anncounced here when available