For Ashley Lounsberry, a second-year veterinary medicine student from Illinois, the opportunity to participate along with eight other College of Veterinary Medicine students to travel in April to Washington, D.C. was a no-brainer.
Lounsberry and her fellow Iowa State students participated in the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Fly-in along with numerous other veterinary students and AVMA members from across the United States.
“It was a great learning opportunity to see how I could be involved with policy and advocacy,” Lounsberry said, “and how we can play a role in the legislative process.”
While the student group was meeting with Congressional members and staffers on a variety of subjects, the one that generated the most conversation was the Combating Illicit Xyazline Act. Xyazline is a drug used for sedation, anesthesia, muscle relaxation, and analgesia in horses and cattle.
The Iowa State veterinary students were paired with professional veterinarians on their walk-through Capitol Hill. Each of the students said they were expecting the AVMA members to take the lead in the discussions with the legislative leaders.
Instead, they deferred to the students.
“I’ve previously done similar sessions at the state and local level, and almost always it’s the veterinarians that speak,” said Hannah Nelson, a third-year student from Iowa. “It was really cool that on the federal level, they let us take the lead. “Fortunately the AVMA prepared us well for this and we all had confidence we could do that.”
Other Iowa State veterinary students who attended the AVMA Legislative Fly-In included Clara Young, fourth-year student, Iowa; Sienna Piersma, third-year student, Iowa; Megan Kellen, third-year student, Iowa; Michele Moncrief, third-year student, Georgia. Miranda Painter, third-year student, South Dakota; and Avinash Bevoor, first-year student, Iowa.