Devon Wilson (centre) plays Ms. Frizzle in the students' Magic School Bus parody video.

WCVM students win ultrasound machine

A group of University of Saskatchewan veterinary students has been rewarded for their creativity with a large animal ultrasound machine – first prize in a North American university video contest sponsored by BCF Technology.

The Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) team members, who were the only Canadian entrants, handily beat out the other four finalists vying for the prize with an amazing 2,840 votes for their video submission – a magic school bus ride through a cow's reproductive system.

The competitors — Devon Wilson, Elad Ben-Ezra, Marshall McDonald, Colin Taylor, Denise Kileywegt, Lisa Misener, Zac Waddington, Graham Ellingson and Aaron Hughes — are all members of the WCVM's Production Animal Club. They drew inspiration for their magical bus tour from a shared childhood experience – watching The Magic School Bus, a popular animated television series from the 1990s.

Once they had created and submitted their video along with three veterinary-related articles, the students worked hard to garner votes by promoting their entry through social media as well as through other conventional media coverage.

"This has all been so much fun," said Wilson, one of the video participants who's also in charge of public relations for the Production Animal Club. "We've had so much support from local news sources, and we even did radio interviews."

Nicole Lamb-Vosen, marketing manager for BCF North America, was impressed by the students' creativity and their efforts to gain support.

"The ‘Magic School Bus' video definitely stood out with the time they put into its creation. Based on the video, press support and votes, we know that this Easi-Scan will get a workout by this group of students, and we are glad to be able to contribute to their education," said Lamb-Vosen in a news release.

The Easi-Scan ultrasound machine will be a welcome addition to the college's diagnostic equipment, and it will greatly benefit the students, particularly in their third-year palpation class.

"Ultrasound has become much more common in cattle reproductive work," said Dr. Chris Clark, a WCVM associate professor and a specialist in large animal medicine.

"The students in the palpation lab get exposed to ultrasounds, but we don't have a very large number of them and it's a fairly large class. Learning to use an ultrasound machine to help with palpation makes a huge difference because they can see what they're feeling."

Students from other classes will benefit from an additional machine that will afford them more opportunities to practise operating the diagnostic tool. And the machine will be valuable for diagnosing conditions such as umbilical cord infections and certain types of lung disease.

The ultrasound unit, valued at more than US$12,000, is a fitting prize for a contest sponsored by BCF Technology, a company that strives to provide ultrasound education to the veterinary industry and endeavours to involve university students through their BCF University Program.

"This is the second year we have held this competition to support our BCF University Program and its mission of supplying veterinary students with additional ultrasound education prior to their graduation," Lamb-Vosen explained. "This program can't exist without these veterinary students, and their enthusiasm is greatly appreciated."

Read more about the Magic School Bus parody video on WCVM Today.
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