June 23, 2017

Alphabet Soup

By Merrill Simpson

This week we visited USDA-APHIS and met with veterinarians working in a variety of roles- from foreign animal disease outbreak prevention to policy and science technology development. The toughest part about the day was keeping up with the acronyms. Vet school only prepared me so much for the onslaught of acronyms. My advice is to study the “Acronyms and Initialisms” list we are given when we arrive at the externship.

Attending the BOD (Board of Directors) meeting this week reminded me of the importance of word choice. There were deliberations over the way policies and recommendations were written. While this may seem tedious, it is extremely important to have correct grammar and ensure proper communication of a stance AVMA takes on policy related to veterinary medicine. While I haven’t sat in to watch a bill being drafted, I can make an educated guess that there is extensive deliberation over sentence structure and word choice.

Language is really powerful, if you want to work in policy, it is important to be articulate and have a good handle on the written word. For certain international relations positions, it would be imperative to be fluent in another language. To give your brain a break from all the acronyms, take some time to visit the U.S. Botanical Gardens and the monuments. D.C. is an incredible place to explore! More D.C. advice is to get comfortable with the word “interesting” because everyone uses it for any situation where they are trying to be PC (one final acronym).

AbeBotanical Gardens