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Oklahoma State University
Center for Veterinary Health Sciences

Healthy Animals - Healthy People

Olivarez Chosen to Lead

Wednesday, May 18 2016

man sitting in a classroom

Jeff Olivarez of Edmond, Okla., is about to put Oklahoma State University’s Center for Veterinary Health Sciences in the national spotlight. Olivarez was recently selected as president-elect of the Student American Veterinary Medical Association. He will spend the next year preparing for his run as president of SAVMA, the national organization of veterinary students.

Olivarez just completed his second year of veterinary college at Oklahoma State University. He plans to spend the summer working at a small animal clinic in his hometown. However, he hasn’t always pursued a degree in veterinary medicine.

“Going through college, I went to undergrad for human medicine,” said Olivarez. “But I was never really passionate about it so my senior year of my undergrad, I decided that vet school was actually what I wanted to do.”

As many Oklahomans do, Olivarez chose to take advantage of the instate tuition break.

“I chose Oklahoma State because, to be honest, it was the most affordable option. I love the school. It’s the best in my opinion.

“Vet school is going great so far. It’s been one of the hardest things that I have ever done but it’s going well. I’ve never considered myself a great student but it’s amazing to me, seeing once I’m actually learning something I care about, how much my attitude toward academics has changed and my scores overall.”

And like many who attend Oklahoma’s only veterinary college, Olivarez likes the overall atmosphere.

“I love the people the most. The faculty is great here, all the staff. And then the clinicians are always willing to help, always willing to teach. I’ve built a small little family here. I’m from Edmond which isn’t that far away but in vet school just from all the work it’s hard to get away. So I’ve kind of created my own little family here with friends. And they are my real support system and I really appreciate them for that.”

Olivarez says wanting to give back led him to run for SAVMA president.

“I’ve always wanted to serve the students and I thought the best opportunity for that would be to be SAVMA president.”

When he found out he had won, a moment of panic set in.

“They announced my name and I think my heart stopped. I had a group chat started with everyone that was at Symposium from Oklahoma State. I texted them immediately, like, I just won, I can’t believe it.

Olivarez will spend his year as president-elect learning everything that the president is responsible for.

“I travel with the president to all the AVMA Board of Directors meetings, any event that he’s at, I’m also at and just asking questions and learning what I really need to do. The president is supposed to be the voice of the students.

“I love that I get the opportunity to serve the students and really find out what they need to be done and what they want out of their vet school experience and trying to help them with that. I like that everywhere I go I get to represent Oklahoma. People are asking me where are you from and I get to say Oklahoma State University.

“I’m really excited for this opportunity. I think it will change my life forever. And I want to do the best that I can. So I want the students to know that I’m available for them. And if they need anything, nothing is too small. They can reach out to us, the SAVMA exec board. Myself included and the rest of the board are available 100 percent of the time for anybody.”

For more information on the Student American Veterinary Medical Association visit the SAVMA website.