Alumni Association Clinical Experience

Clinical Opportunities in Private Practice

The Alumni Association Executive Board (AAEB) launched a new initiative to partner students with alumni. In 2016, during conversations regarding student debt and new graduate attitude toward entering and/or owning veterinary practices, the AAEB identified a potential need. By offering to lead students on a potential path to financial freedom with clinical opportunities under the mentoring of seasoned Cornell private practitioners, a dual mission of serving both alumni and students might be achieved.

Various rotating members of the AAEB, and ultimately other DVM alumni, will offer this unique veterinary student externship/opportunity block, focusing on a "behind the scenes" view of daily life working as a private practitioner. Students will be exposed to all aspects of the practice, from patient check-in to discharge. The program will complement the formal training received during the Community Practice Service (CPS) rotation at Cornell. Because current externships focus only on academic or specialty practice, this experience would be most useful for students considering private practice employment/ownership immediately after graduation. Participating practices will fulfill specific requirements and employ at least one Cornell Veterinary graduate who is willing to individually mentor students. "We want to deliver an experience to those whose are contemplating veterinary practice and possible hospital ownership directly post-graduation, and make them confident enough to act on those plans," says Susan Ackermann, DVM '86, president of the College's Alumni Association Executive Board.  

Externships may be pursued by students in any class year and are not for credit. Neither the student nor the practice veterinarian is required to evaluate the experience and the College does not need to be notified of the experience when the student undertakes it. An opportunity block is an experience lasting a minimum of two weeks that DVM students may pursue for credit starting December of their third year (after Block Vb).

New practices are welcome to inquire joining this program and may reach out to the Alumni Affairs office at or Dr. Pasquale Meleleo at for more information.

Pilot programs for AAEB Clinical Opportunities in Private Practice