Shweta Trivedi was born in India to a father who is a veterinarian and a mother who is an educator. She went to a Catholic High School before getting her veterinary degree. She pursued her Masters in Veterinary Immunology while working on diagnostic reagents for bovine tuberculosis. She and her husband, also a veterinarian, moved to Raleigh, NC in 2001 to work on their doctorates at NC State University's College of Veterinary Medicine.
During her PhD, Dr Trivedi received a prestigious fellowship called "Preparing the Professoriate". She taught cell signaling along side Dr William Miller, a distinguished professor in Biochemistry. During that experience, she realized that she has a passion for teaching and scholarship. She went on to do a Postdoctoral fellowship in Respiratory Biology at the National Institutes of Health in Maryland & RTP before accepting her current job as a Teaching Assistant Professor in Animal Science. She is also the founding director of Veterinary Professions Advising Center (VetPAC).
Dr. Trivedi teaches Anatomy and Physiology to Animal Science majors. She also teaches a professional development course for PreVeterinary track students. Currently, her pedagogical research interests lie in the areas of pre-professional veterinary track, course development and study abroad.
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Where do you lead a program?
I work with the Wildlife Institute of India faculty to coordinate this course. Two veterinarians along with various wildlife scientists involved with conservation efforts in India are an integral part of it . We do field trips to three national parks which are also classified as tiger reserves where students are able to observe an amazing biodiversity that India has. In the first year, we went to "Kanha" (Central India), "Sariska" (Western India) and "Rajaji" (Northern India) National Parks.
How long have you run your study abroad program?
I offered this course for the very first time in the winter of 2010. I am taking 16 students again this year. I hope to offer this course for many years to come as I feel its very valuable for students to gain an understanding of international efforts in wildlife conservation.
What makes your study abroad program unique?
My program is unique as it offers hands-on learning modules in wildlife management techniques and provides an opportunity to learn about conservation efforts of endangered species specially Tigers in India. India is a very culturally diverse country and many college students appear to be curious about India. To my knowledge, this is the only study abroad course to India at this point. My course also attracts a large number of students from Animal Science, Zoology, Biology and Veterinary Medicine.
What stands out as your favorite memory from the study abroad programs that you have directed?
My favorite memory is waking up at 5 am with my students, packing breakfast and leaving in our safari jeeps to hear the Barasingha deer (swamp deer) make rutting calls to attract female deers for mating. It was magical to see their grass-adorned antlers through the mist that was lifting from the Kanha grasslands. Inexplicable! Later, we had our breakfast picnic at a plateau, food laid out on the jeep hoods.
If you could give prospective students one piece of advice about study abroad, what would it be?
Get involved and grab the right opportunity that you can to travel outside of the US. It will change the way you approach things! Professional schools, graduate school and employers value such experiences. You live in a world that requires you to think and act globally . So, go global (literally)!
What are you looking for from the students who apply to your program?
I am looking for a sincere desire to learn about wildlife as well as Indian culture.
What is the most rewarding aspect of being a Faculty Director?
I felt that it was a rewarding experience on many levels. I truly enjoyed observing my students soak-in all the information that was being provided directly and indirectly. I am yet to see so many gleeful smiles and lit up eyes after a long day of work (in the jungle!). In the process of answering questions about Indian culture, religion, history, festivals etc., I began to appreciate India in a new light. It was a huge learning experience for me as well, I got to visit parts of India that I had never been to when I lived there. I believe that I regained my sense of wonder through this course.
If you could give new Faculty Directors of study abroad programs one piece of advice about leading a program, what would it be?
I would recommend future directors to not underestimate the amount of effort that goes into planning and executing one. Having said that, I would say it is a rather extremely rewarding effort. For new programs, understanding your target student population and advertising is the key to success. Faculty should also consider engaging themselves as well as the students in research and scholarship of teaching.
What marketing tips would you suggest to your fellow Faculty Directors to encourage more NC State students to study abroad?
I would recommend trying several different methods; a) Flyers b) Facebook page c) Talk at Clubs, Meetings d) If you teach a class yourself, talk to your own students about it e) Study Abroad Fair f) Website/Weblinks g) Business Cards with link to the webpage h) Keeping a list of interested students.
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