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UTCVM Rotations Extend to Belize through the International Catalyst Fund

Opportunities for UTCVM students eager to gain technical experience with exotic species are expanding. By leveraging a grant from the UTIA Faculty and Staff International Catalyst Fund from the Smith International Center, UTCVM clinical assistant professor Andrew Cushing (zoological medicine specialist) traveled to Belize and Guatemala to begin outlining new opportunities for collaborations in teaching, research, and outreach.

Photo of a tapir receiving an ultrasound 

The International Catalyst Fund

The International Catalyst Fund provides matching funds for faculty and staff to grow ongoing UTIA international projects and programs. With these funds and the support of his department, Cushing left for a two-week trip last June.

Working with existing UTIA contacts, Cushing visited the ongoing USDA NIFA Undergraduate Research and Extension program in the Vaca Forest Reserve, Belize, and the ARCAS wildlife rehabilitation center in Guatemala. Among many other site visits, Cushing visited the Belize Zoo in La Democracia, which is now the site of a new two-week UTCVM student rotation.

New Rotation at the Belize Zoo

Starting this fall, UTCVM students will be able to conduct one of their two-week rotations at the Belize Zoo alongside UTCVM faculty. In addition to providing students with practical, hands-on learning experiences, the Belize Zoo will also benefit from the rotation as UTCVM specialists perform specific required treatments and health assessments for the zoo’s native wildlife. In addition to Cushing, the UTCVM rotation team will include up to six veterinary medicine students and other faculty from various specialties.

UTIA faculty and staff, interested in learning more about the UTIA International Faculty and Staff Catalyst Fund? Explore a list of opportunities and apply (rolling deadline).

Photo of a jaguar 

This article was submitted by the UTIA Smith Center for International Sustainable Agriculture (formerly UTIA International Programs), which exists to advance the international engagement of UTIA by empowering faculty, staff, and students to think and act globally in pursuit of sustainable solutions to our world’s agricultural, food, and natural resource challenges. Visit​ for additional information and resources.