Sharing Knowledge to Improve the Quality of Veterinarians in Indonesia

"The future of the world is in my classroom today," - Ivan Welton Fitzwater

Photo 1. Putri Pandarangga

The quote from Fitzwater may have inspired Putri Pandarangga. Putri is a veterinarian who works as a lecturer at Nusa Cendana University (UNDANA), Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT). In her duties, Putri has a determination to give an impact on improving the quality of veterinarians in her network.

As a veterinarian, Putri wants to continuously improve her expertise in disease diagnosis. This is very important because in Indonesia, especially NTT, is an endemic area for zoonotic diseases (disease that transmitted between species from animals to humans and vice versa) such as anthrax and cysticercosis.

It encourages Putri to look for a scholarship to continue her study. One day, USAID-PRESTASI visited UNDANA as part of the scholarship promotion. As she already had a TOEFL ITP score, Putri submited an application. After a while of process, she finally got selected to be the recipient of USAID-PRESTASI scholarship.

Through USAID-PRESTASI, Putri took a Veterinary and Biomedical Science program at the University of Georgia (UGA), USA. "The course is available in several departments and I chose the pathology department. This is closely related to my profession at UNDANA," explained Putri.

Photo 2. Putri (center) in discussion with committee members before the presentation of the final project at the University of Georgia.

The pathology department at UGA works with diagnostic laboratories in Athens. As one of the UGA students, Putri got the opportunity to study by using the facilities as the pathological preparation in diagnosing a disease.

"During my study, I got the opportunity from the supervisors to attend their classes in order to teach pathology for the prospective veterinarians. One of my favorite lectures is Dr. Corrie Brown. I learned new methods in teaching Pathology and I can apply it in my class in UNDANA with some adjustments," said the woman who likes adventures and diving.

Beside studying, Putri was also actively expanding her network. She joined a community called Christian Veterinary Mission. The community was engaged in a program to serve in the Indians community, especially in the Navajo and Apache regions, in breeding the animals and protecting the animal health for free.

Photo 3. Students are solving the case in Putri's Pathology class.

Right after her return to Indonesia, Putri is actively transferring her knowledge and experience as a lecturer who taught Pathology at UNDANA. Putri implements the teaching andragogy to improve student's enthusiasm in solving the problems of pathology. Her way of teaching is successfully received by the students in her classes, and her classes also look much different compared to those prior to her postgraduate studies in the US.

Her experience as the USAID-PRESTASI scholarship recipient made her more confident in sharpening her skills through some independent research. In 2016 she gained a grant from USAID through INDOHUN to diagnose cysticercosis (a disease caused by tapeworm larvae from pigs to humans).

The positive feedback such as the warm welcome and kind support from the institution where she works has encouraged Putri to share what she had during her studies in the United States. She is also trusted as a UNDANA representative for overseas cooperation. Currently, Putri is entrusted to become Head of Veterinary Program Study Program (KEPRO PDH) with her main duty to guarantee the quality of prospective veterinarians.

Putri is grateful for everything she had achieved in her career after to the USAID-PRESTASI scholarship. The scholarship program has been to encourage people who want to do more for the society to become the agents of change for Indonesia. Putri hopes that the scholarship can continue to accomodate the best young people of Indonesia.

"I hope that every lecturer is able to create an enjoyable class atmosphere and able to convey the knowledge in such a simple way so the students can understand well. This is the future, the teachers should be willing to learn and open themselves to every good change. I am confident that Indonesia is able to come up with veterinarians who are able to compete with veterinary graduates from other countries in preventing and detecting a disease, "Putri said.