A new book created by Purdue University’s School of Veterinary Medicine is designed to teach third-graders about health and veterinary sciences.

“How I Became a Scientist: An Activity Book for 3rd Graders” was published this fall and is being distributed to the program’s partner schools.

The new book, part of a larger program called Fat Dogs and Coughing Horses, offers a diverse and personal view of eight Purdue scientists, including Sandy Amass (left), professor and associate dean, and Kauline Davis, director of diversity initiatives (pictured), who are committed to improving human and animal life.

“When we ask young children what it means to be a veterinarian, they often think of a white woman caring for dogs. That perspective makes some children feel as if they don’t have a place in this career,” says Amass. “Leaders in the field of veterinary medicine, as well as others in related areas of science, technology, math and engineering, are working toward inspiring all students from underrepresented minorities to those with disadvantaged economic backgrounds, to consider careers in science.”

The book is being distributed in Clinton County, IN, and the cities of Indianapolis, Atlanta and New York City. A city in Ghana, Africa also is participating. A free copy of the book can be accessed at http://www.purdue.edu/svmengaged/sepa/activitybook3.

The scientists also can visit classrooms to talk more about their careers and meet students.

“It’s like having storybook characters come to life, and this reinforces the message that people of different backgrounds can be scientists,” Amass says. “Their stories also show young people the different areas of study: from how people age to heaves in horses and to food microbiology.”

The Fat Dogs and Coughing Horses project is in the second year of a five-year grant supported by the Science Education Partnership Award from the National Center for Research Resources, a component of the National Institutes of Health.