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Excited to Go North - Shawn MacKenzie

A series of blog posts from the Chinook team of 2009. We didn’t have a website back then! It’s very interesting to look back and reflect on what we did that year, and since then. 2009 was the first year we visited more than one community during a trip. The logistics of getting everything to 2 places and back, and setting up 2 clinics are always difficult.

Originally published at

Friday, May 8, 2009 | Posted by Shawn MacKenzie

Earlier this year I found out I was chosen to be one of four students who would get the opportunity to participate in the Chinook Project. I was very excited, but the trip seemed to get moved to the back of my mind because of what seemed like a never-ending final exam period. Now that the exams are over and the last minute trip emails are filling my inbox, I’m getting very excited about the opportunity to go work in some of Canada’s most northern communities.

My name is Shawn Mackenzie; I’m a fourth year student at the Atlantic Veterinary College in Charlottetown, PEI. I will be blogging each day about our experiences in the different communities where we will be setting up our veterinary clinic. I grew up in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island and did a Bachelor of Science at the University of Prince Edward Island and then went on to pursue veterinary medicine at the AVC.

I’ve always been interested in medicine and decided to pursue a degree in veterinary medicine my last year of undergraduate study. I enjoy the challenge of veterinary medicine, the detective work of trying to solve a case without patients describing how they feel. Veterinary medicine also offers a variety of work: opportunities to work in clinics, research, aquaculture, and public health, just to list a few.

The team after arriving North. Shawn is in back row, second from left.

I chose to apply for the Chinook Project because it will give me the opportunity to experience the culture of northern Canada and gain the experience of working not only with individuals but also with a community as a whole. I’m excited to step out of a centre with all the technology of a modern hospital and work in a clinic run out of a school classroom and outdoor tents, with close to the bare minimum of supplies.

With only a few days left until we leave for our northern adventure I sit here thinking of all the things I need to do before leaving on Sunday. I’m very excited to have this opportunity and I look forward to working with a great team over the next couple weeks and keeping you up to date about our experiences.

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