Cougar Orientation and Leadership Experience

What do past participants have to say about COLE?


Being a faculty mentor at COLE since 2013, I have learned about myself and who I want to be as a person and instructor. I have enjoyed the experience of getting to meet students in an informal setting prior to the start of school and anatomy lab. I wholeheartedly support the goals of COLE and having been actively engaged in this transformative leadership experience I can say that it strengthens you as a student and class. COLE has become an essential community building activity and cultural cornerstone for the WSU CVM, embrace this experience as you venture along your individual the paths of personal and professional development, I know I have.

~~Steve Lampa PhD~~
Veterinary Anatomist, Pullman, WA


I had the wonderful opportunity to attend Cougar Orientation & Leadership Experience (COLE) with the USU School of Veterinary Medicine class of 2023. This was my fifth year attending COLE as a faculty/staff mentor and I have enjoyed every experience. There is so much that happens on so many layers in such a short time during a COLE! All that attend COLE, walk away with something more than when they came to COLE. This could be a new skill or an appreciation and love of themselves or for their peers. COLE has the potential to change the lives of all that participate!

~~Melisa Bishop~~
Sr. Programs Coordinator, USU School of Vet Med, WIMU Regional Program, Logan, UT


The COLE program had a major impact in my life. When I read that we had to go "camping" for several days, I was definitely apprehensive because I didn't know anyone when I first got there. But after COLE, my group members are my closest friends in the program because we build such a tight bond together.

~~Dr. Rian Calugcugan (Class of 2015)~~ 


I think COLE is a very good thing – notably for students in the entering class to get to know each BEFORE all hell breaks loose!  Back in my day, we just showed up scared, alone and each convinced we were the dumbest person in the class.  It was terrifying!  This is SO much better.

~~Dr. Steve Hines~~
Professor of your Immunology and Systemic Pathology courses


Having students develop some common ground and get to know each other a bit at COLE before classes start has a noticeably positive effect on the environment in the anatomy lab – which is important given how much time the students spend there during Fall semester!  Different students find COLE valuable for different reasons, but a consistent outcome has been that the anatomy labs feel more relaxed from the start, and students are generally a little more comfortable working with their colleagues because a lot of the introductions and ice-breaking have already been done at COLE.  It’s great that students feel better, of course, but it’s valuable from an academic standpoint as well because people learn better when they’re more at ease in their environment.

~~Dr. Leslie Sprunger~~
Professor of your anatomy and physiology courses

Washington State University