Pfizer Animal Health and the American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF) have announced the recipients of this year’s student scholarship program. Pfizer awarded $2,500 each to 331 second- and third-year veterinary students at accredited universities throughout the United States and the Caribbean, for a total of $827,500.

A total of 1,582 students applied for the scholarship. Students were chosen based on several criteria, including academic excellence, professional interests (small animal, large, mixed, research, academia, etc.), financial need, diversity, leadership and potential for contribution to the veterinary profession. Of the total group of 2012 scholars, 31 percent are students from diverse backgrounds, 47 percent are studying to practice food and mixed animal veterinary medicine, 28 percent will go into small animal practice, 8 percent will enter academia (research and clinical) and the remainder will go into other areas, such as public health, lab animal medicine and poultry. For a list of scholarship recipients, click here. 

“Students are the future of the veterinary profession, and Pfizer Animal Health is honored to support them on their path for professional success,” said Vanessa Mariani, Director of Academic and Professional Affairs for the U.S. at Pfizer Animal Health. “We understand the financial barriers that many students face today and, through a true collaborative effort with AVMF as our partner, and all the Colleges of Veterinary Medicine and AVMA in the selection process, the Pfizer Animal Health scholarship program allows us to help alleviate some of that burden.”

More than 2,600 students will graduate from veterinary schools this year, with an average loan debt of nearly $140,000, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. In response to the rising debt load and to help ensure there are enough qualified veterinarians in the years ahead, Pfizer Animal Health has grown the scholarship program by 49 percent in terms of funding since its inaugural year in 2010.

“With a core strategic objective of veterinary student enhancement, the AVMF is very pleased to partner with Pfizer Animal Health in supporting the education of future veterinarians,” said Michael W. Cathey, Executive Director of the American Veterinary Medical Foundation. “Working together we believe we are making a significant impact on the medical care and well being of the animals we ultimately serve.”

For one aspiring veterinarian, this scholarship is of great assistance.  

“As an out-of-state student, my tuition is significant,” said Curtis Plowgian, a third-year student at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine.  “The prospect of a large, growing student debt can be pretty intimidating. Every bit truly does help, and the generosity of donors such as Pfizer and AVMF helps get me closer to my goal of becoming a companion animal veterinarian without having to worry as much about the increasing cost of my education. This year, the scholarship helped me purchase textbooks and supplies for my clinical year, in addition to reducing the amount of loans I needed."

The scholarship program is a component of Pfizer Animal Health’s Commitment to Veterinarians — which offers support through training and education, research and development, investing in the future of veterinarians, and philanthropy.