Seventeen fourth-year veterinary students from across the country were recognized at the 2015 48th Annual Conference of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners in New Orleans in September. Each veterinary student was awarded a scholarship of $5,000 and paid travel to the conference as part of the 2015 AABP Foundation – Zoetis Veterinary Student Scholarship program. 

This scholarship program was established in 2009 as part of the Zoetis Commitment to Veterinarians™ initiative to help encourage and support careers in large-animal veterinary medicine. Eligible applicants entering their senior year are evaluated on academic performance, essay submission and involvement in bovine medicine and bovine-related extracurricular activities.

Recipients of 2015 scholarships are:

·         Benjamin Baird, Washington State University

·         Alex Beck, Washington State University

·         Rebecca Calder, Cornell University

·         James Coffey, Oklahoma State University

·         Julie Conner, University of California, Davis

·         Amanda Emery, Purdue University

·         Jacob Hagenmaier, Kansas State University

·         Jennifer Holle, University of Wisconsin-Madison

·         Kevin Jacque, The Ohio State University

·         Nicholas Lemmel, Colorado State University

·         Darcy Messerly, Oklahoma State University

·         Kathleen Morriss, Auburn University

·         Lacey Robinson, Kansas State University

·         Merel Rodenburg, Oklahoma State University

·         Lauren Scruggs, Auburn University

·         Emily Stayduhar, The Ohio State University

·         Peter Strassburg, University of Wisconsin-Madison

“With the cost of veterinary education between about $45,000 and $85,000 each year, the support — financial and experiential — for these students has an immeasurable impact,” said M. Gatz Riddell Jr., DVM, executive vice president, AABP. “This unique program between the AABP Foundation and Zoetis provides students with an opportunity to pursue important veterinary experiences for the future of the food-animal industry with some relief from financial pressures.”

One of the scholarship recipients, Jacob Hagenmaier, Kansas State University, said the commitment to future food-animal veterinarians supports animal health and well-being by providing students with opportunities to work next to experienced practitioners.

“We are spending more time in the classroom to allow for better understanding of important aspects within our industry such as new technologies and regulations, and consequently we have fewer opportunities for hands-on experience,” Hagenmaier said. “Financial support by organizations such as Zoetis not only helps alleviate the financial burden of our education but provides us with more clinical experience opportunities since these funds can be used for externships and mentorships.”

As a former practicing veterinarian, Doug Braun, DVM, veterinary segment manager at Zoetis, understands the importance of learning outside the classroom. In addition to scholarships, Commitment to Veterinarians also supports the future of the veterinary profession through training and education, research and development and philanthropy. Commitment to Veterinarians includes the Zoetis Externship Program, another engaging opportunity for first- or second-year veterinary students.

“Students benefit from connecting with experts in the field who can share personal experiences and challenges associated with our profession,” Dr. Braun said. “We have a strong veterinary community, and we feel a combination of financial, experiential and mentorship support during veterinary school can help shape future leaders who will go on to significantly support producers in raising healthy animals and producing safe food.”