The 2017 Veterinary Training Program for Rural Kansas scholars at Kansas State University's College of Veterinary Medicine, from left: Jared Heiman, Ashley Joseph, Izabella Carmona, Braxton Butler, Megan Westerhold and Lena Fernkopf, all with Bonnie Rush, interim dean of the college.
Six first-year students in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University have been chosen for the largest veterinary scholarship program offered by the state of Kansas: the Veterinary Training Program for Rural Kansas.
This year's recipients are Lena Fernkopf, Circleville; Ashley Joseph, Frankfort; Izabella Carmona, Manhattan; Jared Heiman, Summerfield; and Braxton Butler, Virgil. Also receiving a scholarship is Megan Westerhold, Rich Hill, Missouri.
"The Veterinary Training Program for Rural Kansas program fulfills both an educational mission and a service mission for the state of Kansas, and we are excited to be able to select an additional recipient this year," said Bonnie Rush, interim dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine. "These students completed a rigorous selection process. I know the scholarship recipients and their future clients will truly appreciate how this program prepared them to serve in a rural area of Kansas where veterinarians are needed."
The Veterinary Training Program for Rural Kansas was passed by the state Legislature in 2006 to offer a financial incentive to provide rural areas in Kansas with committed veterinarians. Program participants are eligible for up to $20,000 in loans per year to pay for college expenses and advanced training. Upon completion of their Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, each student is required to work at a full-time veterinary practice in one of the 91 Kansas counties with fewer than 35,000 residents. For each year the student works in rural Kansas, $20,000 worth of loans will be forgiven by the state. Students can work a maximum of four years through the program, receiving up to $80,000 in loan waivers.
Each student in the Veterinary Training Program for Rural Kansas is required to participate in additional activities beyond what is required for their veterinary degrees. The scholars spend their summer breaks learning about foreign animal disease preparedness, natural disaster preparedness, rural sociology and public health.