Three distinguished veterinary students working toward careers in equine medicine have been awarded Coyote Rock Ranch Veterinary Scholarships totaling $300,000. The awards were presented Dec. 9 by The Foundation for the Horse during the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) 65th Annual Convention in Denver, Colo.
Selected from more than 70 exceptional third-year student applicants were Gabriel Gonzalez from North Carolina State University and Zoë Williams from Michigan State University, each of whom received $75,000 awards; and Natalie Andrews from North Carolina State University, whose $75,000 scholarship was doubled to $150,000 because of her intended career path of equine theriogenology, which is the study of reproduction.
According to the AAEP, Andrews’ experience with her now mentor, Dr. Scott Bailey, enabled her to interact with a unique blend of clinical theriogenology and research that has been instrumental in developing her career goals of working in equine breeding programs in tertiary care private practice.
“When those dysmature foals we had been fighting to keep alive made a complete turn-around, everything was validated for me,” Andrews said in an AAEP statement. “I realized I was where I was meant to be, and the lack of sleep was all worth it.”
Gonzalez, an aspiring equine academic surgeon, participates in the Veterinary Scholars Program at North Carolina State. His research project is focused on small intestinal strangulating colic in horses and evaluating intestinal stem cell biomarkers being expressed in the affected tissues of horses with this form of colic. The aim of this project is to potentially lay the groundwork for developing a test to objectively determine the viability of ischemic intestine in horses with strangulating colic, and improve the prognosis of these surgical patients.
Williams, who overcame numerous challenges to keep alive her lifelong dream of becoming an equine veterinarian, is a dual-enrolled DVM and Ph.D. student at Michigan State University. Her Ph.D. thesis focuses on myofibrillar myopathy. “Sometimes you just have to go for it and work hard,” she said. “Keep the goals you have for yourself clear in your mind, but be open to what happens along the way.” She intends to establish her own practice and hopes to provide horsemen, scientists and veterinarians with leadership and an opportunity to enhance the horse community.
The Coyote Rock Ranch Veterinary Scholarship program was created in 2015 by Penelope Knight, an avid horsewoman and strong advocate for horse health. Since award of the first Coyote Rock Ranch Veterinary Scholarships in 2016, 13 AAEP student members have benefited from more than $1 million in assistance.
“With the help of The Foundation for the Horse, I am pleased to offer this great opportunity to benefit our next generation of veterinarians,” Knight said, according to the AAEP. “Helping future veterinarians is one way I am able to give back to the industry I hold dear to my heart, and I will continue my support for years to come.”
For more information about this program and other scholarships offered through the The Foundation for the Horse, visit foundationforthehorse.org.
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