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Morris Animal Foundation Announces 2010 Class of Veterinary Student Scholars, Students’ Research Will Further Animal Health and Encourage Future Careers

July 21, 2010

This news release comes from the Morris Animal Foundation. All but one of the students named below from the School of Veterinary Medicine are participating this year in the Students Training in Advanced Research program, STAR.

DENVER/ July 22, 2010 — Morris Animal Foundation recently announced awards for 73 students from 36 schools in nine countries to participate in this year’s Veterinary Student Scholars (VSS) program. The students selected were awarded funding for research projects in the areas of small and large companion animal and wildlife health.  This hands-on research experience will expose these students to research early in their careers, hopefully affecting their lives and the lives of the animals they study.

“This [research] experience is invaluable in attracting veterinarians into biomedical and clinical research careers. The Veterinary Student Scholars program of the Morris Animal Foundation is an important initiative that will help advance our profession and benefit the well-being of animals,” said Dr. Harm Hogenesch, associate dean for research at Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine.

From horses in Finland to grizzly bears in Montana, animals around the world are benefiting from the major advances in animal health and welfare achieved by passionate and creative veterinary student scholars. Since its inception in 2005, the VSS program has given more than 250 grants to students from more than 50 colleges and universities in 12 countries. Through the program, veterinary students or non-veterinary graduate students receive stipends of up to $4,000 to participate in clinical or basic animal health and/or welfare research.

Here are just a few highlights of the studies VSS program awardees will be doing this summer:
-    Analyzing microbial pathogens infecting cats through mucous membranes to improve vaccines that better prevent feline infectious disease
-    Studying whether the emotional experience of grief exists in dogs and cats
-    Examining how contaminants  are affecting marine mammals like seals and walruses

The 2010 Veterinary Student Scholars award recipients are:
Auburn University: Bradley Johnson, Heather Weaver
Colorado State University: Lindsey Eby, Marcia Hart, Greta Krafsur, Erin McQuinn, Karla Penman
Cornell University: Elizabeth Craig, Eva Oxford
Emory University: Michele Parsons
Iowa State University: Matt Brewer, Megan Bullis
Louisiana State University: Jessica Trischel
Makerere University (Uganda): Rachael Mbabazi
Michigan State University: Olenka Bilyk
Mississippi State University: Gail Moraru
Murdoch University (Australia): Gunn Kaewmongkol
National University of La Plata (Argentina): Mercedes Abeya 
North Carolina State University: Lexxy Jay, Emily Medlin, Laura Stoeker
Ohio State University: Bonnie Harrington, Katherine Onasch
Oregon State University: George Ballard, Heather Broughton, Melissa Wilberger
Purdue University: Vanessa Hale
Ross University (St. Kitts): Glynis McCorkle
Texas A&M University: Crystal Eng
Tufts University: Luke Jandreski,  Jennifer Mahon
Tuskegee University: Kyla Beguesse
Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos (Peru): Jesus Lescano
University of Calgary (Canada): Nicole Rose
University of California, Davis: Josephine Bryk, Hanie Elfenbein, Denise Gonzalez, Wendi Jackson, Nili Karmi, Jennifer Kwan, Ryan Sadler, Allison Tarbell
University of Florida: Carla Bernal
University of Georgia: Kerrie Anne Loyd, Michaelle Purdee, Daniel Regan, Mason Savage University of Guelph (Canada): Vanessa Choy
University of Helsinki (Finland): Isa Immonen
University of Illinois: Jamie Reichert, Brittany Way
University of Minnesota: Jonathan Clayton, Felice Cuomo, Jaimi Johnson, Anna Rauk
University of Pennsylvania: Benjamin Golas, Mariam Kamal
University of Queensland (Australia): Karen Kerr, Jessica Walker
University of Tennessee: Eliza Ruffner
University of Utrecht (Netherlands): Marja de Jong, Jeroen Vis
Washington State University: Nicole Zuniga
Western University of Health Sciences: Bradley Ahrens, Eric Fish, Lindsey Porterfield, Kursten Roderick
*The number of students awarded per school varies depending on matching funds from the school.

“The research I was able to accomplish thanks to the Morris Animal Foundation was wonderful,” said former VSS program participant Marike Visser from Auburn University. “The exposure to the research field helped me decide to pursue my PhD. Also, I am hoping that my research will help improve the quality of care provided to all our animals.”

Contact :
Tina Martinez, Morris Animal Foundation

You can sponsor one of these great students’ studies to help inspire their future careers in animal science. For a complete list of sponsorship opportunities available go to for more information. You can also see all the VSS studies by visiting the Our Research section of our website. Visit us at or Facebook. Follow us on Twitter for up-to-date information.