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    Connect 2022 , article

    On Oct. 20-22, the college will host an opportunity for students, alumni, and practitioners to meet and share the collective interest and mutual benefit of mentorship, career opportunities, continuing education, and reunion celebrations.

Award nomination submissions for 2022 are now closed. 2023 award nominations will be accepted until March 1, 2023.

To recognize outstanding alumni accomplishments, we present two annual awards: The Lifetime Achievement Alumni Award and the Outstanding Recent Alumni Award. We also recognize an outstanding current faculty member with the Outstanding Faculty Alumni Award. 

About the award

The college recognizes a distinguished alumnus for sustained contributions to the veterinary medical profession resulting in demonstrable positive impact. The award consists of a plaque and recognition at a notable college event.

Eligibility

  • Nominees must have earned a degree from the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine more than 10 years ago.
  • Nominees should exhibit strong professional ethics and exemplify the Virginia Tech motto, ut prosim (that I may serve) through deeds and actions that have enhanced their local communities, the commonwealth, and beyond. Nominees should demonstrate use of their knowledge and skills to benefit society, promote public health, and advance medical knowledge.

Criteria

  • Nominees with exemplary and sustained accomplishment in their respective fields are welcome.
  • The chief criterion is demonstrable positive impact.
  • Service to the College may be considered, but exemplary service alone is not
  • sufficient for this award, nor is it required.

Nomination submission

Submit nomination materials here.

Selection and award presentation

  • The Alumni Board of Directors will convene to provide a recommendation of the top 5 nominees through a majority vote.
  • The VMCVM Honorifics Committee evaluates the top five nominations and makes a final recommendation to the Dean.
  • The award is presented at the annual college reunion events.

About the award

The college recognizes a deserving individual who graduated from the DVM program within the past 10 years. The award winner receives a plaque from the Virginia Tech Alumni Association.

Eligibility

  • Nominees must have earned a degree from the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine 10 or less years ago.
  • Nominees should exhibit strong professional ethics and exemplify the Virginia Tech motto, ut prosim (that I may serve) through deeds and actions that have enhanced their local communities, the commonwealth, and beyond. Nominees should demonstrate use of their knowledge and skills to benefit society, promote public health, and advance medical knowledge.

Criteria

  • Nominees should have distinguished themselves professionally in their career or in rendering service to the university since graduating.
  • The chief criterion is demonstrable positive impact.
  • Service to the college may be considered, but exemplary service alone is neither sufficient nor required for this award.

Nomination procedures

Submit nomination materials here.

Selection and award presentation

  • The Alumni Board of Directors will convene to provide a recommendation of the top 5 nominees through a majority vote.
  • The VMCVM Honorifics Committee evaluates the top five nominations and makes a final recommendation to the Dean.
  • The award is presented at the college's fall reunion events.

About the award

This award will be presented to an influential faculty member, as nominated by alumni for their contributions to student and alumni education and mentorship.

Nomination procedures

Submit nomination materials here.

Lifetime Achievement Alumni Award

  • 2021 - Timothy Fan (DVM ’95)
  • 2020 - Cindy Driscoll (DVM ’87)
  • 2019 - William “Bill” Tyrrell (DVM ’92)
  • 2018 - Sharon Deem (DVM ’88)
  • 2017 - Steven T. Shipley (DVM ’97)
  • 2016 - Richard “Chip” Godine (DVM ’87)
  • 2015 - Sue VandeWoude (DVM ’87)

Outstanding Recent Alumni Award

  • 2021 - Cyndie Courtney (DVM ’11)
  • 2020 - Karen Meidenbauer (DVM ’16, MPH ’16)
  • 2019 - Claire Simeone (DVM ’11)
  • 2018 - Bom Harris (DVM ’08)
  • 2017 - Michael W. Nolan (DVM ’09)
  • 2016 - Megan Shepherd (DVM ’06, PhD ’12)
  • 2015 - Tom Cecere (DVM ’05)
  • 2014 – Melinda G. McCall (DVM ’04)
  • 2013 – Jennifer A. Landolfi (DVM ’03)
  • 2012 – Jared Taylor (DVM ’02)
  • 2011 – Maureen Noftsinger (DVM ’01)
  • 2010 – Lauren L. Howard (DVM ’00)
  • 2009 – Tanya LeRoith (DVM ’99)
  • 2008 – Jennifer H. McQuiston (DVM ’97)
  • 2007 – Lesley Ann Colby (DVM ’96, MS '97)
  • 2006 – Rhonda Rathgeber (DVM ’95)
  • 2005 – Almira J. Leslie (DVM ’94)
  • 2004 – Jane A.C. Rooney (DVM ’93)
  • 2003 – William D. Tyrrell, Jr. (DVM ’92)
  • 2002 – Rebecca L. Rice (DVM ’91, PhD '95)
  • 2001 – Steven R. Escobar (DVM ’90)
  • 2000 – Anthony T. Blikslager (DVM ’89)
  • 1999 – Susan E. Little (DVM ’93)
  • 1998 – Lauren A. Sweet (DVM ’93)

Outstanding Faculty Alumni Award

  • 2021 - Anne Zajac, DVM, MS, PhD
  • 2020 – Martha M. Larson, DVM, MS, DACVR

If you know of a graduate who deserves recognition, but is not eligible for one of these awards, please email Cassie Wagner at cwwagner@vt.edu. These alumni may be recognized in a press release, in a "A Closer Look" feature, in the college's monthly e-newsletter, or on the college's social media feeds.

The VMCVM Alumni Board of Directors represent the voices of over 4,000 VMCVM alumni. Their involvement through the Board and participation in college events supports the engagement efforts of the broader alumni community and drives future programs and initiatives at the college. The board strives for a diverse representation of (up to 25) members across the college’s degree programs and between the Commonwealth of Virginia and State of Maryland.

Objectives of the Board include:

  • To promote cooperation, communication, and foster goodwill among the alumni, faculty, students, and friends of the College of Veterinary Medicine.
  • To encourage social and professional interaction at meetings throughout Virginia, Maryland, and the nation.
  • To promote activities which acquaint the public with the opportunities and values of veterinary medicine as a profession and career.
  • To encourage private giving to the College in establishing support of academic endowments, scholarships, and assistantships.
  • To participate actively in appropriate programs and activities of the Virginia Tech Alumni Association and the University of Maryland Alumni Association.
  • To serve as the parent organization for all alumni groups within the College of Veterinary Medicine.


Interested in joining the board? 

Jeffry Alexander (DVM 1998, PhD 2015)

Jeff Alexander (BS '94, DVM '98, PhD '15)
President

Dr. Alexander grew up in Mechanicsville, Virginia. After high school, he attended Virginia Tech, where he earned a B.S. in Biochemistry and Nutrition in 1994. He then went on to receive his DVM from VMCVM in 1998.

After seven years in private practice in the Richmond area, he furthered his training at Virginia Commonwealth University's (VCU) medical school, receiving a Master of Public Health in 2008. Returning to VMCVM, Dr. Alexander completed a Ph.D. in Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences, specializing in veterinary medical informatics with advisor Dr. Jeff Wilcke, in 2015. While in the Ph.D. program, he received several awards for his work related to veterinary information systems and public health research.

In his spare time, Dr. Alexander enjoys spending time with his wife and young daughter, as well as playing goalie for his rec-level ice hockey team. He is an avid Virginia Tech football and basketball fan. Go, Hokies!


Courtney Conroy (DVM '17)

Courtney Conroy (BS '13, DVM '17)
President-Elect

Dr. Conroy was raised in Chesapeake, Virginia. Her love for veterinary medicine was initially born out of her passion for riding, and showing in the hunters. She graduated from Virginia Tech in 2013, with a Bachelor’s in Animal and Poultry Sciences, and a minor in Spanish. Dr. Conroy was excited to be able to stay in Blacksburg an additional four years, and completed her DVM at Virginia Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine in 2017.

Shortly after graduation, Dr. Conroy married her husband, a fellow Hokie, on campus. They currently reside on a small farm in Warrenton, VA, with two dogs, Lily and Skipper, a cat, Whisper, along with two horses, Dreamer and Ben, and a mule, Molly. In her free time, Dr. Conroy enjoys riding, gardening, visiting local wineries, and watching Hokie football in the fall.

Dr. Conroy is proud to be an associate at Dulles Veterinary Center, which houses both Aldie Veterinary Hospital, a general practice, as well as Dulles South Animal Emergency and Referral Hospital. Her interests include education, nutrition, and minimally invasive procedures. She also serves as a mentor for the VVMA, facilitator for the Power of 10 Program, and coordinator for Dulles South Veterinary Center’s externship program.


Jesper Lorentzen (DVM 2004)

Jesper Lorentzen (BS '00, DVM '04)
Past-President

Dr. Jesper Lorentzen started working at Hanover Green Veterinary Clinic as a relief doctor in 2013. Quickly growing to love the hospital as well as the staff, he purchased the hospital in February 2014.

Prior to owning Hanover Green, Dr. Lorentzen spent eight years at Virginia Tech, where he earned a DVM, and worked in emergency medicine for 10 years. During that time, he met his wife Ashlea and started a family.

Dr. Lorentzen has four daughters. He also has an Airedale terrier named Bruce, a cavalier named Shelby, and a miniature dachshund named Cooper.


Lisa Aumiller (DVM '99)

Lisa Aumiller (DVM '99)

Dr. Aumiller earned a B.S. in biology from Sweet Briar College in Amherst, Virginia, and then headed to Blacksburg to earn a DVM from VMCVM in 1999.

After 11 years in practice, she founded Dr. Lisa's Mobile Veterinary Service, which became HousePaws Mobile Veterinary Service when additional veterinarians joined the practice. Currently, HousePaws employs 16 veterinarians who serve more than eight counties in two states.

Dr. Aumiller has special training and interest in pocket pet surgery/medicine, acupuncture, chiropractic, and advanced dentistry.


Dr. Heather Beach

Heather Beach (DVM '05)

Dr. Beach is a Blacksburg native. She earned her DVM degree in 2005 and moved to the Shenandoah valley of Virginia to work as a small animal veterinarian.

She is currently an associate at Heartland Veterinary Clinic in Harrisonburg, VA. She has two small children and a lovely mixed breed dog named Charlotte. Her hobbies include gardening and photography.


Robert Bell (DVM '07)

Robert Bell (BS '86, MS '89, DVM '07)

Dr. Bell is a three-time Hokie earning a B.S. in Forestry and Wildlife ('86), and an M.S. in Natural Resource Management and Economics ('89).  After a thirteen-year career as forester working in the swamps of Florida, the pine forests of South Carolina, and eventually the hills and mountains of southwest Virginia; he had his mid-life crisis and earned the ultimate prize, a DVM in '07.

He practiced four years as an associate with his friend and mentor, C. Kevin Fisher ('95), at Veterinary Services in Bassett, a mixed animal clinic.  From there he opened Log Cabin Vet Inc., a relief veterinary service, which he currently runs. 

His third career is operating Misfit Manor LLC with his wife Robin (B.S. Animal Science '03, LVT). This is their farm in Snow Creek, VA, where they are beginning a Clydesdale, mule, and donkey breeding adventure.  Here caring for the seven Clydes, two donkeys, four light horses, four cats, and two dogs occupy the majority of their free time.


Steve Brandt (DVM 1998)

Steve Brandt (DVM '98)

Dr. Brandt was raised in Chesterfield, Virginia, and earned a B.S. in biology from Old Dominion University in 1993. He then graduated from VMCVM with a DVM in 1998, and moved back to his hometown, where he continues to practice small animal medicine.

Dr. Brandt's areas of interest are both soft tissue and orthopedic surgery, pain management, and end-of-life care. Throughout his career, he has successfully mentored several aspiring veterinarians and frequently welcomes young students in his practice.

Dr. Brandt and his wife, Kim, have two children, Parker and Campbell. In his free time, he enjoys playing hockey with his son and is an active leader in his church.


Photo available soon

Carter Burkey (BS '80, DVM '88)

Bio coming soon


Britt Carr Benson (DVM 2012)

Britt Carr Benson (DVM '12)

Dr. Britt Carr Benson is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation.  She received her B.S. in Biology from Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina and her DVM from VMCVM in 2012. After earning her DVM, Dr. Carr Benson completed a Small Animal Rotating Internship at the Animal Specialty Group in Los Angeles, California followed by a Small Animal Surgery and Sports Medicine Internship at Veterinary Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Group (VOSM) in Maryland. She then remained at VOSM to complete a residency in Canine Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation.  During her residency Dr. Carr Benson attended the Canine Rehabilitation Institute and is also a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Therapist.  She has co-authored dozens of peer-reviewed publications and several textbook chapters.  She is a national speaker and instructor as well as a recipient of many awards and honors for her work.  She currently practices in the upstate of South Carolina where she resides with her husband and two children. 


Kelly Catanzaro (DVM 2019, PhD 2019)

Kelly Catanzaro (DVM '19, PhD '19)

Dr. Catanzaro grew up in Elkton, Maryland and went to earn a Bachelor's degree in biology. She then attended VMCVM where she earned her DVM and a PhD in Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences. Her PhD focused on infectious diseases and bacteriology. After completing both degrees, Dr. Catanzaro finished an internship in small animal medicine in surgery at MedVet in Akron, Ohio. 

After a few years in general practice, Dr. Catanzaro is pursuing emergency medicine at BluePearl in Cary, North Carolina where she will also help with infectious disease biosecurity.Outside of veterinary medicine, she enjoys spending time with her husband and too many cats and dogs. 


Brittany Diehl (DVM 2019)

Brittany Diehl (DVM '19)

Dr. Brittany Diehl is a recent graduate of Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine. She completed her DVM degree in 2019. Following graduation, she moved to Gainesville to pursue an internship, followed by a residency in Food Animal Reproduction and Medicine at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Diehl received her Master of Science degree from the University of Florida in 2021.

In addition to her clinical duties, Dr. Diehl has a passion for teaching, both students and producers. She currently serves on the small ruminant extension committee at the University of Florida, volunteers her time to assist with wetlabs for Food Animal Club students, and provides mentorship for undergraduate and current DVM students. Dr. Diehl's professional interests include ambulatory ruminant medicine, preventative medicine, and advanced reproductive techniques in small ruminants.

When Dr. Diehl is not working, she can be found spending time with friends, family and her two dogs.


Sharon Franklin (DVM '85)

Sharon Franklin (DVM '85)

Dr. Franklin earned a B.A. in psychology with an emphasis in neuropsychology from the University of Virginia in 1980. A member of the VMCVM's second graduating class, she received her DVM and the Arlington Animal Hospital Award for Small Animal Medicine in 1985.

Dr. Franklin and her husband, Dr. John Franklin, purchased The Animal Hospital in Lynchburg, Virginia, in July 1985. She spent the first year of her small animal medicine career working for Dr. James Shuler at the Companion Animal Clinic in Blacksburg. In 1986, she moved to Lynchburg and practiced small animal medicine and surgery in partnership with her husband for the next thirteen years. She enjoyed internal medicine and surgery, and had a special interest in neurology and oncology and in the parallel health issues of her patients and the families in which they lived.

After the Franklins sold their practice in 1999, Sharon became a Certified Flight Instructor, flying for Virginia Aviation and later for Potomac Air. Currently, she and John enjoy long-distance recreational running and hiking, and delight in visiting zoos and national parks.

Sharon and John keep their veterinary licenses current and continue to enjoy the CE opportunities that the VMCVM provides. They appreciate the One Health Initiative and the college’s leading-edge partnership with veterinarians, physicians, researchers, and allied health care practitioners working together to raise the quality of life for all.


Carol Hansen Kern (DVM 1995)

Carol Hansen (Kern) (DVM '95)

Dr. Hansen is a native of Bethesda, Maryland. She earned her undergraduate degree in International Agriculture and Development at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA. Then she earned her DVM at VMRCVM in 1995.

She worked as a mixed animal practitioner in Bedford, Virginia for three years before switching to small animal and exotic veterinary medicine. She worked at Southern Hills Animal Hospital in Roanoke for one year, then moved back to the New River Valley where she worked at Community Animal Hospital in Dublin for 10 years then Radford Animal Hospital for the past 11 years.

Her professional interests include internal medicine, dentistry, animal behavior, pocket pet medicine and surgery, grief counseling and end of life care. She loves living in a small town community where she often has conversations about beloved pets in the vegetable aisle at Kroger.

She lives in Radford with husband Jim and two dogs, Ruby Jo and Spoons, two cats: Annie and Paul Simon and an elderly bearded dragon, Edith. Their two children Sarah and Jason are a senior and freshman in college respectively. Favorite hobbies include reading, hiking, camping, attending music festivals, running with the dogs, yoga and sampling local wineries and breweries.


Kevin Pelzer

Tanya LeRoith (DVM '99)

Dr. LeRoith earned a B.S. from the University of Maryland in 1994, a DVM from VMCVM in 1999, and a Ph.D. in veterinary science from Washington State University. Board-certified by the American College of Veterinary Pathologists, she is a veterinary pathologist and serves as director of the Virginia Tech Animal Laboratory Services at VMCVM. Her research interests include viral immunology and immunopathology.

Dr. LeRoith enjoys cycling, riding, running, competing in triathlons, and skiing with her two sons. She has two dogs, two cats, and a horse.


Melinda McCall (DVM '04)

Melinda McCall (DVM '04)

Dr. McCall grew up in Glade Spring, Virginia. After high school, she attended Queens University, where she earned a B.S. in Biology in 2000. She then went on to receive her DVM from VMCVM in 2004.

Currently, Dr. McCall owns Louisa Veterinary Service, a production animal ambulatory practice serving 15 counties in Central Virginia. She has served as President of both the Virginia Veterinary Medical Association and the Virginia Academy of Food Animal Practitioners.

In her spare time, Dr. McCall enjoys spending time with her young daughter Lucy and volunteering in her community.


Melissa Murray (DVM '94)

Melissa Murray (DVM '94)

Melissa Murray completed her DVM at Virginia Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine in 1994. After practicing in Johnson City, Tennessee for 5 years, she moved to Knoxville, Tennessee with her husband, David, to start work at Fountain City Animal Hospital, where she still works today. Dr. Murray is a small animal general practitioner, who loves nothing better than talking about animal behavior. Her favorite challenges at work include helping her nervous patients feel comfortable and safe. 

Dr. Murray has spent the bulk of her free time over the past two decades raising her daughter, who is currently in graduate school at Michigan State, and her son, who recently started his freshman year at the University of Tennessee. Now that her kids are out of the house, she will spend more time with her border collie, Pippin, her two greyhounds, Zappa and Lily, and her 3 cats, Grace, Curry, and Besita. In addition to the pets, Dr. Murray’s interests include coaching elementary school cross country, pottery, and travel. 


Brian Neumann (DVM 2014)

Brian Neumann (DVM '14)

A native of Bethesda, Maryland, Dr. Neumann attended Virginia Tech for undergraduate studies in chemistry and animal science and then earned a DVM from VMCVM in 2014. At the college, he was class vice president and implemented the first annual Casino Night fundraiser for the Compassionate Care Fund.

Dr. Neumann is medical director at Caring Hands Animal Hospital, a small animal general practice in Alexandria, Virginia. He currently serves on the board of directors for the Virginia Veterinary Medical Association (VVMA), leading the VVMA's recent graduate "Power of 10" program, and on the board of directors for the D.C. Academy of Veterinary Medicine.

Dr. Neumann’s professional interests include emergency medicine, ultrasound, and geriatric medicine. When not in the clinic, he enjoys scuba diving, fishing, hiking, traveling, and Washington and Hokie football.


Bill Pierson

Frank William Pierson (DVM '84, PhD '93) 

Dr. Bill Pierson, is an Emeritus Professor of Biosecurity and Infection Control and Clinical Specialist in Poultry Health with VMCVM.

He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Delaware, a master’s degree from Purdue University, a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine as a member of the VMRCVM charter class of 1984, and his Ph.D. from Virginia Tech in 1993.

After spending time as a small animal / exotic practitioner in Lancaster Co, PA, Bill joined the faculty of VMCVM in 1990, conducting research in the areas of poultry health i.e., pathophysiology, disease surveillance, and vaccine development as well as general biosecurity, infection control and prevention.

He was the principal investigator on 36 research grants totaling more than $2 million and co-investigator on an additional 40 research grants totaling more than $7 million. He was the author or co-author of more than 60 peer-reviewed journal articles, 13 book chapters, and 130 scientific presentations.

For many years, Bill chaired the Northeastern Conference on Avian Disease, served on several national committees for the American Association of Avian Pathologists, and served on state committees for the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. He also served on the Virginia Agroterrorism Working group and assisted with the development and delivery of training programs for the Department of Homeland Security, USDA and FBI.

He was the director of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital from 2007-2014 and served as interim head of the Department of Biomedical Science and Pathobiology from 2016-2018.

In the classroom, Pierson taught undergraduate, professional, and graduate-level courses. He advised or was a committee member for 28 Master of Science degree students, 35 Master of Public Health students, and 35 Ph.D. students. He also provided continuing education for post-graduate professionals, law enforcement, government, and industry personnel.

He is a Diplomate of the American College of Poultry Veterinarians, a member of the American Association of Avian Pathologists, and the first emeritus member of North Eastern Conference on Avian Diseases.

Although Bill retired from Virginia Tech in 2018, he still teaches for the college, especially in the area of poultry health and infection control / prevention.  He now resides with Mary Ellen, his wife of 44 years, in Durham, NC and has 2 daughters and 3 grandchildren.


Tierra Price (DVM '20, MPH '20)

Tierra Price (DVM '20, MPH '20)

Dr. Tierra Price is a recent graduate of Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, where she served as Vice President of her class and President of the Women’s Veterinary Development Leadership Initiative. She is currently a Community Medicine veterinarian in Los Angeles, California, but has a wide variety of veterinary interests including emergency/critical care, surgery, public health and lab animal medicine.

As a veterinary student, in 2018, Dr. Price founded BlackDVM Network, a community that connects Black veterinary professionals for growth, achievement and advancing veterinary medicine. This safe space provides the opportunity for success for everyone in veterinary medicine. Dr. Price’s commitment to highlighting Black veterinary professionals is directly related to her desire for a mentor she could identify with.

In her free time, she loves dancing, yoga, reading and soaking up the sun. Most importantly, Dr. Price believes we should be able to show up as our entire selves in our career. She hopes to inspire others with her drive, authenticity and confidence to boldly take on challenges in veterinary medicine. 


Julie Sanders (DVM '09)

Julie Sanders (DVM '09)

Dr. Julie N. Sanders decided she would be a veterinarian when she raised her first guide dog for the Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation at the age of twelve.  Along her journey, Dr. Sanders has explored many interests which fostered a love of service and leadership. She earned a varsity letter on the men’s high school wrestling team, captained multiple sports teams, played college women’s soccer, was employed as a resident advisor in college, tried her hand at research (gaining publication in a peer reviewed journal), and was an entrepreneur with a small dog walking & pet sitting business.

After graduating from McDaniel College (founded as Western Maryland College), with a B.A. in chemistry and biology, Julie took a break from academia and worked in corporate research and development.  During this time, she nurtured her love of animals by volunteering with several nonprofit organizations including Alley Cat Allies, the Montgomery County (MD) SPCA, and Greyhound Welfare.  Her dedication and commitment soon propelled her into successive leadership roles culminating with Vice President of Greyhound Welfare. These experiences compelled Julie to continue on her path to becoming a veterinarian.

Dr. Sanders earned her DVM from the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine in 2009.  During her time at the VMCVM she served as an Student Ambassador for Purina, a class fundraiser, and officer of both the VBMA and Alpha Psi. Upon graduation, Dr. Sanders entered directly into emergency practice and did intermittent spay/neuter work with the South Central (VA) Spay-Neuter Clinic. During her tenure with the spay-neuter clinic, Dr. Sanders helped organize a grant-funded trap-neuter-release feral cat program and temporarily served as vet-in-charge. Never one to have just one interest, Dr. Sanders also served as the consulting veterinarian for Radford University’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee for two years before moving to New Jersey to further her emergency career as a Senior Emergency Veterinarian at Red Bank Veterinary Hospital. 

Looking to grow her leadership experience, Dr. Sanders transitioned to general practice with Banfield in 2014 as a Chief of Staff.  After revitalizing multiple Philadelphia-area hospitals in that role, Dr. Sanders was promoted to Director of Veterinary Quality for Banfield’s NJ South market in 2017. In this role she supervised up to 19 hospitals while serving as a mentor and coach to over 40 doctors. In 2021, Dr. Sanders accepted a role as Director of Operations for Heart + Paw where she currently oversees 14 hospital teams. Dr. Sanders keeps her medical & surgical skills honed by covering an emergency shift at the local specialty center.

Dr. Sanders continues to provide volunteer surgical services at her local shelter, Homeward Bound. In addition, for the past 10 years, she has volunteered with the AVMA both through the AVMA’s ECFVG Workshops (which maintains the testing standards for licensing foreign veterinary graduates) and as an elected member of the AVMA Council on Veterinary Service. She is also delighted to be a participant in the VMCVM/VVMA mentorship program.

In her free time, Dr. Sanders enjoys driving motorcycles with her husband, Jason. A life-long dog-lover, Dr. Sanders has acquired an appreciation for cats from her step-son Joseph’s gregarious tuxedo cat, Lo-Mein. She is currently in search of her next canine soul mate to keep her company on her daily walks. The Sanders-Chessman family accents their life by dabbling in fitness, culinary experiences, travel, music, Legos, books, puzzles, all things super-hero/sci-fi, and a never-ending thirst for new adventures among extended family and friends.


Kim Schneider (DVM 1990)

Kim Schneider (BS '85, DVM '90)

Dr. Schneider is a small animal practitioner at Animal Hospital of Ft. Lauderdale in Florida where she has spent the past 22 years enjoying all aspects of practice with a special interest in Dermatology. She is passionate about educating her clients on preventative medicine and guiding them through all phases of their pets lives. Her career as a veterinarian has been extremely rewarding and she enjoys educating, mentoring and sharing her experiences with new graduates, veterinary students and anyone interested in veterinary medicine.

Dr. Schneider's interest in veterinary medicine started at a young age when she would take frogs to school for show and tell. She grew up in northern Virginia riding horses, volunteering as an assistant zoo keeper at the Washington National Zoo and working for a small animal hospital. Dr. Schneider attended Virginia Tech for her undergraduate studies, was vice-president of the Virginia Tech Equestrian Club and was on the Intercollegiate Equestrian Team. Dr. Schneider graduated in 1985 with a B.S. in Biology and minors in Animal Science and Microbiology. After graduation Dr. Schneider worked for the Virginia Tech Department of Biochemistry and Nutrition and co-authored three papers on aflatoxins. While attending VMCVM she was vice-president of her class .

After receiving her DVM degree Dr. Schneider worked in several mixed animal practices in Virginia and Kansas before settling in Florida. In 1995 Dr. Schneider started her company, Veterinary Clinics of Florida, Inc and provided veterinary relief services between Orlando and south Florida before joining Animal Hospital of Ft. Lauderdale. Over the years Dr. Schneider has spent time on school Annual Fund committees, a Leukemia and Lymphoma Society fundraiser, speaking with grade school children about veterinary medicine and participating in her colleague and co-worker's non-profit company, Pets Help the Heart Heal.

When not working Dr. Schneider spends time with family and friends. She is a pet parent to two dogs and a cat and a parent to three grown children one of whom she is proud to say is a recent Virginia Tech graduate. Dr. Schneider also enjoys spending time outdoors hiking, skiing, flying, biking, swimming, diving, and fishing.


Tosha Starke (DVM 2004)

Tosha Starke (DVM '04)

Dr. Starke grew up on a grain and livestock farm in Brunswick County, Virginia. Pursuing her passions of caring for and healing animals she received her DVM degree from Virginia Tech in 2004. Since then she has been practicing in Northern Virginia. Dr. Starke’s experience is varied and well rounded. She has practiced as a Chief of Staff in two hospitals, provided medical care to shelter pets as well as worked as associate veterinarian. Her interests include dentistry and surgery and she loves the interaction and relationships that she builds with patients and clients.

Dr. Starke lives in Northern Virginia with her husband, her children Christopher and Gabby and three dogs: Dozer, Bruce and Kettle. Starting All Four PAWS Veterinary Relief was a wonderful way for her to balance her passion as a mom and as a veterinarian and spend more time with her family.


Courtney Wiegard (DVM 2005)

Courtney Wiegard (DVM '05)

Courtney is originally from Waynesboro, Virginia and received her Bachelor of Science in 2001 from Denison University where she played varsity women’s basketball.  She received her DVM from Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine in 2005. 

Dr. Wiegard began practicing medicine as an associate veterinarian at Vinton Veterinary Hospital shortly after graduation in 2005.  She was promoted to Medical Director in 2015 and became an owner of the practice in 2019.  She became owner and Medical Director of Pet Vet Roanoke in 2020 and facilitated the creation of Roanoke Virginia’s first and only multi-site veterinary group. 

Dr. Wiegard is avid within the community by having served on multiple community boards including the RVVMA, Virginia Children’s Theatre and recently serving as Board Chair of Saint Francis Service Dogs.  She has helped the promotion of veterinary medicine and raised awareness of local shelters by appearing on many local news channels in regular segments (often with an adoptable animal) for their lifestyle and entertainment shows.  She also has published veterinary-related articles in many local papers, magazines, and blogs. 

Dr. Wiegard is an avid runner and recently officially became a marathoner.  She loves to coach basketball, cheer her husband on in triathlons and watch daughters thrive in sports, theatre, and ballet.  She lives in the heart of Roanoke City with her husband, Spencer and their two daughters Elliott and Brynne.  They enjoy their urban zoo of 5 rescue dogs, a cat, and a lizard.  Dr. Wiegard and her family love to travel, hike, watch movies and learn new languages. 


Jessica Wootton (DVM 2013)

Jessica Wootton (DVM '13)

Dr. Wootton is originally from Blackstone, VA where she grew up working at the family beef farm and restaurant. She earned a BA in English with a minor in theatre from Hollins University, a BA in Biology from George Mason University, and her DVM from VMRCVM in 2013. 

Dr. Wootton is currently a feline-exclusive associate veterinarian at EMMAvet Veterinary Care in Alexandria where she works with another VMRCVM '13 grad. Her professional interests include geriatric medicine, dentistry, and working with patients with challenging demeanors...especially torties!

When she's not working, you can find her enjoying travel, food and wine, theatre, swimming, reading, and sports (especially Hokie football!). She lives in Arlington with a wonky-eyed grey tabby named Emme. 

Welcome Notes from Alumni to Students

Over the past two years, we have been collecting handwritten notes from alumni to be placed in the White Coat pockets of the incoming first-year DVM class at its "White Coat Ceremony." This year, unfortunately, an in-person ceremony will not be held, so we are collecting virtual notes.

From alumni to students of ALL degree programs, please consider writing a message to welcome a student to the VMCVM and the professions of public health and veterinary medicine. We cannot think of a better way to be welcomed into our professions than a personal note and positive message from an alumnus of the college. Feel free to leave your name and contact information as well, if you like!

Have a job posting? Want to participate in student mentorship?

Enter your information in the VMCVM Alumni/Practitioner-Student Exchange to connect the resources you need by sharing the resources you have. To post an available position, just click to "open in Sheets," and you can add the information there. This page is shared with students, alumni, and practitioners in Virginia, Maryland, and West Virginia.

The Virginia Veterinary Medical Association (VVMA) Mentor Program provides mentorship opportunities between VMCVM students and practitioners across Virginia, Maryland, and West Virginia. Any veterinarian can be a mentor. It does not matter where or when you graduated from veterinary school, nor do you have to be a member of a state veterinary medical association. When you sign-up to be a mentor, the VVMA will assign you with one or more students. An opportunity to meet and interact with your mentee(s) occurs annually, in the fall, on “Mentor Day”. It’s a wonderful way to give back to the students and prepare them for their future in veterinary medicine.

Coming soon!

DVM White Coat

Sponsor a White Coat

Join in a new opportunity to sponsor an incoming student(s) by funding the purchase of their white coat and writing them a welcome note to go in the pocket. The suggested donation per student is $50 which will cover their coat and welcome note with the remaining amount going into the DVM general scholarship fund.

Daffodils in the Grove

Wellness Memorial Fund

The Wellness Memorial Fund was created to honor alumni and dedicated members of the college community who have died. Their influence and impact on the college and its students, faculty, and staff will be memorialized through important contributions that will drive wellness projects and initiatives.

DVM Student with Dr. Krebs in CPRAC

DVM Student Scholarships

The rising educational debt-to-salary ratio is considered one of the most serious issues facing veterinary colleges across the country. Scholarship support plays a crucial role in reducing the burden of educational debt and creating opportunities for underserved populations. 
» Download the PDF to learn more

Public Health

Public Health

The Public Health Program is grounded in an interdisciplinary “One Health” approach. One Health recognizes the dynamic interdependence of human health, animal health, and the environment and encompasses the interdisciplinary efforts of medical, veterinary, and public health professionals to protect, promote, and improve health. 
» Download the PDF to learn more

Dr. Bertke Lab

Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences Annual Fund

BMVS programs of study — courses, laboratory and field research, clinical experience, and teaching opportunities — are flexible and tailored to meet individual students' needs, depending on academic background, professional experience, and career goals. The college prides itself on its high quality of student mentoring, advising, and support services. Help support these endeavors by donating to the annual fund.

To support any of the highlighted support areas, you can follow the direct giving links provided. To support others funds online, you can follow the below instructions.

  1. Go to the secure Virginia Tech On-Line Giving page. This page will open in a new browser window so you may refer back to these instructions by minimizing the giving window.
  2. The "Select an area" dropbox will be prepopulated with "College of Veterinary Medicine.
  3. Use the "Select a fund" dropbox to select the fund you would like to support. If you wish to support a fund not listed, please select "Other" and a "Designation" box will appear where you can enter the fund name.
  1. Download and print our Gift Contribution Form (PDF)
  2. Make your check payable to "Virginia Tech Foundation, Inc."
  3. Send the completed form and your check to:
    College of Veterinary Medicine
    Development Office
    225 Duck Pond Drive
    Blacksburg, VA 24061
Class of 2025 White Coat Celebration

Each year the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine celebrates the incoming DVM class by presenting each student with their own white coat at the White Coat Ceremony. Starting this year, we are offering a new opportunity for alumni to sponsor a student(s) by funding the purchase of their white coat, and sharing words of wisdom and encouragement as they embark on their veterinary career by adding a welcome note to the pocket.

The suggested donation per student is $50. In addition to covering the cost of the white coat (with your personal note in the pocket), this contribution will support student scholarships as the remaining amount of your donation will be applied directly to the DVM general scholarship fund.

Join us in making the Class of 2026 feel appreciated and supported!

  • Article Item
    Laura Beth Payne (PhD '16): American Heart Association postdoctoral fellow searches ‘secret molecular world’ for clues underlying vascular disease , article

    Laura Beth Payne, a postdoctoral associate at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC, has received a two-year American Heart Association postdoctoral fellowship to examine how two microvasculature cell types, pericytes and endothelial cells, communicate through specific molecular signals.

    Date: May 07, 2020
  • Article Item
    Dr. Susan VandeWoude (DVM ’86) named to the National Academy of Sciences , article

    Dr. Susan VandeWoude learned the news at Dulles Airport while returning from Washington, D.C., on April 30, 2019: She had been elected to join the National Academy of Sciences, one of the highest honors for scientists in recognition of distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.

    Date: Jun 05, 2019
  • Article Item
    Cynthia Courtney (DVM ’11) earns Next Generation Award , article

    Missouri veterinarian Cynthia Courtney, DVM, will receive the Hill’s Pet Nutrition Next Generation Veterinary Award in recognition of her work to improve the well-being of veterinary professionals.

    Date: May 23, 2019
  • Article Item
    Bill Tyrrell (DVM '92) is making service his business , article

    He’s a practicing veterinarian specializing in cardiology, a grantee of Diplomate status from the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, a co-owner of the booming CVCA: Cardiac Care for Pets (formerly Chesapeake Veterinary Cardiology Associates), a past president of the Virginia Veterinary Medical Association, and an active alumnus of Virginia Tech and the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine.

    Date: May 01, 2019
  • Article Item
    Donna McWilliams (DVM ’02): Florida veterinarian brings Ut Prosim to life , article

    At an early age, Donna McWilliams knew she wanted to be a veterinarian. From the time she was in grade school, she was bringing home snakes and all sorts of animals. As an elementary student in Texas, she was paid to maintain a salt lick and water trough for a small herd of cattle. Her parents observed her natural interest in animals and were supportive. Her father was in the Navy, and she moved from Northern Virginia to Charlottesville to San Antonio as a young child.

    Date: Apr 01, 2017
  • Article Item
    Lindsey McCrickard (DVM ’11) pursues career in global public health , article

    “I realized that I love interacting with people and working on problems that are cross-cutting between humans and animals,” McCrickard said. “Thinking about the movement of disease within a population rather than an individual animal really spoke to me, and I felt that I could make a much greater impact focusing on public health.”

    Date: Feb 01, 2017
  • Article Item
    Herb Yee (DVM '10): From veteran to veterinarian, alumnus Dr. Yee follows his passion , article

    A Los Angeles native with a decorated military career, Herb Yee’s entrance into veterinary school was not the traditional path most students take to become a veterinarian.

    Date: Oct 01, 2016
  • Article Item
    Carmen Ledesma-Feliciano (DVM '12) returns to alma mater for virology meeting , article

    Originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico, Carmen Ledesma-Feliciano began her undergraduate career at the University of Puerto Rico before transferring to the University of Maryland at College Park, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in pre-professional animal sciences in 2006. After graduating, Ledesma-Feliciano worked with research animal care company Priority One Services at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland before applying to the veterinary college.

    Date: Jul 01, 2016
  • Article Item
    Lisa Carter (DVM ’87): Alumni Society president is committed to service, leadership, and the blues. , article

    Lisa Glasscock Carter graduated with her doctor of veterinary medicine degree in 1987 with the fourth graduating class from the veterinary college, quickly becoming an integral member of the Virginia veterinary community. Throughout her career, she has served as president of the Virginia Veterinary Medical Association (VVMA), the Virginia Delegate to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), and received the Virginia Distinguished Veterinarian of the Year Award in 2008.

    Date: Jul 01, 2016
  • Article Item
    “Becoming the Beach Boys” author Jim Murphy hails from the DVM Class of 1997 , article

    At age 36, looking for a career change, Jim Murphy decided to apply to veterinary school. He had “always admired the profession of veterinary medicine as providing a unique opportunity to combine science, medicine, and communication/people skills to help people protect and preserve the bond they share with their companion animals,” but had spent most of his career working in Washington, D.C. at the Postal Service Headquarters as a writer, congressional liaison, ceremony coordinator, and speechwriter.

    Date: May 01, 2016

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Cassie Wagner

Cassie Wagner
Director of Alumni and Referring Practitioner Relations
540-231-4222
cwwagner@vt.edu

Amy Winemiller

Amy Winemiller
Alumni and Constituency Engagement Coordinator
540-231-5809
awinemiller@vt.edu