The Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine (VMCVM) hosted an awards reception honoring faculty members who have shown exceptional abilities in outreach, teaching, innovation, and advancing veterinary medicine.

The college is dedicated to promoting animal, human, and environmental health and welfare through educating students at various levels, including professional, graduate, postgraduate, and undergraduate. The faculty's excellence is vital to achieving this mission, and the awards ceremony is a chance to express gratitude and celebrate the past year's accomplishments. 

The following faculty members were recognized at the ceremony:

Presenting of award.

College Outreach Award

Francisco Carvallo, clinical associate professor of veterinary pathology, was awarded the College Outreach Award. This award celebrates active, sustained partnerships with the community through innovative and creative collaboration. 

Carvallo has been influential in facilitating the partnership between the college and the Universidad Austral de Chile, allowing for important collaborations between faculty and students, as well as supporting faculty and student exchange programs. Carvallo also serves as a mentor for Latinx veterinarians and veterinary students at the college and across the profession.

Presenting of award.

Dr. Edward E. Thompson Professorial Award

This award is for a faculty who has made significant, creative contributions to the advancement of veterinary medicine as demonstrated by a body of scholarship in one or more areas of reputational excellence.

This year’s award went to Stephen A. Smith, professor of aquatic medicine and fish health, wildlife, and exotic animal medicine. Smith garners international recognition for his expertise, having published four books on fish diseases and immunology, and avian anatomy.  His work has been cited over 10,000 times, and he has been awarded over $3.5 million in external grants. 

Presenting of award.

Grant Turnwald Innovation Award

Grant Turnwald, past dean of professional programs, graciously established the Grant Turnwald Innovation Award. The fund was created to inspire change within the culture of the college and to recognize innovation, entrepreneurial thinking, actions, and effectiveness.

Natalia Guerrero, associate professor, service chief of anesthesiology, and department head of small animal clinical sciences, received this year’s award for her work in developing the Animal Instructors Program.  

The program creates opportunities for pets in the community to help teach second-year DVM students in the spay surgery lab.  Participation is free of charge to pet owners and includes beneficial preventative care including spay surgery. In turn, students, under the guidance of faculty and technicians, get hands-on clinical and surgical experience. 

The Animal Instructors Program quickly exceeded its enrollment goals, with the community and students excited about the mutually beneficial partnership. Due to its success, a foundation fund has been established to continue to support and further develop the program.

Presenting of award.

2022 Wine Award Nominee

The William E. Wine Award for Faculty Achievement was created in 1956 by the Alumni Fund Council in memory of William E. Wine, class of 1904. Wine served on the board of visitors for 11 years, including a term as rector from 1948-52, and was president and a board member of the Alumni Association. Initially, the awards honored the best teacher in each college until 1962. From that year onwards, three faculty members were elected "at large" from a pool of nominees by students, faculty, and alumni.

Fawzy Elnady, associate professor of anatomy and embryology, was among the nominees for this prestigious award. Elnady’s talent in anatomy and innovative use of technology to create teaching model specimens were recognized.  Using the Elnady technique, he has created hundreds of models for domestic and exotic animals that support student learning.

Elnady also collaborates within the college and throughout the university to develop interactive 3D models that allow students to develop clinical skills in a low-stress environment. 

Presenting of award.

Dean's Professional Award

Shawna Klahn, associate professor of medical oncology, was given the Dean’s Professional Award. This award recognizes an individual who has made significant, creative contributions to the advancement of veterinary medicine.

Klahn was instrumental in the creation and success of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital’s oncology service in 2012 and helped create the groundwork that lead to the expansion of translational cancer research and the relocation of the oncology service to the Animal Cancer Care and Research Center in Roanoke. 

She is also highly involved in the field on a broader scale, serving multiple terms on the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine oncology board certification exam rating committee and as a member of the Consensus of Chemotherapy Safety Committee. 

Presenting of award.

Dean’s Teaching Award

Bobbi Conner, clinical associate professor of emergency and critical care medicine, received the Dean’s Teaching Award. This award celebrates Conner’s talent and dedication to student development.  She is consistently rated highly by students, who speak of her approachable teaching style and ability to translate difficult concepts in easy-to-understand ways.

Presenting of award.

Dean’s Innovations Award

The Dean's Innovation Award recognizes outstanding contributions that demonstrate exceptional creativity, ingenuity, and impact in advancing the college’s mission. Tom Cecere, associate professor of anatomic pathology, and Teresa Southard, associate professor of anatomic pathology, were recognized with this award.

Cecere is being acknowledged for his innovative and insightful contributions to evolving the DVM curriculum. As chair of the committee overseeing the process, he engages with students, faculty, and administration to determine what the future of veterinary education might look like at the college.

Southard’s utilization of technology to improve teaching and collaboration with college partners has earned her the award.  She has led the way in the scanning and digitizing of histopathology and cytology slides; these digital images are more accessible for educational and clinical purposes. Southard also developed new, creative modalities for teaching neurobiology to DVM students.

Outstanding Instructor Awards

Four faculty were recognized with the Outstanding Instructor Award: Marcela Machado, assistant professor of anesthesiology and pain management; Bobbi Conner, clinical associate professor of emergency and critical care medicine; Erin Phoenix, clinical assistant professor in community practice; and Tom Cecere, associate professor of anatomic pathology.

The faculty who earned this award display innovative teaching methods and steadfast commitment to the student experience as recognized by students and colleagues at the college. 

Written by Margie Christianson, communications manager at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine


Andrew Mann
Director of Communications and Marketing