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Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine

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Alumni news articles.

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    Three professional photos: One of Jennifer McQuiston, one of Caitlin Cossaboom, and one of Phil Sponenberg. They all smile and look into the camera.
    2022 Distinguished Alumni Awards , article

    The college announced the 2022 Distinguished Alumni Awards. The Lifetime Achievement Alumni Award, the Outstanding Recent Alumni Award and an additional award, the Outstanding Faculty Alumni Award, given to a faculty member for their contributions to student and alumni education and mentorship.

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    DVM Class of 2026 White Coat Ceremony group photo.
    Class of 2026 receives support—and a surprise—during White Coat Ceremony , article

    Last Friday, 127 aspiring veterinarians, wearing their newly bestowed white coats, rose from their seats at the Moss Arts Center and took the veterinary student's oath. With that, the students were officially welcomed into the profession as the Class of 2026, the 43rd class of veterinarians to be educated at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine.

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    A group of brown chickens roam for food.
    Veterinary college alumni at forefront of effort to contain avian flu and its impacts , article

    From personally escorting a sample on a flight from Virginia to Iowa for testing, to joining a delegation on a trans-Pacific flight to Japan to convince trading partners the U.S. poultry supply is safe, alumni from the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine (VMCVM) are on the front lines in the battle to control the impacts of the highly pathogenic avian influenza outbreak.

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    Lisa Aumiller (DVM '99)
    Here, doc: Dr. Lisa Aumiller (DVM ’99) comes to pets’ pads , article

    Lisa Aumiller has been a lover of animals since she was a child. “I was always bringing things home in my pocket, and my dad would say, ‘No, you can’t have that one,’ ” she recalls with a smile. “I’ve always loved our fur babies.”

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    Carter album
    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.

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    Cynthia Courtney (DVM ’11)
    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.

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    Michael Davis with husky
    Michael Davis (MS ’95): Exercise physiologist draws from experience with sled racing dogs , article

    While studying ski asthma, an asthma-like disease common in elite winter athletes, as part of his Ph.D. research at Johns Hopkins University, Michael Davis approached the Iditarod head veterinarian for a possible collaboration opportunity. Davis hoped that the Iditarod, a 1,000-mile dog sled race from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska, would provide a unique opportunity to study this phenomenon in sled dogs.

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    D'Orazio and Zombie
    Diane D’Orazio (DVM ’85): Roanoke veterinarian shares her passion for wildlife rescue with students , article

    Since her graduation from the veterinary school with the Class of 1985, Diane D'Orazio's career has taken many paths. She's worked with dairy goats in Maryland, at an emergency veterinary clinic in Clearwater, and with Veterinarians to Cats, a Roanoke-based cat clinic run by D'Orazio's former classmate, Connie Canode. Throughout her career, however, she's always made time for volunteer wildlife rescue work.

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    Karla Frazier (DVM '94) with cat
    Karla Frazier (DVM '94): North Carolina canine officers have alumna to thank for bulletproof vests profile , article

    When Dr. Karla Frazier (DVM ’94) saw the news reports about Gorky, a K-9 officer who lost his life in the line of duty, she knew that she had to help. Back in January, German shepherd Gorky joined Davie County sheriff’s deputies in serving an arrest warrant to a man who first tried to get away and then took hostages. The situation escalated and both Gorky and his handler, Deputy Chris Fleming, were shot. Fleming recovered, but 5-year-old Gorky died from his injuries the next morning.

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    Michaela Fry (DVM '08) listens to digestive sounds in a dairy cow’s stomach.
    Michaela Fry (DVM '08): Central Pennsylvania veterinarian is in high demand , article

    When a farmer calls Michaela Fry, the situation at the farm is almost always a serious one. It’s those calls in the middle of the night, when a farmer is struggling to get a breeched calf to emerge, that they call Fry, the “lady veterinarian,” who shows up on a regular basis for routine checks on those same animals.

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    Chip Godine (DVM '87) at Ruckersville Animal Hospital
    Richard “Chip” Godine (DVM ’87) leads the way with veterinary laser therapy , article

    Dr. Richard “Chip” Godine might not have become a leading proponent of laser therapy in veterinary medicine had he not injured his shoulder in 2007. When Godine went to his family doctor to treat the injury, his physician recommended laser light therapy to reduce pain and inflammation. Amazed at the treatment’s effectiveness, he went to an international laser therapy conference in Toronto to learn more about this emerging modality.

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    John Herrity (DVM '86) with dog
    John Herrity (DVM '86): Outside the box: Dr. Herrity has success with innovative treatments at Northern Virginia practice , article

    Dr. John Herrity (DVM '86) never considered his graduation from VA-MD Vet Med to be the end of his education. Herrity, a practice owner at Burke Animal Clinic located 20 miles south of Washington, D.C., has been taking care of pets in Northern Virginia for more than 25 years. In recent years, he has introduced alternative and holistic therapies into his practice so that his patients have access to the latest advances in veterinary medicine.

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    Lauren Howard (DVM '00) with iguana
    Lauren Howard (DVM '00) — Every Day at Work is a Real “Zoo” , article

    Even when she was a veterinary student, Dr. Lauren Howard knew that she wanted to provide care for animals both big and small after graduation. Today, the Class of 2000 graduate from VA-MD Vet Med does just that as an associate veterinarian at the Houston Zoo. Howard treats a range of species, from an endangered toad population in the greater Houston area to the zoo's Asian elephants.

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    Bart Kite (DVM '07) and Stacie Crain Kite (DVM '07) wedding
    A Marriage Made in Vet School , article

    To celebrate Valentine’s Day, we share the story of love and romance between two alumni who met as classmates at the college and left as engaged sweethearts. Dr. Bart Kite (DVM ’07), Chief of Staff at the Banfield Hospital in Chesapeake, Va., and Dr. Stacie Crain Kite (DVM '07), Chief of Staff at the Banfield Hospital in Virginia Beach, Va., were married a year after graduating from the college.

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    Joshua Louis Lachovicz (DVM '02) CD Cover
    Joshua Louis Lachowicz (DVM '02) — Pursuing Dual Passions , article

    While it’s commonly accepted that you should focus your talents and interests on one specific career path, who says you can’t choose two? Born and raised in Roanoke, Va., Dr. Joshua Louis Lachowicz (DVM '02) grew up in the country, where his love for animals and a desire to care for them began at a young age. Around the same time, he learned to play the piano and started singing and writing his own songs.

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    Jessica Landa (DVM '10)performs chiropractic adjustments on one of her patients.
    Jessica Landa (DVM ’10) brings hands-on horse healing to central Florida , article

    Jessica Landa, DVM, ran her hands over a horse’s hip, trailing the anatomy carefully before inserting a thin needle. The horse didn’t flinch. She placed another. And another. Acupuncture for horses.

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    Carmen Ledesma-Feliciano (DVM '12) at Virology meeting
    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.

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    Krista Magnifico (DVM '05) with dogs
    Krista Magnifico (DVM '05) harnesses the power of social media , article

    A merchant marine, a veterinarian, and now a social media pioneer, Dr. Krista Magnifico (DVM ’05) wears many hats. Magnifico is the owner of Jarrettsville Veterinary Center, a large, busy small animal practice in Jarrettsville, Maryland, about 30 miles north of Baltimore. Three years ago, she launched Pawbly, a free social network for people who are passionate about pets so they could get answers to pet-related questions and connect with local and national animal health experts.

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    Lindsey McCrickard (DVM '11)
    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.”

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    Jennifer McQuiston (DVM '97, MS '98) at book signing
    Jennifer McQuiston (DVM ’97, MS ’98): Infectious disease and romance: Unlikely duo works for Dr. McQuiston , article

    Raised in a family of educators, Dr. Jennifer McQuiston (DVM ’97, MS ’98) appreciated both English and science in high school but decided to focus on the latter in college. Today, McQuiston works as an epidemiologist for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC). She is also a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of two romance novels — with a third set for publication next year.

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    Donna Williams (DVM '02) with her daughter
    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.

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    “Becoming the Beach Boys” author Jim Murphy hails from the DVM Class of 1997
    “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.

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    Laura Beth Payne (PhD '16)
    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.

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    Robert Ratcliffe (DVM '01) in exam room
    Robert Ratcliffe (DVM '01): Veterinarian offers pet care and house calls at new Pennsylvania clinic , article

    Dogs and cats are important members of many families, said veterinarian Dr. Robert Ratcliffe (DVM ’01), and his goal is to support his clients’ special relationship with their pets by offering compassionate and quality health care in his new clinic or by house calls.

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    Chris Runde (DVM '85) with horses
    Chris Runde (DVM ’85): Maryland veterinarian advances the profession through legislative efforts , article

    Veterinary law and its application are now an important part of Runde’s professional life as president of the Maryland State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners and a board of directors member for the American Association of Veterinary State Boards.

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    Kathy Simmons (DVM '84) with U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe
    Kathy Simmons (DVM '84): National Cattlemen’s chief veterinarian hails from college’s charter class , article

    Dr. Kathy Simmons has worked in an animal hospital, on her family’s West Virginia farm, and on Capitol Hill. For the past two years, she has been a leading voice for animal care and health regulatory issues in her role as chief veterinarian for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA). Simmons is also a proud graduate of the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine’s founding Class of 1984.

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    Bill Tyrrell (DVM '92)
    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.

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    Susan VandeWoude (DVM '86)
    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.

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    Amanda Weakley (DVM '14)
    Amanda Weakley (DVM '14): Madison County’s newest large animal vet is no stranger to the area , article

    While other little girls were focused on dolls and dresses, Amanda Weakley was focused on animals. What was once a childhood interest is now a vocation as Dr. Weakley has recently joined Virginia Herd Health Management as a large animal veterinarian. Even before her fifth birthday, Weakley, who was born and raised on a farm in Brightwood, had decided she wanted to be a veterinarian.

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    Jessica Wootton (DVM '13) with cat
    Jessica Wootton (DVM ‘13) , article

    Although Jessica Wootton always hoped to be a veterinarian at some point in her career, she credits a less traditional route for helping her actually realize that goal. Originally from Blackstone, Virginia, Wootton grew up working on a beef farm before attending Hollins University in Roanoke as an English and theatre major. After graduation, Wootton ended up working as a veterinary assistant at the NOVA Cat Clinic in Arlington and from there decided to attend the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine to get her doctor of veterinary medicine degree, first attending George Mason University to earn a bachelor’s degree in biology for her prerequisite courses.

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    Herb Yee (DVM '10) and his wife Chris
    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.

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    VA-MD Vet Med alumni (clockwise from top left) Jody Kull ’04; Jennifer McQuiston ’93, ’97, ’98; Lindsey McCrickard Shields ’11; Betsy Schroeder ’16, ’20; and Jim Trybus ’04.
    Uniquely prepared for a pandemic , article

    From public health veterinarians and pathologists to veterinary epidemiologists and disease surveillance experts, VA-MD Vet Med's One Health-trained alumni have their boots on the ground in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

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    Collage of photos provided by Bruce Bowman.
    Veterinary college alum Bruce Bowman carries serving others to new heights around the world , article

    Bruce Bowman (B.S. '83, DVM '87) has made a life and a living serving veterinary clients in his native Shenandoah Valley and citizens of the commonwealth of Virginia, but his Ut Prosim (“That I may serve”) commitment has also overflowed across the oceans to the highest mountain passes on Earth.

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    Bom Harris (DVM '08) with a calf.
    Alumni Spotlight: Bom Harris (DVM '08) , article

    Bom Harris has been practicing in Virginia since graduating from the college in 2008. Harris hails from Birmingham, Alabama, and now resides in Beaverdam, Virginia. She is active in her community, focusing on producer and 4H education.

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    Portrait of Tanya LeRoith in the ViTALS Lab at VMCVM.
    Alumni Spotlight: Tanya LeRoith (DVM '99) , article

    For this month's alum profile, a "double dose" as Tanya LeRoith is both an alumna (DVM '99) and a clinical professor of anatomic pathology in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology at the college.

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    Photo of Jesper Lorentzen (B.S. '00, DVM '04) speaking at the VMCVM 2021 white coat ceremony.
    Alumni Spotlight: Lorentzen (B.S. '00, DVM '04) , article

    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. Dr. Lorentzen served on the VMCVM Alumni Board of Directers from 2015 until 2023 and was President from 2020-2022.

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    Headshot of Donald Prater.
    Alumni Spotlight: Donald Prater (DVM '96) , article

    A conversation with Donald Prater (DVM '96), Acting Director of the Office of Food Policy and Response (OFPR) and the Associate Commissioner for Imported Food Safety at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

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    Photo of Tabitha Viner standing in front of snowy mountains.
    Alumni Spotlight: Viner (DVM '98) , article

    Tabitha Viner has been at the National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory since 2010. She is part of the pathology section at the lab and works with other Fish and Wildlife Service scientists in the fields of genetics, morphology, and criminalistics on crimes involving birds and endangered species.

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    Resident Megan Lowman, DVM to present a retrospective study on next generation sequencing (NGS) in equine sinusitis

    On Saturday, October 15, Equine Medical Center surgery resident, Megan Lowman, DVM will present a retrospective study on next generation sequencing (NGS) in equine sinusitis at the American College of Veterinary Surgeons (ACVS) Surgery Summit in Portland, Oregon.

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    Alumni gather for a group photo at the College Celebration in the Grove during Connect 2022 at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine.
    Connect 2022 brings alumni, students together for weekend of networking and fun , article

    More than 600 registered attendees came to the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, Connect 2022, Oct. 20-22. Apparently the largest veterinarian gathering in the state of Virginia this year.

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    DOC beef meeting attendees looking at PowerPoint presentation.
    Veterinary college, Department of Corrections continue to benefit from two-decade partnership , article

    Aligned by the common goal of improving Virginia agriculture, the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine (VMCVM) and the Virginia Department of Corrections (VDOC) continue to reap the benefits of a partnership now more than two decades old.

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    Machinery grading land.
    The Equine Medical Center sports medicine complex will be complete in late fall with the addition of a new indoor arena , article

    Demonstrating the power of philanthropy – coupled with a lot of persistence – the newest addition to the Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center (EMC) hospital complex is finally underway.

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    Close up of a white horses face.
    Equine Veterinary Crisis - sustaining emergency and critical care services in an ever-changing landscape , article

    There is a crisis silently brewing in the equine veterinary world. The combination of older veterinarians leaving the field, current equine veterinarians leaving for better pay and work/life balance, and fewer numbers of veterinary students choosing equine as their elective field of specialty have seriously affected the availability of primary and emergency care for horses throughout the United States and beyond. And, if nothing is done now this could be greatly problematic for horse owners who need to seek medical care for their horses in the coming years.

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    Collage of photos of Dr. Bill W. (Doc) Fuller.
    Memorial scholarship honors much-loved rural veterinarian, will assist veterinary students from rural areas , article

    The Dr. Bill W. (Doc) Fuller Veterinary Scholarship has been established by Barbara Blevins and her husband Marty, with an initial gift of $100,000, which includes contributions from friends, family, clients, and colleagues.

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    Jeff Alexander (BS '94, DVM '98, PhD '15)
    Meet the New Alumni Board of Directors President, Jeff Alexander , article

    Earlier this year, the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine’s Alumni Board of Directors elected its next president, Jeff Alexander.

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    Erin Phoenix poses in the grass with a dog.
    Veterinary alumna returns as faculty to work with students, shelter dogs , article

    Erin Phoenix (B.S ‘11, DVM ’17) recently joined the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine as a veterinary instructor with the Animal Care for Education team in the small animal clinical sciences department.

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    Portrait of Rebecca Persons.
    Veterinary alumna Rebecca Persons joins college as clinical instructor , article

    Rebecca Persons has joined the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine as a clinical instructor at the Small Animal Community Practice. The Small Animal Community Practice is part of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, one of the college’s three animal hospitals. The Community Practice provides preventative care to small animals within a 35-mile radius of Blacksburg.

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    Bill Pierson receives Calnek Award.
    William “Bill” Pierson, professor emeritus at the veterinary college honored with national avian disease award , article

    Bill Pierson was recently honored with a national award for a career devoted to mentorship, avian disease research and biosecurity. Pierson was named the 2022 recipient of the Bruce W. Calnek Applied Poultry Research Achievement Award, given by the American Association of Avian Pathologists.

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    Sophie Boorman doing an ultrasound on a horse.
    Sustaining emergency and critical care services while an equine veterinary crisis rages on , article

    It has been widely known in the equine community in recent years that students in veterinary colleges throughout the country are choosing to steer away from equine veterinary medicine. In 2021, the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) highlighted this plight by sharing that only a small percentage of veterinary graduates were entering the equine profession. Even more disturbing is the news that 50 percent of these graduates will leave the equine profession within five years. This phenomenon has caused some serious “outside-the-box” thinking, not only by the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine but also by other veterinary colleges and private equine practices throughout the country that wish to sustain emergency and elective services that they currently offer to their clients.

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    Matt Iager
    The long-lasting tradition of philanthropy , article

    Matt Iager (DVM '96) endows a scholarship supporting food animal veterinary students.