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Source: American Veterinary Medical Foundation and Zoetis joint news release

In an effort to continue supporting leadership and diversity, and to offset the significant costs associated with a veterinary education, Zoetis™ and the American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF) announced the 452 second- and third-year veterinary students at accredited universities throughout the United States and the Caribbean that will each receive a $2,000 scholarship. Now in its fifth year, the program provided a total of $904,000 to this year's recipients.

More than 1,600 applicants were evaluated based on several criteria, including academic excellence, professional interests, financial need, diversity, leadership and potential for contribution to the veterinary profession. This year's scholarship recipients reflect a broad range of professional interests. Of the 2014 scholars:

• 18 percent are from diverse backgrounds
• 31 percent are studying mixed animal medicine
• 11.5 percent are studying to practice food animal medicine
• 29 percent are going into small animal practice
• 8 percent are entering academia (research and clinical)
• Other recipients will go into other areas, such as public health, zoo animal medicine and poultry

For one scholarship recipient, the support helped her spend time immersing herself in the profession, as well as continuing her involvement in student leadership groups.

"The support from Zoetis and the AVMF will allow me to seek opportunities for experience in wild life pathology labs, rather than spending my summer working odd-jobs to pay for vet school and my undergrad loans," said Colleen Shockling Dent, MPH-VPH, a second year student at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine. "Thanks to this scholarship, I can work less and continue to be involved in groups like the Student Leadership Advisory Council over the next few years."

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), the average educational debt of a 2013 veterinary school graduate was $162,113-6.9% higher than it was in 2012-with more than half of the graduates accruing debt in excess of $150,000. Since its inception four years ago, the Zoetis Veterinary Student Scholarship program has awarded more than $3.6 million to more than 1,100 aspiring veterinarians through its partner, AVMF.

"We are very proud of our partnership with Zoetis," says Michael Cathey, Executive Director, AVMF. "They are to be commended for their generous financial contribution and commitment to veterinary students. With the AVMF's strong focus on student enhancement we are grateful for the opportunity to work together to make a significant impact by empowering veterinary students to achieve their goals in veterinary medicine."

In addition to supporting students through the scholarships, earlier this year Zoetis launched VETVANCE, a free online educational resource for emerging veterinarians to access tools and resources-including information to help manage the burden of educational loans.

The scholarship program is a part of Zoetis' Commitment to Veterinarians™ platform-which offers support through training and education, research and development, investing in the future of the veterinary profession, and philanthropy.

"We are pleased to be able to financially reward these dedicated veterinary students who are already making outstanding contributions to the profession and to the overall well-being and medical care of animals," said Vanessa Mariani, Director of Innovation & Strategic Initiatives, Cattle & Equine, Zoetis US. "Students are the future of the veterinary profession, and we are constantly looking for ways to support them on their professional journey."

For a list of 2014 scholarship recipients, please click here.

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