Merck, AVMF announce 2018 Veterinary Student Innovation Awards

Recipients awarded based on demonstrated innovation, entrepreneurship, and creativity in developing a project or product that inspires others within the profession

Carolyn Benedetto (left), a graduate of the Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine, recently received the 2018 Merck Animal Health Veterinary Student Innovation Award. The award was presented by Christy Kebodeaux (right), senior territory manager at Merck Animal Health.

Merck Animal Health and the American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF) have announced the winners of the 2018 Veterinary Student Innovation Awards, a new award program designed to recognize graduating seniors at each veterinary school accredited through the American Veterinary Medical Association in the U.S. and Canada. Awards were given to students in good academic standing and who have demonstrated innovation, entrepreneurship, and creativity in developing a project or product that inspires others within the veterinary profession.

“At Merck Animal Health, we believe in the science of healthier animals,” said Scott Bormann, Merck’s North America vice president. “Part of what drives that science is the identification of new challenges and the development of initiatives to address them in our ever-changing industry. We’re excited to partner with the AVMF to support these inspiring students.”

“We are pleased to recognize and support these outstanding veterinary students,” said Jan K. Strother, DVM, chair, AVMF board of directors. “Not only have these students displayed entrepreneurial spirit, initiative and creativity, but they are also making a positive difference in their communities and in our veterinary profession.”

Award recipients include:

  • Carolyn Benedetto, Louisiana State University
  • Amanda Carlson, Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Meredith Chamberlain, University of Prince Edward Island
  • Caitlin Conner, Texas A & M University
  • Akaterina Davros, Kansas State University
  • Matthew Robert DiFazio, Cornell University
  • Wendy Evans, University of Missouri
  • Anika Farina, Tufts University
  • Shannon Finn, University of Guelph
  • Maryanne Miko Flasik, Colorado State University
  • Mackenzie Gallegos, Michigan State University
  • Nicolas Gendron-Parra, University of Montreal
  • Shannon Gildersleeve, University of Wisconsin
  • John Griffeon, North Carolina State University
  • Courtney Griffin, Mississippi State University
  • Nicholas Hall, Washington State University
  • Lindsey Knox, University of Minnesota
  • Laura MacIntyre, Oregon State University
  • Max Manse, University of California – Davis
  • Kayla Mehan, Lincoln Memorial University
  • Samantha Morici, Auburn University
  • Kara Negrini, Purdue University
  • Dustin Ong, Western University
  • Ruben Pabon Padin, The Ohio State University
  • Chelsea Ruston, Iowa State University
  • Rayeann Solano, Midwestern University
  • Richard Blaine Sparks, University of Tennessee
  • Suzanne Wilson, University of Illinois

Some of the projects developed by the award recipients include:

  • Vets for Vets, a program that benefits the community and animal health by providing rehabilitation care for retired military dogs and police dogs.
  • The VOICE (Veterinary Students as One in Culture and Ethnicity)program, which is designed to introduce underrepresented minority high school students to various aspects of the health sciences through hands-on activities and interactions with current health science students.
  • Development of a surgical assist device to make equine colon evacuation more efficient and complete. The student’s goal is to create a device that could be commercially developed and made available to all veterinarians.

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