Meet the Authors


Ashley O’Shea ClevelandLouisiana State University, Class of 2019

O’Shea is a 4th year veterinary student at Louisiana State University’s School of Veterinary Medicine. O’Shea serves as College Council President and Chair of the Advisory Board to the Dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine, where she works to facilitate constructive communication between the students and the administrators in order to effectively express student opinions regarding current policies, services, and programs, as well as implement school wide initiatives. She also served as a Student Senator in the LSU Student Government, and in 2016, she was as a NIH/Merial Veterinary Summer Research Scholar documenting the anatomy of the lower respiratory system of the African grey parrot. Her other research pursuits are in the areas of communication and diversity in the workplace. Her co-authored paper, “Gendered Communication and Career Outcomes: A Construct Validation and Prediction of Hierarchical Advancement and Non-Hierarchical Rewards,” was published in the peer-reviewed journal, Communication Research. She also co-authored a book chapter in the handbook, Leading Diversity in the 21st Century. O’Shea’s other professional interests include animal behavior, animal welfare, public policy and public health.


Hailey WatlingtonLincoln Memorial University, Class of 2020

Hailey is a third year veterinary student at Lincoln Memorial University-College of Veterinary Medicine. She grew up in northern Virginia on a horse farm, competing in three-day eventing. She attended James Madison University (go Dukes!) for her undergraduate degree, where she majored in Biology and performed research on gene expression of a heart muscle enzyme in zebrafish. After college, Hailey moved to Gulu, Uganda, where she spent a year working with women and children who had been victims of human trafficking. She then moved to Harrogate, Tennessee to pursue a Master’s degree, where she worked on genetic markers of macrocyclic lactone resistance in the heartworm. While in veterinary school, she co-founded the One Health Initiative at LMU, bringing together the many health professions offered at LMU. Hailey attended the AVMA Legislative Fly-In in 2017, which sparked her interest in the policy arena. Hailey hopes pursue a career bringing together public health, clinical veterinary medicine, policy, research, and education. She hopes to use this externship as an opportunity to learn more about the vast array of non-traditional careers available to veterinarians in the area, and to be an advocate for science-based policy.


McKenna GuettingerUniversity of Minnesota, Class of 2019

McKenna is currently a fourth year veterinary student at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities where she also received her undergraduate degree in Animal Science. She currently lives in Saint Paul, MN with her two senior cats Lilly and Ollie. Her interest in veterinary medicine started in her hometown of Eau Claire, WI through the mentorship of her neighbor who is also the family veterinarian. During her undergraduate degree she learned about different aspects of the veterinary profession through volunteer work at the U of M Veterinary Medical Center Small Animal Rehabilitation Department and through internships at the Como Zoo and Minnesota Children’s Museum. During veterinary school she has served as treasurer for the Student Chapter of the Foundation for Veterinary Dentistry and earned a business certificate through VBMA. Following graduation she is planning on going into small animal general practice, with a focus on feline medicine. McKenna first became interested in the externship through participation in the Fly-In in 2017, and is looking forward to the next four weeks in Washington, D.C. learning about the legislative process and non-traditional veterinary career paths!


Corey SpiesUniversity of Pennsylvania, Class of 2019

Corey grew up in Northern New Jersey and received his BS in Biology in 2015 at McGill University in Montréal, concentrating on ecology and evolution. At McGill, he worked as an undergraduate researcher in the developmental evolution lab of Dr. Ehab Abouheif, investigating the role of heat shock proteins as capacitors for morphological evolution. As a third-year student at The University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, Corey is concentrating on animal health economics and the role of sustainable livestock systems in the developing world. Corey was elected President of the PennVet One Health Club, where he organized and led lectures and events focusing on the intersection of human, animal, and environmental health. Corey recently cofounded “Gambia Goat Dairy,” the first commercial goat milking facility in The Gambia ( The project addresses food insecurity in the region by bolstering livestock productivity and smallholder wealth, reducing the environmental impact of agriculture, and developing a robust Gambian dairy sector. As an extern with the AVMA’s Government Relations Division, he will explore a range of policy issues facing the veterinary profession and agricultural industry on Capitol Hill. Corey hopes to have an impactful career that spans the fields of environmental conservation, public policy, and global food security.


Hibah Abuhamdieh, University of Georgia, Class of 2019 (DVM-MPH 2020)

Hibah is currently a third year veterinary student at the University of Georgia. She received her Bachelor’s in Animal Science and Biochemistry from Berry College in Rome, GA in 2015. Prior to attending Berry, Hibah lived in Dubai with her family, where she graduated from the American School of Dubai. Hibah is the eldest of 4 girls; she is happy to have her sister Lina in Athens who is a junior studying dietetics. Growing up in different countries, Hibah developed a passion and love for different cultures and hopes to work in developing countries. She decided to pursue UGA’s DVM-MPH program to prepare her for her aspirations, and will be graduating in May, 2020.

Hibah has participated in conferences with the International Veterinary Student Association, has shadowed veterinarians in Palestine, and participated in a summer program in India the summer after her first year, all of which helped confirm her passion for international veterinary medicine.

Hibah ran cross country and track at Berry, and continues to enjoy long distance running on her own. She has a Chihuahua named Sniffles in Dubai, and recently adopted a kitty named Zaytoun in Athens.

While here, Hibah is looking forward to learning about more opportunities within veterinary medicine. She is interested in exploring the role of veterinarians in policy and hopes to be able to adapt what she learns in her future plans abroad.


Laura MacIntyre, Oregon State University, Class of 2018

Laura is a current fourth year veterinary student at Oregon State University. She is originally from San Diego, CA and completed her undergraduate degree in Animal Science and Management at the University of California, Davis. During her undergraduate education, she decided to pursue veterinary medicine after volunteering on a veterinary service trip to Central America and learning about the diverse career opportunities in the veterinary field. During her last quarter of college, she interned in Washington D.C. at the ASPCA Government Relations Department focusing on animal welfare legislative issues. She continued to be involved public policy in veterinary school by participating in the AVMA Legislative Fly In in 2016. This experience demonstrated the importance for veterinarians to be involved in advocacy and helped lead her to co-found the Public Health and Policy Club at Oregon State CVM. She also has interest in international health and participated in the USDA Smith Kilborne program in 2016 focusing on foreign animal diseases and participated in an externship in India through her veterinary college. She was also involved with various organizations during veterinary school including having served as president of OSU’s VBMA, chair of OSU’s SCAVMA Josh Project committee, OSU student ambassador and previous extern at the economic department at the AVMA Headquarters in Schaumburg, Il.

In June, she will be starting a small animal rotating internship at Wheat Ridge Animal Hospital in Denver, Colorado. She is very excited to be back in DC for and hopes to use her externship experience and diverse interests to better understand current legislation affecting the veterinary profession as well as explore the various career opportunities for veterinarians in policy, government, public health and industry fields.


Jennie Lefkowitz, University of Georgia, Class of 2019

Jennie received her Bachelor of Science from the University of Georgia and is currently a third year veterinary student at UGA’s College of Veterinary Medicine, earning the title of “Double Dawg”. Jennie also graduated with a minor in political science focused on international law and political theory, which largely developed during her time at University of Oxford. She is originally from South Carolina – Go Tigers! when they are not playing The Dawgs.

It seems a natural continuation whilst studying for her DVM that Jennie developed a passion for organized veterinary medicine, in particular, its intersection with government and legislature. She has used her positions at school to promote public policy and political education within her student body, introducing regular briefings and establishing an advocacy committee. Outside of the CVM’s walls, Jennie has conducted primary research on the implementation of One Health concepts in Ghana and presented at the World Ambassador meeting for Royal Canin in France.

In her spare time, Jennie enjoys playing with her crazy pupper called Odin, boxing, pilates, spin, and eating out way too much for a college student budget.

Over these next 4 weeks, Jennie looks forward to learning what her career could look like in this arena of veterinary medicine and whether to apply for the congressional fellowship. She is very excited to share with readers her experience on the Hill these next 4 weeks!


Sonja Perry, University of Missouri, Class of 2019

Sonja Perry is a third year veterinary student at the University of Missouri and is originally from Bowling Green, Missouri, a small town about 1.5 hours north of Saint Louis. Growing up in her family’s agricultural laboratory, where soil and feedstuffs are tested for producers around the world, using science to help producers was not just a business goal; but a family value. That family value combined with the experience of raising horses and meat goats led to Sonja finding veterinary medicine as an avenue to help producers maximize profits through science and understanding. As an undergraduate at the University of Missouri, she majored in Animal Sciences with a minor in Agricultural Economics. In veterinary school, Sonja has served as president of the Student Chapter of the American Association of Bovine Practioners, Vice-President of Event planning of VBMA, and Student Board Member for the Missouri Veterinary Medical Association among other service based student organizations. After graduation from veterinary school in 2019, Sonja plans to practice food animal medicine in rural Missouri. However, she hopes to use this externship experience to find ways to serve as a solid scientific voice in a world of policy confusion regarding animal health and welfare throughout her career.



Matt Kuhn, Michigan State University, Class of 2018

Matt is currently a fourth-year veterinary student from Michigan State University in East Lansing, MI. He is originally from the small town of Mattawan in southwest Michigan but has lived in East Lansing for the past nine years. Matt’s pursuit of veterinary medicine began with his first class at MSU, ANS 110 Introduction to Animal Science, where he fell in love with dairy cattle. His love for cattle and veterinary medicine has grown through the years with various experiences in research, pharmaceuticals, quality assurance, and ambulatory medicine. He received his B.S. in Animal Science from MSU with a specialty in Production Animal Medicine in 2013 and began veterinary school with a focus on food animal medicine and research the following fall. Matt is concurrently pursuing a PhD in bovine immunology during his veterinary studies, which will culminate in 2020. His research focuses on the impact of different factors, such as oxidative stress, on the growth of endothelial cells, modeling the recovery of the mammary gland post infection. Matt has been active on his state VMA’s Legislative Advisory Committee and served as president of his veterinary class. He has been an advocate for responsible animal agriculture and research for many years and hopes to utilize his experience in veterinary medicine and research to be a strong proponent for science based policy.

Derecka Alexander, Louisiana State University, Class of 2018

Derecka is a senior veterinary student at the Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine pursuing a career as a public health veterinarian. In middle school, Derecka began focusing most her of education and extracurricular activities on becoming a veterinarian and started spending her spare time during the summer and school year volunteering at the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans, LA. Despite her heavy focus on science while in undergrad, Derecka maintained getting a well-rounded experience, which led her to becoming a professional cheerleader for the New Orleans Saints. Prior to beginning her veterinary education, Derecka pursued a double major in Biological Sciences and Animal/Dairy/Poultry Sciences, and then went on to obtain a Master of Public Health in Environmental/Occupational Health Sciences.

As an undergraduate, Derecka participated in the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program and performed research at the LSU Dairy Farm. Her strong interests in research followed her to vet school, where she had the opportunity to conduct a public health research project in Araçatuba, São Paulo, Brazil, with the Merial/NIH Veterinary Summer Scholars Program. Learning about public health pushed Derecka to find experiences that will aid her in understanding how veterinarians participate in drafting and implementing public policy that affects both animals and humans. She understands that to successfully impact and implement legislation, one must know how to effectively lead people to a common ground in order to move forward. At LSU SVM, Derecka served in leadership roles such as the LSU SAVMA Delegate and President of the Emergency Club. Through these positions, Derecka learned to work with faculty and students to accomplish school-wide projects such as the annual LSU SVM Open House and the first ever LSU SVM One Health CPR event.

Derecka hopes to use her time as an AVMA GRD extern to learn more about non-conventional veterinary career paths. She knows that veterinarians can do more than serve as doctors for animals. This profession has a history and tradition in protecting and improving both animal and human health. Derecka’s goal is to use both degrees to get back to the roots of veterinary medicine, while serving as an advocate for the profession.

Jacob Froehlich, Tufts University, Class of 2018

Jacob Michael Froehlich is a fourth year veterinary student at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University in Grafton, Massachusetts. Originally from North Dakota, Jacob spent much of his childhood and adolescence in the company of animals, from playing with newborn Holstein calves as a four- and five-year-old child to rising through the staff ranks at his local animal shelter. He completed his Bachelor of Science in Zoology summa cum laude at North Dakota State University in Fargo, North Dakota (yes, that Fargo), in 2009 before completing his Doctor of Philosophy degree in Biology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham in Birmingham, Alabama, in 2014. In graduate school, Jacob worked on the molecular mechanisms of skeletal muscle growth and regeneration, but every time he mentioned double-muscled cattle like the Piedmontese or Belgian Blue in his publications, he realized how much he missed working with animal patients, especially animals with hooves. He subsequently enrolled in the DVM program at the Cummings School in 2014. Jacob enjoys working with all species of animals and those who know him well will tell you that he is willing to treat all animals, “from spiders to Shires.” Jacob plans to be a mixed animal practitioner in the broadest sense, treating dogs, cats, cattle, horses, and even chinchillas, macaws, pythons, and ornamental fish. In his spare time, Jacob enjoys watching horse racing and dressage, attending dog and cat shows, and working with his extensive collection of snake species.

Kerri Haider, Lincoln Memorial University, Class of 2018

Haider bio photoKerri is in her fourth year of veterinary school at Lincoln Memorial University and is part of the college’s first graduating veterinary class. She grew up in Minneapolis Minnesota and graduated from the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science and a Master’s degree in Stem Cell Biology. Throughout her studies she traveled abroad to Central America and Haiti to aid in animal and human healthcare. Her passion for traveling and furthering the veterinary profession brought her to Commission with the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps through the Health Professionals Scholarship Program.  The agriculture and livestock industry has always been of interest to Kerri and she would like to tie her love for veterinary medicine with the improvement of livestock handling and health around the globe. Through her travels abroad she noticed a need for food animal education and technology and she would like to help bridge that gap as a practicing veterinarian during her career. She was also on the Minnesota Equestrian Team Hunt Seat Team at the University of Minnesota and would like to continue riding horses of all disciplines throughout her life. While not working Kerri enjoys taking her 100lb dog on runs through the city, kayak, getting her hands dirty at the farm and is willing to jump into any adventure she can. She is passionate about traveling and veterinary medicine and is excited for wherever life takes her. Kerri is excited and eager to work with the AVMA-GRD on the issues facing veterinary medicine and can’t wait to make an impact on the veterinary career through the AVMA-GRD externship!

Merrill Simpson, Colorado State University, Class of 2019

Merrill is a third year veterinary student at Colorado State University. Merrill is originally from New Jersey and received her undergraduate degree in Animal Science from Rutgers University. In her spare time, Merrill loves horseback riding and worked on the Rutgers University Mounted Patrol during her undergraduate degree. After college, Merrill worked for Merck Animal Health in their Drug Safety Department as a Pharmacovigilance Technician. In this role she reported adverse events related to the use of small animal pharmaceutical products to the FDA, USDA, and EPA. Merrill is the current SCAVMA President for Colorado State and was previously Marketing Chair for the VBMA. She is interested in promoting women’s leadership, diversity in veterinary medicine, and helping underserved communities through veterinary outreach.  A career in public policy is interesting because of the potential scope of impact it could have on veterinarians in the national and global communities. Merrill is also interested in small business ownership, promoting entrepreneurship, and international veterinary medicine.

Erin Holt, University of Tennessee, Class of 2019

Erin is entering her third year of veterinary school at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine and will complete her Master’s in Public Health Spring 2018. Her father was in the Navy and she has called many places home, such as Charleston, South Carolina, but has lived in Knoxville, Tennessee the longest. She has a BA in Psychology from the University of Tennessee. Previously, Erin worked as a traveling poker dealer for the World Series of Poker and as a manager at an automated communications routing service for physicians and hospitals before returning to her first love, veterinary medicine. She has an interest in small animal medicine, exotics, epidemiology, and public policy and is a member of VBMA, AWE, and One Health. Erin hopes to learn how the AVMA GRD is furthering the profession of veterinary medicine and how to help veterinarians in her home state become more involved in ongoing and future pieces of legislation to ensure their voices are heard. She is also excited to make new acquaintances in D.C. and see the city. After her AVMA externship, Erin will go to Nashville, Tennessee for an internship with the Centers of Excellence in Food Safety through the Central Office of the Tennessee Department of Health. When not working, Erin enjoys reading, flower gardening, spending time with her husband, French Bulldog, and three guinea pigs.

Patricia Crystal, University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2018

Patricia is a third year veterinary student at the University of Pennsylvania. Having grown up in Hong Kong and Singapore, and with an undergraduate degree in Mandarin, she is eager to take her veterinary degree abroad.  She would like to focus her career on infectious disease, epidemiology and policy. Prior to veterinary school, Patricia worked at Penn’s School of Medicine researching the origins of simian immunodeficiency virus, leading to her interest in epidemiology and infectious disease. She followed this passion to the USDA Center for Epidemiology and Animal Health, where she used modelling software to further understand disease response and outbreak scenarios. She continued with the USDA by shadowing field veterinarians to understand their role in foreign animal disease prevention. Patricia hopes the AVMA’s externship will allow her to further understand how research and modeling can influence public health and policy, all through an international lens. Upon graduation, Patricia hopes to return to Asia in a regulatory capacity.

Maggie Chu, Cornell University, Class of 2017

Margaret “Maggie” Chu is a fourth-year veterinary student at Cornell University tracking mixed animal medicine. She is originally an upstate New Yorker. Maggie attended Duke University, receiving a BS in biology. While in college, she also coxed for the men’s crew team and worked at the Duke Lemur Center. Maggie also participated in DukeEngage and completed an independent project in south India with local veterinarians. The experience prompted her interest in international development work and cemented her desire to attend veterinary school. Throughout vet school, she has partaken in immunology research as well as many veterinary-related jobs to expand her knowledge of the profession. Her work with the New York State Veterinary Medical Society and the state conference as well as attendance at the 7th Legislative Fly-In compelled her to learn more about organized veterinary medicine. It is her hope that her time as an AVMA GRD extern will allow her to better understand how the AVMA advocates for veterinarians as well as acquire the tools to be able to promote the veterinary profession. Next year she will complete a small animal rotating internship at Red Bank Veterinary Hospital and has plans to pursue additional education in immunology/infectious diseases, or radiology or small animal surgery following. She enjoys coxing, riding, and cuddling with her dog and cat. She also still likes lemurs and red pandas.

Brianna Parsons, University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2018

Brianna is in the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine Class of 2018.   She grew up in Pennsylvania and studied at Wesleyan University, where she received her B.A. in Biology and Neuroscience & Behavior in 2014.  During undergrad, she studied abroad in Tanzania, studying Wildlife Conservation and Political Ecology.  This experience shaped her desires to pursue food animal medicine, by illuminating the need for productive agriculture in families that rely on livestock for health and income.  Brianna continued her work with livestock abroad in vet school by working with the student run non-profit Pou Sante Amar Haiti to provide livestock vaccination clinics for farmers in Northern Haiti.  Additionally, she is engaged in starting Gambia Goat Dairy in collaboration with Sulayman Junkung General Hospital in The Gambia, West Africa.  This dairy aims to improve community nutrition and domestic dairy production in The Gambia, while promoting semi-intensive livestock systems with optimized nutrition and welfare practices.  Brianna anticipates working with dairy and small ruminants upon graduation, both domestically and abroad.  She believes her time in practice will help her gain an understanding of the role of a veterinarian advocate for farmers, and hopes to use this knowledge to advance initiatives in public health, agricultural policy, and poverty alleviation.  Participating in the AVMA GRD externship will help her further understand these unique aspects of veterinary medicine.

Kyle RuedingerUniversity of Wisconsin-Madison, Class of 2017

Kyle Ruedinger is a fourth year veterinary medical student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  He received his undergraduate degree from Ripon College and has an A.B. in chemistry and biology with a minor in leadership studies.  He is planning to practice medicine in rural Wisconsin after graduating in May but also has interests in public policy, shelter medicine, and organized veterinary medicine.  During veterinary school he participated in the AVMA Legislative Fly-In in DC and has been an active participate in his SCAVMA and state VMA meetings.  He has also been involved with a variety of other organizations including the VBMA, CVMF, and shelter medicine work.  Kyle hopes that his time with the AVMA GRD in Washington will enable him to contribute to the profession as we continue to advocate for improvements and monitor policy decisions.  It is important that veterinary medicine works together and have its voice at the table of decisions.  In his free time Kyle enjoys being active outdoors including exploring both state and national parks, biking, frisbee, vegetable gardening, and of course partaking in Wisconsin football and basketball. Go Bucky!

Lori Hammond, University of California, Davis, Class of 2017

LoriBioPicLori Hammond is a 4th year veterinary student from the University of California at Davis, interested in small animal community practice, with an emphasis in outreach, advocacy, and leadership. She grew up in San Diego, CA (Bolt up baby!) where her dad worked as a primate keeper at the San Diego Zoo, introducing her to the wonders of the animal kingdom at an early age. She acquired her first cat at the age of four and ever since she has only had one career path in mind- veterinary medicine.  To pursue this dream she received her B.S. in Animal Science at the University of California at Davis and was exposed to many aspects of the veterinary profession. Her passions are in increasing the human animal bond,  wildlife conservation, laboratory animal welfare, and advocacy for fellow students and animal welfare issues. Today she is finishing up her 4th year and is absolutely loving clinics and all the hands on opportunities it provides. For her time here in DC she is excited to advocate for policies that impact all aspects of veterinary medicine, learn about more non-conventional veterinary career paths, and try lots and lots of new food and local brews (suggestions welcome). She will miss her cat Baloo, but knows he is probably enjoying the break from mandatory snuggle time.


Amy Smith, University of Florida, Class of 2018

photo for bioHi! My name is Amy Smith and I’m a third year veterinary student at the University of Florida. My dad was a pilot in the Air Force so I’ve lived all over the U.S. but I consider Florida my home. I completed my Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science at the University of Florida and it was in that program that I developed a passion for animal agriculture and advocacy. Animal agriculture is an industry that has suffered greatly due to the effects of poor communication, public relations, and advocacy and seeing these effects inspired me to be involved in advocacy while in veterinary school. I served on the Legislative Advisory Committee for the AVMA as well as the Political Action Committee Board representing veterinary students. Through these volunteer positions I was able to lobby on Capitol Hill several times for veterinary issues. I applied for the AVMA’s Governmental Relations Division’s externship program to continue these efforts and to learn more about what I could do after graduation to stay involved in advocacy efforts for our profession.


Matt Holland, University of Illinois, Class of 2017

hollapaloozaMatt Holland graduated from Drake University with a B.A. in radio and television journalism in 2007, and was a freelance television producer for various media outlets in Chicago and New York City including Big Ten Network, Major League Baseball Network, and the Chicago Bears. He was drawn to spend his free time working with animals, and found that whereas television production felt like existing, working with animals felt like living. He decided this passion should not be a hobby, but a career.

Now in his fourth year of veterinary school, he serves as president of the Student American Veterinary Medical Association (SAVMA), while also earning a Master of Public Health (MPH) from University of Illinois at Chicago. He aspires to represent veterinarians and animals in the agriculture policymaking process.


Samantha Scholz, University of Illinois, Class of 2017

Scholz bio pic


Samantha Scholz is a 4th year veterinary student at the University of Illinois. Currently, she is interested in laboratory animal medicine, biomedical research, public outreach, and effective leadership in veterinary medicine. Although she misses her husband and her menagerie of pets in Central Illinois, she is excited for her time here at the AVMA-GRD to advocate for the profession and to experience Washington D.C.!







Kelly Arthur, Colorado State University, Class of 2018

bio photoKelly Arthur is a 3rd year veterinary student at Colorado State University. Originally from California, Kelly received her undergraduate degree in Animal Science from Colorado State University. Animal welfare is at the heart of her interest in veterinary medicine. She has participated for three years and placed at the International Animal Welfare Judging and Assessment Contest, looking holistically at animal welfare from a literature point of view. She also externed with the AVMA’s Animal Welfare Division last summer where she developed a webpage on laboratory animal welfare and published a book review in the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science.  Kelly sees this AVMA Externship as a great opportunity to better her understanding of legislation and advance her animal welfare interests. Post-graduation, she is considering becoming a diplomat in the American College of Animal Welfare or participating in a policy-related fellowship.


Jessica Squires bio photoJessica Squires, Purdue University, Class of 2018

Jessica Squires is a current third year veterinary student at Purdue University where she will focus on small animal medicine. Prior to beginning the DVM program, she completed her undergraduate and Master of Science degrees in Biology at Purdue. She also spent time working for MED Institute, a biomedical engineering company that creates medical devices for humans. In this position, she acted as a study operator and played a role in ensuring the safety of the products the company created. She is originally from Connersville, Indiana. Her areas of interest are broad and include small animal internal medicine, organized veterinary medicine, and public policy in regards to zoonotic and infectious disease, disease outbreak and emergency response, and public health. She looks to use her time as an AVMA GRD extern as a way to explore non-traditional career options as they relate to protecting both animal and human health alike.
As a veterinary student, Jessica is active in the Student American Veterinary Medical Association (SAVMA) as a senior delegate. This position granted her the opportunity of acting as co-chair of the 2016 AVMA Legislative Fly-In, an event held annually in D.C. to educate veterinary students on veterinary public policy and to spend time on Capitol Hill advocating for the veterinary profession. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, friends, and fur babies, running and working out, traveling and indulging in endless episodes of Grey’s Anatomy.


Jennifer Stiles, North Carolina State University, Class of 2017

Bio Photo

Jennifer Stiles is a fourth year veterinary student at North Carolina State University with a focus area in epidemiology, public health, and public policy. She is also concurrently pursuing her MPH degree at the University of Minnesota. Her areas of interest include infectious diseases, zoonotic diseases, epidemiology, and working with a variety of animal species while utilizing a One Health approach. She has served as an avian influenza emergency responder during the recent highly pathogenic avian influenza outbreak. She is currently an extern with the AVMA Governmental Relations Division. As a Saul T. Wilson Jr. Scholar, she plans to begin her veterinary career working with the United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Veterinary Services as a Veterinary Medical Officer or Epidemiologist.


Stephanie Willney, University of Illinois, Class of 2017

Bio Photo

Stephanie Willney is a fourth year veterinary student completing a dual-degree DVM/MPH program with the University of Illinois. She is a native of Palatine, IL and graduated from Carroll University in Waukesha, WI. As a veterinary student, Stephanie is actively involved in the Veterinary Business Management Association (VBMA) and past VBMA chapter president. Stephanie has also traveled to Haiti twice and, most recently, India where she assisted with spay/neuter clinics and rabies eradication programs. She has a wide variety of interests including policy, epidemiology of infectious disease, veterinary business and companion animal medicine. Stephanie has spent time working in small animal private practices in the suburbs of Chicago, researching alternatives to decrease stress-related behaviors in shelter animals, and working part time in the University of Illinois veterinary library. In her free time she enjoys traveling, being outdoors, reading and spending time with her family including her spirited Dachshund, Hope, and loving black cat, Boo. She will be with the AVMA GRD May 2-May 27, 2016 .


Katie Bishop, University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2017

Katie is a third year veterinary student at the University of Pennsylvania.  She graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in political science, psychology and certificate in gender studies where she spent a summer in DC interning for a non-profit and advocacy group. Upon graduation, she interned on the Hill where she experienced the daily inner workings of the legislative process.  Before heading to veterinary school, she also worked at Epic (a healthcare software company) and as a consultant for hospitals installing the software. At Penn, she was President of the Penn chapter of the Veterinary Business Management Association (VBMA) and Treasurer on the 2015 National VBMA Executive Board. Katie plans to start out as a small animal general practitioner and go on to explore the vast non-clinical applications and opportunities within veterinary medicine. She is also interested in finding novel ways to leverage technology within clinical practice and hospital management to improve patient care. In her free time, Katie enjoys tennis, skiing, hiking, traveling and generally enjoying the great outdoors with her dog.


Meghana Pendurthi, University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2017

Meghana Pendurthi is a 3rd year veterinary student at the University of Pennsylvania. Her interests have always been a little less than traditional – currently, she is planning to pursue a career in the aquaculture industry with plans to move into regulatory medicine in the future. Getting the opportunity to participate in the AVMA GRD Externship is an exciting way for her to explore the various roles that veterinarians play within the government.
In her free time, Meghana enjoys cooking and eating food (DC restaurant recommendations are 100% welcome), snuggling with her cat while watching Parks & Recreation, and traveling anywhere with a view. She is also working on building a small commercial scale aquaponics system at a Philadelphia high school, and is the current Secretary of the Student AVMA.



Sarah Genzer, Texas A&M University, Class of 2016

Sarah is a senior student at Texas A&M University interested in laboratory and food animal medicine. She is pursuing an “alternative” track with a focus on regulatory veterinary medicine and public health, including infectious and transboundary diseases and public policy. She is a third-generation Fightin’ Texas Aggie and received her B.S. in Animal Science in 2012. As an undergrad, she interned at the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo for three years, worked under multiple research projects, and attended an intercollegiate dairy program for two summers in New Mexico.

Sarah served as SCAVMA President at Texas A&M, among many other club officer positions. She attended the 2014 Legislative Fly-In and advocated for the PAST Act and VMLRPE Act, among others. She is involved in the Texas VMA and routinely sits as a student member on the Bovine and Government Relations committees. She was the first student representative to serve on the Texas Veterinary Medical Foundation Board of Trustees and a founding member of the Women’s Veterinary Leadership Development Initiative (WVLDI) chapter at her school (one of three original chapters).

With Texas in her veins, Sarah only accepts chili without beans, knows barbecue really means brisket (NOT pork), recognizes mosquitoes as the Texas State Bird, and considers temperatures below 70° jacket weather. Her limited free time includes snuggling her two cats (siblings Bowser and Toad), kayaking, hiking in state parks, and watching football.


Maria Romano,  Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, Class of 2016 

Maria is a senior veterinary student at the Virginia Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine (VMCVM) focusing in veterinary public practice. Prior to beginning the DVM program, she completed her Master’s in Public Health in epidemiology/biostatistics from Drexel University’s Dornsife School of Public Health. Maria is a  Saul Wilson Jr. Scholar through USDA, APHIS, Veterinary Services (VS) in 2013. The internship has provided mentorship throughout her veterinary school career by allowing her opportunity to work with senior staff members in USDA (and other governmental agencies) on policy and legislative issues related to disease management, antimicrobial resistance, and global health security.

Maria is an active member of the veterinary student profession. At the local level, she was a founding member of Virginia Tech’s One Health Club and Student Chapter of the Women’s Veterinary Leadership Development Initiative. Nationally, she served as the first female student representative to the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges’ Board of Directors during her term as a student delegate to the Student AVMA (SAVMA). Currently, she is serving as the Global and Public Health Officer as a member of SAVMA’s National Executive Board tasked with implementing SAVMA’s One Health Project.


Radhika GharpureUniversity of California- Davis, Class of 2016

Radhika is a 4th year veterinary student at the University of California, Davis. Growing up, she moved around the US several times: from Maryland to Georgia, Indiana, Texas, and finally New Jersey, which she now considers her home state. She spent her undergraduate years in Philadelphia and received her BA from the University of Pennsylvania, majoring in Biology and minoring in Music and Psychology.

R.GharpureAfter graduating from Penn, she received a 2-year post-baccalaureate Cancer Research Training Award (CRTA) from the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda. However, once in veterinary school, her interests shifted from clinical research to population health and epidemiology. She spent the summer after her 1st year of veterinary school with the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, focusing on influenza at the human-animal interface. This was the launching point for her interest in global health policy, as she began to learn about how veterinarians can contribute to science-based policy decisions using a One Health approach. While in veterinary school, she has also spent time with USDA-APHIS, the California Department of Public Health, and most recently, the CDC. She hopes to find a future career that combines her interests in global health, epidemiology, policy, and conservation.


Heather Roney, Mighigan State University, Class of 2016

roney_pictureHeather is a life-long Michigan resident; she completed her bachelor’s degree in Animal Science at Michigan State University and is currently in her fourth year at the MSU College of Veterinary Medicine. Her interests include large animal medicine – specifically dairy and equine – as well as agricultural policy, food security, and health literacy. As a first-year veterinary student, Heather attended the AVMA Legislative Fly-In and was intrigued by the merging of her two great passions in life: science and politics. She built on that experience the following summer as a Legislative Fellow with the Senate Committee for Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry. Heather also had the opportunity to represent MSU in the 2014 Smith-Kilborne program, studying foreign animal disease on Plum Island. After graduation, Heather hopes to work in private practice as a dairy veterinarian, eventually transitioning to public practice to advocate for her patients, farmers, and veterinarians. She is excited to spend time in Washington, D.C. as an AVMA GRD Extern exploring opportunities for veterinarians outside of the clinic. Heather lives in Lansing with her husband, James, and their cat, Haymitch. Together they enjoy Mediterranean cooking, camping, fishing, and Spartan football. Go Green!

Scarlett Lee, Cornell University, Class of 2017

Scarlett is a third year veterinary student at Cornell University. She is originally from Texas, but also lived in New York City growing up. She received her BS in ecology and evolutionary biology from Yale University.  Prior to veterinary school, she interned at an aquarium, worked with a wildlife veterinarian in South Africa, completed conservation genetics and microbiology research Scarlett Lee, and worked in the department of vertebrate zoology at the Peabody Museum. Her interest in policy and government originates from her participation in high school  debate, which also spurred her interest in the interaction between human, animal, and environmental health. She took a year off prior to veterinary school to complete a post baccalaureate research training award at the National Institutes of Health, where she became especially fascinated with the roles the government plays in scientific funding.  She also volunteered as a small animal keeper aide at the Smithsonian National Zoo. Although she was unsure how to combine these interests prior to veterinary school, she jumped on the opportunity to become active in SCAVMA, becoming the director of public relations for her local chapter. She attended the AVMA Legislative Fly-in in 2014, and was hooked on the idea of working more in governmental relations.  At veterinary school, she is very active in the Veterinary Public Health Association, helping in planning two years of the Zoonotic Disease Symposium, and recently chaired a planning committee for the Special Species Symposium. She traveled to Belize for a course through Cornell at the Belize Zoo, assisting in jaguar dental work and monkey physical exams. She hopes to work in veterinary public health, conservation, and policy in the future, and will be completing an internship at the FAO in Rome immediately after her AVMA-GRD externship. In her free time, she enjoys running, cooking, trying new foods and beers, exploring cities, and attending concerts.


Lucy Lee, Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, Class of 2016 

Lucy LeeLucy Lee is currently a 4th year veterinary student at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine located on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, VA. She has decided to focus on many of the non-traditional areas of veterinary medicine, such as regulatory medicine and exotics, and even pursued a Master in Public Health, which she completed in 2014.  As an Asian-American, she became concerned with the lack of diversity within the veterinary student body and decided to assume a leadership position in her campus diversity club, V.O.I.C.E. (Veterinary Students as One In Culture and Ethnicity).

Born and educated in California, she received a bachelor’s degree in Geography and Environmental Studies with a minor in French at UCLA.  It was only after her undergraduate career (and a trip to Brazil) that she decided to become a veterinarian and returned to school where she completed her science pre-requisites.  In the meantime, she engaged in fascinating research at Chapman University in Orange County, CA in which some of her job descriptions included ‘wrassling sea slugs’ and simulating resistance training in rats for osteoporosis research.  Her hard work paid off when she became a co-author for several journal articles published in both the journal of Neuroscience and the American Journal of Sports Medicine.

As a Californian, she loves the sun and the beach, surfing, paddle boarding, yoga, cycling, dancing, travelling, baking cupcakes, and trying new things (especially food).  She has been travelling almost every year since she was 17 years old to places such as Japan, Lebanon, and India, to name a few.  Unfortunately, her one and only dog passed away last year and she has yet to find a new canine companion.  However, she does have a rabbit named ‘Hazel’ who she rescued from a breeder that threatened to eat unwanted bunnies and a cat named ‘Fosse’ who was given to her from a friend that moved to Australia.

Upon graduation, she is hoping to work either in a mixed animal practice or shelter medicine to cement her clinical skills prior to pursuing policy or regulatory work in the government sector


Ali Terrell, University of Georgia, Class of 2016


Ali Terrell is a fourth year veterinary student at the University of Georgia. She is a native of Cartersville, GA, a graduate of the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, and a lifelong member of the Bulldog Nation.  As an undergraduate at UGA she was a member of the Livestock Judging Team, President of the Ag Hill Council and Block and Bridle Club, and a CAES Student Ambassador. She also served as a 2011 UGA Congressional Agricultural Fellow in the office of Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (GA-2). Ali is actively involved with the Student Chapter of the American Veterinary Medical Association having served as Vice President for two terms. She has a wide variety of interests including  policy, mixed animal practice, veterinary business, and theriogenology . She also has a special interest in industry as it pertains to veterinary pharmaceuticals and professional services. She is  a member of the Veterinary Business Management Association, Georgia Veterinary Medical Association, and Omega Tau Sigma.  Ali  has spent time working in private practices in north Georgia, researching bovine respiratory disease, serving as the Novartis/Elanco Student Representative, and babysitting part-time during veterinary school.  In her free time she enjoys spending time with her family which includes a Golden Retriever, Birdi, and a “Brown Dog”, Milli. She will be with the AVMA GRD April 27- May 22.

Elizabeth Francis, University of Missouri, Class of 2016 

FrancisBio picElizabeth is a 3rd year vet student at the University of Missouri. She is originally from Akron Ohio, and has a BS in biology from Ohio University. She has many interests including shelter medicine, emergency medicine, small animal exotic care, and public policy. She is passionate about the role of organized veterinary medicine, and is excited to be a part of advocating for our amazing profession on the hill. In her spare time Elizabeth likes to try different craft beers and hang out with her two dogs Wilbur and Anna.





Anita Richert, Purdue University, Class of 2015

16102631194_ef516669baAnita is a 4th year student at Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine. She is originally from Tucson, Arizona and received a BS in Veterinary Sciences with a minor in Law at University of Arizona. She loves all the different possibilities of a future in veterinary medicine and after a summer in the Merial Research program at Purdue finally decided to pursue a career in laboratory animal and comparative medicine. After graduation in May, she will be continuing to a Laboratory Animal Medicine residency at Texas A&M. While her main passion in medicine, she also is very interested in the political process and law. During her time in Washington, D.C. she hopes to meet as many veterinarians in the area as possible to educate herself about all the facets of veterinary medicine to help educate others as well as explore her future options.




Mike White, Kansas State University, Class of 2015

MikeWhiteMichael J. White, BA, earned degrees in Economics and Spanish Literature and Culture with High Distinction from the University of Virginia. Currently, he is a fourth-year DVM candidate at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University. His interests include cardiopulmonary physiology, orthopedic surgery, and veterinary ethics. A recipient of the Veterinary Health Professions Scholarship Program, he will join the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps upon graduation.





spencermillsSpencer Mills, Mississippi State University, Class of 2016

Spencer is a 3rd-year veterinary student at the Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine. He was born in Jackson, MS where he attended Jackson Academy High School. He received his BS degree from the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College at the University of Mississippi. Spencer served as a member of the SCAVMA Executive Board, where he was the Treasurer and the SCAVMA Representative for the Mississippi Veterinary Medical Association. He was elected as a representative for Mississippi State University for the AVMA Legislative Fly-In in for both 2013 and 2014.  Spencer served as a Policy Assistant for the Office of the Mississippi Speaker of the House prior to serving as an extern with the AVMA Governmental Relations Division. He has helped work on new legislation pertinent to the veterinary profession and lobbied on the state level in Mississippi. He hopes to pursue a career combining his aspirations in medicine and his passion for advocacy through practicing mixed-animal veterinary medicine, working in governmental relations for the animal health industry, and serving in organized veterinary medicine.  In his spare time he can be found cooking, riding motorcycles, or restoring classic cars.

Photo of mcdonnel,samanthaSamantha McDonnel, University of California- Davis Class of 2015

Samantha is a 4th year student at the University of California Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.  She is originally from outside of Boulder, Colorado and attended  undergrad at Colorado State. Samantha is  part of the dual DVM/PhD program at UC Davis, and has completed her PhD in comparative pathology.  Her dissertation is on FIV, and she considers herself virologist (NOT a pathologist).  Samnatah is interested in academia and biomedical research, but is open to many different carreer paths after graduation in May 2015.  She is excited to be here in Washington DC, and committed to continuing legislative advocacy for veterinary medicine.




Tayler Foshe, Oklahoma State University Class of 2015

Photo Jun 04, 2 46 40 PMTayler is a fourth-year veterinary student at Oklahoma State University. Her interests in veterinary medicine are diverse. She spent a summer researching the effects of microRNA on the replication of the Influenza virus. During this summer, Tayler developed a passion for zoonotic diseases and global health. Her affinity for policy came much earlier. When she was five, Tayler dreamed of growing up to be the first woman President and her love of policy never went away. After attending the SAVMA Legislative Fly-In, she directed her interests towards the goal of being a Congressional Fellow.

She is a native “Okie” and received a bachelor’s degree in Animal Science from Oklahoma State University. Tayler enjoys contributing to her local community and school. She is involved in many student organizations, including the Student Chapter of the AVMA, and chairs for Josh and Friends, an organizations that helps children cope with being in the hospital. She is also passionate about improving student diversity and founded the Oklahoma State University Chapter of VOICE.  One of her greatest honors was receiving the Jack D. Walther Leadership Award from the Western Veterinary Conference. This award is given to veterinary student leaders and promotes lifelong professional service to the industry. In her free time, Tayler enjoys spending quality time with her husband, Zach, their two dogs, Lucky and Thor, and two cats, Tom and Leia. She also enjoys attending outdoor concerts and reading.

Kristen Hamsley, University of Georgia, Class of 2015

HamsleyKristen is a fourth-year student pursuing a DVM degree from the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine, with a specific focus in small animal medicine.  Born and raised in Perry, Georgia, Kristen received her Bachelor of Science in Agriculture degree from the University of Georgia College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences in 2012, double majoring in Avian Biology and Biological Sciences.  Before veterinary school, Kristen excelled in classical music, playing the flute and piccolo in small chamber ensembles and marched in the Redcoat Marching Band at the University of Georgia for 3 years.   She is an alumina of Sigma Alpha Iota, an international music fraternity for women.  While in veterinary school, Kristen had the opportunity to participate in the Georgia Veterinary Scholars Program, a program which serves as an introduction to the field of academic biomedical research and is funded jointly by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Merial.  During the summer of 2013, Kristen served as the instructor for Duke University’s Talent Incentive Program (Duke TIP) course “Introduction to Veterinary Medicine” for 8 weeks where she taught high achieving 9th-11th grade students all aspects of veterinary medicine, from hosting a surgery suture lab to a field trip to a local dairy showing how milk is produced.  Alongside her active interests in the advancement of scientific research and the enhancement of veterinary student education, Kristen also has an investment in promoting optimal patient care and effective client communication in clinical practice.  In an effort to keep her life balanced, Kristen makes time for her many crochet projects, hiking in Georgia’s great outdoors, baking artesian bread, and keeping music a central part of her life through flute practice and attendance at a variety of both classical music performances and contemporary artist’s concerts.   ​

Kevin Przybylski  Ohio State University, Class of 2016

2014-04-30 13.44.49Kevin is a third year veterinary student at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine. He is originally from Cincinnati but has spent the past five years in Columbus at Ohio State. In undergrad he studied Animal Sciences in the College of Food, Agriculture, and Environmental Sciences. His primary interests in veterinary medicine are companion animal emergency and organized veterinary medicine. Back home in Columbus he works part time at an emergency clinic as a veterinary assistant throughout the year. He also stays active in the Ohio VMA primarily working with the Governmental Relations director when time permits, which was the driving force in pursuing an externship at the AVMA GRD. He currently lives with two other vet students and a mini American Eskimo dog, Juneau. Outside of school his hobbies include playing music and going to concerts, trying new restaurants, and drinking Scotch.

Emerson Tuttle, Tufts University, Class of 2015

131002_12392_tuttle024.JPGEmerson is a current 3rd-year veterinary student at Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine and has also recently completed his requirements for a combined Master’s degree in international policy. At Tufts, he is also completing a post-graduate certificate program International Veterinary Medicine. He has spent most of his life in New England, having been born and raised in New Hampshire and having received his BA in Biology from Middlebury College in Vermont. During veterinary school, he has spent time as a technician in the Tufts Wildlife Clinic, traveled to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and Rome, Italy to research foot-and-mouth disease, and hopes to continue traveling throughout his clinical year prior to graduation.  His interests are in international veterinary medicine, disease mitigation strategies and pandemic preparedness, as well as how culture, economics, and politics influence the spread of pathogens. When not in the classroom, clinic, or office, Emerson can be found on the baseball diamond, on the basketball court, playing his guitar and struggling to learn how to play the harmonica, hunched over his sketchbook, or exploring the backcountry wherever he may be

Tabitha PhotoTabitha Basine, University of Pennsylvania class of 2015

Tabitha is a 3rd-year veterinary student at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine and is delighted to take part in the AVMA GRD externship.  Tabitha was born and raised on Cape Cod in Massachusetts, and received her BS degree from the University of Connecticut in Pathobiology and Animal Science.  Following her undergraduate studies, she traveled to Haiti to volunteer helping build schools, and helping educate communities on Cholera prevention as well as natural disaster preparedness.  During veterinary school, she traveled to Thailand with the International Veterinary Students’ Association (IVSA) on a spay and neuter trip, and she also traveled to Botswana via the Botswana-UPenn Partnership to work alongside a mixed animal veterinarian.  Having spent the past three summers abroad, she has a strong interest in international veterinary medicine, international development, and public health.  In her free time, Tabitha enjoys volunteering, running, sports, outdoor activities, playing piano, and spending time with her cat, Naomi.


Taylor Winkleman, University of Georgia, 2015

Taylor is a fourth-year veterinary student in the DVM/MPH dual-degree program at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine (Go Dawgs!). She has the distinction of being the dual degree program’s first student to choose the Policy track. Her first three years at UGA were spent working in and managing the Wildlife Treatment Crew, a part of the exotics ward in the Veterinary Teaching Hospital that gives students hands-on experience with injured wildlife brought in by the public. She also worked with Anna Jeffers (DVM/MPH ’14), Margie Lee, DVM, PhD and John Maurer, PhD on a project researching Salmonella prevalence in backyard chickens during the summer of 2013, and spent the summer of 2012 in Bahrain, working with the Bahrain Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BSPCA).

Prior to vet school, Taylor worked as a research intern at the MD Anderson Cancer Center as part of their Cancer Prevention Research Training Program in the Powel Brown lab, working on a human kinome screen. Taylor completed her B.S. in Biology and B.A. in English at Augusta State University (now called Georgia Regents University), and also completed her honors thesis in organic chemistry in 2011. During her undergraduate studies, Taylor participated in six study abroads, including trips to Costa Rica, England, and Australia and New Zealand. Prior to her undergraduate studies, Taylor served for six years in the Army as an Arabic linguist, deploying to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom II.

Taylor’s interests in veterinary medicine are wide and include emergency medicine, international medicine, public health policy, national defense, wildlife and zoo medicine, and infrastructure and nation building.

When she’s not at school or studying, Taylor can be found traveling, running, writing and photographing for the alumni magazine, or spending time with her three dogs and two cats, who patiently put up with her crazy schedule and endless studying.


Catherine Brinkley, University of Pennsylvania, 2015

Catherine Brinkley is a newly minted PhD from the University of Pennsylvania, where she is concurrently finishing her last year of veterinary medicine. Catherine’s PhD focuses on regional food supply planning and land-use policies for animal agriculture, yielding 6 peer-reviewed journal articles in the past two years. She has a background in the design of animal enclosures through a Watson Fellowship (2004) where she consulted on zoo exhibit design in South Africa, Madagascar, China, the Ukraine and Sweden. With the support of a Fulbright Fellowship (2005), Catherine obtained a Masters of Science in Virology from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden where she studied the spatial and ecological factors in zoonotic disease spread. In veterinary school, Catherine combines her spatial analytic knowledge of disease-spread, design and food supply as president of the Public Health Club and founder of the cross-school One Health Club for veterinary, medical, nursing and dental school students. She plans to continue her multi-disciplinary research, teaching, and advocacy to further ecologically sustainable and economically just food systems.


Seiche Genger University of Tennessee, Class of 2014

Seiche Genger is a 4th year veterinary student at the University of Tennessee. She received her BA in Animal Sciences from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.  While completing her Bachelor’s degree she worked extensively with the Earth and Soil Sciences department where she participated in research in soil erosion and conservation as well as taught classes in soil sciences. In veterinary school, Seiche serves as class as Co-President, University of Tennessee Graduate Student Senate representative for the College of Veterinary Medicine, and former VBMA vice president.   She has also completed research in pharmacokinetics at the veterinary college.  Seiche hopes to pursue an international career in veterinary medicine that allows her to combine her love of agriculture, medicine, and administrative policy.  Originally from Northern California, Seiche loves to spend time with her border collie and horse and get outdoors as often as possible. When not at school she enjoys backpacking, kayaking, playing guitar and finding great local beer.


NicolaNicola Painter University if Pennsylvania, Class of 2014

Nicola Painter is a 4th year veterinary student at the University of Pennsylvania. She received her BA in International Relations from Brown University with a concentration in Global Security. Nicola comes to us with a professional background from the financial and legal sectors. Following graduation, she joined the Foreign Exchange trading desk of SEB, a London-based financial firm. Her interest in the legal field then led Nicola to work in Mergers & Acquisitions and Corporate Litigation at Shearman & Sterling, LLC, based in New York City. Nicola ultimately went on to pursue a veterinary degree at UPENN, though she remains interested in pursuing a law degree following her veterinary studies. Nicola is a member of student government, serving as the Academic Liaison for her class, and has a strong commitment to volunteerism and advocacy work. She participated in the AVMA’s Legislative Fly-In and then went on to assist in Penn Vet’s lobbying efforts on the state level. Nicola hopes to pursue a career in veterinary medicine that combines aspects of her previous professional experiences with her current aspirations in medicine and her passion for advocacy and community service. In her spare time, she can be found taking care of her menagerie of animals, which includes several rescued cats and two dogs adopted from Philadelphia’s local animal shelter.

Tomasina Lucia Washington State University, Class of 2014

Tomasina is currently a 4th year veterinary student at Washington State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. Born and raised in Wallingford, Connecticut, Tomasina received her BaTomasinachelor of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University.

After graduation she spent several years working in grassroots field campaigns on issues surrounding environmental conservation and health and wage equality. However, her love of science and international work eventually brought her to Washington State to pursue a degree in veterinary medicine. Tomasina hopes to use her combined degrees and work experience to contribute to the global animal health field, specifically within the realms of food security and emerging zoonotic diseases. During her time as an AVMA GRD extern she looks forward to gaining more exposure to the work of “non-traditional” veterinarians, including those within the GRD office and those working within agencies and organizations in the wider DC area. Outside of veterinary and political work, Tomasina enjoys the great Pacific Northwest outdoor pursuits of hiking, backpacking, and kayaking, as well as the more indoor pursuits of reading, cooking, and spending time with her partner, Josh.

AllieJoeAllie Joe Purdue University, Class of 2014

Allie is currently a fourth year veterinary student at Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine. She is originally from Minnetonka, Minnesota and received her Bachelor’s of Science degree in Biology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Within veterinary medicine, Allie is interested in small animal medicine, international medicine and legislation. The field of veterinary medicine has provided Allie with many unique opportunities including the chance to work at veterinary clinics in India, Brazil and Morocco. While in Washington D.C., she looks forward to learning more about the diverse career opportunities available in veterinary medicine and seeing what this great city has to offer.  Following graduation, she hopes to work in small animal private practice in Chicago. Outside of veterinary medicine, Allie loves to travel, watch her favorite sports teams play, cook delicious meals and spend time with her two cats, Balls and Sir Bonkers.


MckenzieMcKenzie Steger Iowa State University Class of 2015

McKenzie Steger will be moving to Ames, Iowa this fall to begin her third year in the University of Nebraska-Iowa State 2 + 2 Veterinary Medicine Program. She grew up on a farming and ranching operation outside of Chappell, Nebraska and is passionate about agriculture. She attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for six years obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science and completing her first two years of veterinary school. There, McKenzie was involved in the Nebraska FFA Association, the Navigators campus ministry, undergraduate research, the University Honors Program, agricultural tours to China and Australia, and an internship for U.S. Senator Mike Johanns. She is earning a Masters in Public Health degree from the University of Iowa and hopes to become board certified in Veterinary Preventative Medicine. McKenzie recently received a Health Professions Scholarship from the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps and is excited to serve as an active duty Army veterinarian following graduation. Eventually she hopes to return to rural Nebraska as a mixed animal practitioner, cattle producer, public servant, and veterinary missionary. She enjoys working on the farm, running, skiing, baking, hunting, playing cards with her family, and Nebraska football and volleyball.



picture Kayla Stomack Michigan  State University, Class of 2015

Kayla is currently a third year veterinary student at Michigan State College of Veterinary Medicine and is working on a dual Master’s degree in Public Health.  She is interested in food animal medicine, preventative and international medicine.  Kayla traveled to Thailand to volunteer at Elephant Nature Park (2012) and India to do Brucellosis and TB surveillance in 2011.  She is currently assisting Dr. Ron Erskine on a joint project to reduce antibiotic use, improving mastitis control, and increase the economic viability of dairy farms. Kayla completed her bachelor’s degree at Michigan State University in Animal Science Production- Medicine focus.  During this time she worked as an assistant on research projects in dairy cattle reproduction with Dr. Richard Pursley and at the MSU Swine Teaching and Research Center.  She is from Minden City, Michigan and her grandparents owned and operated a hay farm called Greenview Farms Inc. where Kayla started working at 12 years old.  She then joined FFA in high school where she raised feeder pigs and showed them and my rabbits at the fair. Kayla loves learning about new topics and volunteering at the local zoo in Lansing. Kayla loves her sugar gliders Meeko, Blaze and Gabby and her guinea pig Bridgette, .  If that is not enough my Chow Chow Bear helps to fill in the gaps.

Kalie Pettit University of Minnesota, Class of 2014

Kalie Pettit is a fourth year veterinary student at the University of Minnesota.  She grew up on a dairy farm in southeastern Minnesota, and received her Bachelor of Arts in Biology from Carleton College.  Her interests in veterinary medicine include large animal medicine, public health, and legislation (particularly that concerning importation, exportation, and the regulation of agriculture).  Despite growing up with cattle and only ever seeing pigs at the county fair, she took an externship in the summer of the 2nd year of vet school doing research in a swine production system, and she promptly fell in love with pigs and swine medicine in general.  One of her bucket-list goals is to set foot on all 7 continents.  Her philosophy in life is “it is better to have tried and failed, than to regret having never tried at all.”

Spencer White University of Illinois, Class of 2014


Spencer White is currently a fourth year at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine.  He is originally form Taylorville, Illinois and did my undergraduate degree at the University of Illinois in animal sciences.  Professionally Spencer is  interested in large animal medicine and law and public policy.  He is either looking to go into practice for a large animal clinic, or apply for an internship for large animal medicine.  He is the Class Representative for the 2014 class at the University of Illinois and President of the Omega Tau Sigma Professional Fraternity at U of I, as well as, the C.A.R.E. Pet Loss Helpline coordinator at U of I.  Spencer loves to travel and spend time with friends back at U of I.  My dog Freckles and my Cat Dublin keep me quite busy at home!


Bio photoStacey Bunting University of Illinois, Class of 2014

Stacey Bunting is a fourth year veterinary student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  Stacey bleeds orange and blue as the University of Illinois is her alma mater for both her undergraduate and DVM degree.  She grew up on a large grain farm in Olney, a small town in southeastern Illinois.  Her professional interests are in food animal medicine, particularly in swine, as well as in animal welfare.  Stacey hopes to become one of the first veterinarians to become board certified by the newly founded American College of Animal Welfare. Stacey is the president and founder of the University of Illinois CVM Animal Welfare Club.  Before founding the club, she created and coached the first Animal Welfare Judging team from the University of Illinois, who has competed for the past two years at the AVMA sponsored contest.  Stacey is also very active in the Production Medicine Club and American Association of Swine Veterinarians.  In her spare time, she enjoys traveling and experiencing new things.  She loves spending time with her husband and adopted furry children—a one-eyed pug named Daisy, an English bulldog named Ruby, a Schnauzer mix named Boo, and a Turkish Van named Melody.


TEN bio photo 2Beth Noe   University of Illinois, Class of 2014

Beth Noe is an incoming fourth year veterinary student at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Originally from Gurnee, IL, she attended Lake Forest College for undergraduate studies, obtaining a B.A. in both Biology and French. Her professional interests are laboratory animal medicine, biomedical industry, and animal welfare, all sparked by participation  in a co-op summer program at Abbott Laboratories prior to entering vet school. She hopes to pursue a laboratory animal medicine residency after graduation. She participated in the Merial-NIH National Veterinary Scholars summer program in 2011, studying the effects of dopaminergic drugs on rats in a delay discounting task. She is also the current President of the Illinois Student Chapter of the American Society of Laboratory Animal Practitioners, and a co-founder of the newly-created Illinois CVM Animal Welfare Club. She has competed twice in the Intercollegiate Animal Welfare Judging and Assessment Contest. Outside of vet school, she loves to travel and also to spend time with her pets, an Australian shepherd/poodle mix named Kipper and a Persian rescue named Molly.

KerncherryblossomZachary Kern   University if Pennsylvania, Class of 2014
Zachary Kern is soon to enter his fourth year at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine and is very excited and honored to take part in the AVMA GRD externship. Zach was born and raised outside Chicago and received his BA from UPenn in the Biological Basis of Behavior.  Following his undergraduate studies, he was hired by the JET Programme and spent two years teaching English in a rural fishing town along the southern coast of Hokkaido, Japan.  While there, in addition to learning about grassroots internationalization (one of JET’s primary goals), he joined a Taiko drumming ensemble and studied Japanese language and cooking. While Zach’s primary clinical interests are in small animal medicine and cardiology, outside the exam room he hopes to work with other vets to increase public awareness of veterinary issues (like food security, animal welfare and public health) through educational outreach to local schools and informal discussions with clients. Zach enjoys running, cooking, reading, visiting museums and spending time with his dog, Ethyl (or, for the science-y folks, “CH3CH2–“).

Kristin Pufpaff    Ohio State University, Class of 2013
Kristin Pufpaff is a fourth year veterinary student at Ohio State University and will graduate next May. Kristin is interested in academics or policy in the areas of animal welfare, meat production, Kosher and Halal food, and developing agriculture systems. She is one of two September/October 2012 GRD externs and she is looking forward to a great month in Washington, D.C.




Dana Koch   University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2013
Dana is a fourth year veterinary student at the University of Pennsylvania.  She received her bachelor’s degree in biology from LaSalle University and a master’s degree in Laboratory Animal Medicine from Drexel University, both in Philadelphia.  She was very active at the undergraduate level playing Division I tennis, serving as coordinator for various volunteer organizations and working at a local veterinary practice.  Prior to attending veterinary school Dana worked at Temple University’s Laboratory Animal Facility and became involved in various research projects involving an array of animals including sheep, pigs, dogs and cats.  In veterinary school, Dana has been involved with the Laboratory Animal Medicine Club, the Emergency Medicine Club, the VetPets club, the VBMA and is a member of SAVMA.  Outside of school she enjoys teaching tennis, long distance running and volunteering with her therapy dog, Winston, at various schools, libraries and hospitals.  She is excited to gain more insight into the diverse career opportunities available in veterinary medicine through the AVMA extern program this Fall.

Rachel Dory  Auburn University, Class of 2014
Rachel Dory is a third-year veterinary student at Auburn University. She grew up in Gilbert, Arizona and found her way to veterinary medicine after extensive volunteer work with a local non-profit animal shelter. Having always been interested in science, Rachel graduated from Purdue University in 2010 with a Bachelors of Science degree in Biology and chose Auburn University to complete her veterinary degree. At Auburn, Rachel is the Vice President of her class, and the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Auburn Veterinary Education Supply Service, as well as an active member of several veterinary clubs. As the Chairman of the Board of A.V.E.S.S. Rachel is responsible for overseeing the donation of tens of thousands of dollars back to the college for the improvement of the student’s veterinary education.

Currently, Rachel’s practice interest lies primarily in small animal medicine. However, she is also very interested in government legislation particularly as it pertains to the practice of veterinary medicine and the advocacy work that individuals can do to influence their government both nationally and locally. While in D.C. Rachel hopes to learn as much as possible about the various roles that veterinarians play in government, as well as taking advantage of all the experiences the city has to offer.

Elise Ackley  Louisiana State University, Class of 2014
Elise Ackley is an incoming third-year veterinary student at Louisiana State University where she is pursuing a focus in regulatory and public practice. She attended LSU for undergrad where she was accepted to veterinary school after 3 years. Elise’s primary interests are public policy in veterinary medicine (she’s obsessed with politics!), food animal security, global public health, and grassroots advocacy. During veterinary school, she served as a SAVMA Delegate and is currently  SAVMA President-Elect. Elise founded and served as President for LSU’s Public Health and International Interests Club, is actively involved in LSU’s VBMA chapter as well as serving as the student representative for “Pearls & Paws”-a fundraising organization for the veterinary school. She has attended AVMA’s Student Legislative Fly-In for two years in a row where it has strengthened her desire to one day work on Capitol Hill. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her wonderful boyfriend and their four critters: Gus, Leroy, Mesu, and our recent addition to the family-a Catahoula puppy named Voodoo.  Elise also enjoys traveling and watching a good game of soccer. Elise looks forward to learning all she can from the GRD staff about the active role veterinarians take on the Hill.


Joe Pluhar  Texas  A&M University, Class of 2014
Joe Pluhar is a third year veterinary student at Texas A&M University.  He grew up in the beef and horse industry in the big town of Canyon, Texas located just south of Amarillo in the Texas Panhandle.  His veterinary interests were piqued after a local equine vet allowed him to assist on an embryo transfer at the tender age of 8.  (Not sure how much I assisted, but that is my story and I am sticking to it.)  Joe carried his equine and veterinary background to Texas A&M where he has been a student for the past seven years. He has been involved in the variable alphabet soup of veterinary organizations including chair of the SAVMA Government Affairs Committee, SAVMA Political Action Committee Liaison, A&M SCAAEP Vice-President, VBMA, etc.  He has also represented A&M and his fellow vet students at a variety of functions in the Texas Capitol including testifying in the equine dentistry hearings in both the Texas House and Senate.  Joe took the last year off of veterinary school to earn his MBA which he will complete just in time to start third year veterinary school this fall.  He is interested in bringing more scientific and business minded approaches to policy making at the local, state, and national levels.

Joe’s wife, Lauren, is the daughter of a feline veterinarian and is starting a marketing master’s program this fall.  They are both big sports fans and rarely miss an A&M football or basketball game, and enjoy hitting the gym and eating great food.  The couple share their 700 square foot apartment with a 5-year-old Miniature Australian Shepherd, Shorty.

Lacy Strom

University of Georgia, College of Veterinary Medicine, Class of 2013

Lacy grew up in a small town in South Carolina most individuals have never heard of prior to receiving his Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies from the University of South Carolina in 2008.  While at USC, Lacy founded the veterinary club and served as its first president, participated as a member of the Religious Affairs Committee for the university, and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa.  Since beginning veterinary school he has attempted to tread water while serving as President-Elect and President of UGA’s chapter of Omega Tau Sigma.  Lacy also participated in the Merck/Merial Summer Veterinary Scholars Program in 2010.  He is interested in small animal medicine, practice management, emerging and infectious diseases, bioterrorism, and public policy.  While in DC he is hoping to explore the various options available for veterinarians in federal service, while cultivating his interest in the policy making process.

Eric Deeble

University of Pennsylvania, College of Veterinary Medicine, Class 0f 2013

Eric Deeble is a third year veterinary student at the University of Pennsylvania. He is interested in Food Animal Production Systems and the business and government policies that drive global food markets. He has a background in commercial development and is currently researching trade conventions regulating animal product import and export and using statistical modeling techniques to study food production systems. Eric intends to combine the traditional tools of veterinary medicine and advanced business training to promote economic growth and development in low resource communities around the globe. His work has recently been recognized by the award of the Lois B. Fairchild Scholarship for veterinary students who are dedicated to public service.

Shoshana Sommer

Cornell University, College of Veterinary Medicine, Class 0f 2013

Shoshana is a member of the Class of 2013 at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. She received her bachelor’s degree, in biology and physics, from New York University, in 2007. During college, she interned at a NY state zoo, studied abroad and censused Turacos in Equatorial Guinea, Africa, wrote a physics research paper on sea level rise due to climate change, and pursued a number of other learning and working experiences both locally and internationally. She was also captain of the NYU Intercollegiate Equestrian Club for two years. Following college, Shoshana interned with the Smithsonian Institute at The Wilds and the Smithsonian’s Conservation and Research Center, and later worked in a six vet, small animal practice.  In vet school, she has been very active in zoo and wildlife student groups and experiences, including participating in a trip to Honduras to provide veterinary medical services to captive wildlife. Shoshana is also the 2011-12 president of UltraSound, the only veterinary school acapella group in the country. Shoshana’s career interests are varied and trend toward non-traditional areas, including international medicine, conservation, policy, science writing, and interdisciplinary aspects of the veterinary field. She participated in the AVMA’s Fly-in Legislative Day event in 2010, and decided to pursue the month-long externship to further explore the diverse career opportunities available in veterinary medicine.

Jessica Watson

Michigan State University, College of Veterinary Medicine, Class of 2013

Jessica is a 3rd year veterinary student at Michigan State University. She is originally from Alexandria, Virginia and considers the D.C. Metropolitan Area home. She earned a Bachelor’s of Science in biology from Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia. During her undergraduate studies, Jessica participated in two different research projects, detection of amino acids in various meats, and selection and counterselection of novel genes in yeast. She was very active on her undergraduate campus as president of her service sorority Nu Kappa Epsilon, president of the Gay Straight Student Union, treasurer of the Chemistry Club, member and secretary for Tri Beta National Biological Honor Society Psi Sigma Chapter, a mentor for the Captains for Excellence Program, and a member of Alpha Chi National Honor Scholarship Society. On school breaks Jessica worked at various small animal clinics in Virginia in addition to working with an ambulatory equine practitioner. However, her most rewarding experience was when she volunteered at Poplar Springs Animal Sanctuary in Poolesville, Maryland during the summer of 2007. In veterinary school, Jessica was president of the Council for Medical Students, and is a student representative for Nestle Purina. Her main area of focus has been in small animal medicine, but she has developed an interest in radiology as well as non-traditional veterinary careers. She is looking forward exploring those career options this spring during her externship in Washington DC.

Tonie Domino

Cornell University, College of Veterinary Medicine, Class of 2013

Tonie is a 3rd year veterinary student at Cornell University, where she is pursuing  large animal and production medicine. Her dog Milo, cats Polly and Turtle, and horse Badger live with her in Ithaca. She is a Maryland native, and earned a bachelor’s of science in Biology from Washington College, in Chestertown, MD. Tonie was active in the Tri-Beta Biological honor society, and  a Phi Beta Kappa member. She also was on the varsity sailing team, and sailing is an interest she continues to pursue in Ithaca. A pivotal time in her undergrad career was doing a summer internship in Farm Management at the William H. Miner Agricultural Research Institute; an experience that cemented her desire to work with dairy cattle. At Cornell, Tonie is involved with SCAVMA, AABP, VBMA, and Omega Tau Sigma, and was recently elected co-representative of her class, in preparation for a busy fourth and final year. Last September, she presented a poster at the International Mastitis Symposium, part of the AABP Annual Meeting in St. Louis, where she also competed on Cornell’s Quiz Bowl Team. Tonie’s first priority after graduation will be to enter private practice, but she plans to stay active at the grassroots/field advocacy level of politics, and can envision working in the public sector someday.

Hillary Jarrett

Auburn University, College of Veterinary Medicine, Class of 2012

Hillary Jarrett is a fourth year student at Auburn University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.  She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and Political Science from Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia.  Her primary interests are emerging zoonoses, agricultural emergency preparedness and response, as well as bioterrorism and biosecurity.  Hillary is originally from Louisville, Kentucky, but she also has strong family ties to southern Georgia.  Aside from her many extracurricular interests in college, including serving as class president, captain of the soccer team, and president of Americans for Informed Democracy, she also researched enzymatic staging of human cervical carcinomas.  While in veterinary school, Hillary has served as the Auburn University SAVMA delegate, a member of SAVMA’s Education and Licensure Committee, and a member of SAVMA’s One Health Committee.  She is planning on pursuing a Masters in Public Health, training with the CDC’s Epidemiologic Intelligence Service, and becoming an AVMA Congressional Fellow.

Rayne Johnson

Purdue University, College of Veterinary Medicine, Class of 2012

Rayne Johnson is a 4th year veterinary student at Purdue University. Her interest in a non-traditional veterinary medicine career was evident early by the pictures of wildlife pasted over world maps in her childhood room. Rayne’s appreciation of wildlife and nature further grew and during college she completed wildlife rehabilitation internships at both Wolf Hollow Wildlife Rehab Center and the Alaska SeaLife Center. After graduating from North Carolina State University in 2005, she worked in small animal general practice for two years before deciding to spend time traveling in Ecuador and Peru for several months. During veterinary school, Rayne served as a SAVMA delegate for two years prior to election as the SAVMA International Exchange Officer. Her focus in veterinary school has evolved to become an integrated pursuit of public health, wildlife conservation, and environmental sustainability.

Outside of the daily school routine, Rayne typically pursues any form of travel, both domestic and international. She has a passion for visiting US National Parks with her current favorite being Arches. She keeps a collection of plants (all non-toxic!), knits, and enjoys the local swing dance scene. Her dog and cat (Clover and Riboflavin) are part of her daily life and all three of them enjoy taking walks outside and working in the garden.

Lisa Wolff

Atlantic Veterinary College, Class of 2012

Lisa Wolf’s interests include include large animal medicine, sustainable farming practices, organic dairy production.  She served as the past president of welfare club and internal medicine club at Atlantic.  She came to the AVMA Governmental Relations Division externship because she was interested in  organic and farm animal welfare legislation.

After graduation Lisa hopes to pursue an internship in large animal medicine, emphasis on dairy,  medicine, and then graduate school in dairy production with an emphasis on the health of the dairy cow in organic systems.

Rachel Fuentes

Ross University, College of Veterinary Medicine, Class of 2011

Rachel Fuentes is a fourth year veterinary student at Ross University.  After  completing her didactic and hands-on training on the island of St. Kitts, she was accepted to Kansas State University for her clinical year.  While in St Kitts, Rachel enjoyed many aspects of island life, including the traditional Friday afternoon volleyball matches.  Luckily this did not interfere with SAAVMA meetings every Monday and studying the rest of the week.  She was given the opportunity through SAVMA to attend both the SAVMA symposium and AVMA conventions, as well as meet with members of the AVMA, government officials, and other students that enjoyed the political aspect of our profession.  During her time in Kansas, she found that she has a passion for both laboratory animal and internal medicine.  This has all brought her here to the AVMA GRD externship where she is exploring the legislative and government aspect of veterinary medicine while creating a network and learning more about laboratory and internal medicine opportunities.

Anna Daniel

Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine, Class of 2013

Anna Daniel is a third year veterinary student at Auburn University. She is a Georgia native and holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Animal and Dairy Science and a Masters in Animal and Dairy Science with an emphasis in Ruminant Nutrition from the University of Georgia.  As an undergraduate at UGA she was a member of the Arch Society, Vice President of the Ag Hill Council, and Collegiate 4-H President. She was also a member of the Livestock Judging Team and was named to the 2008 All American Livestock Judging Team. Anna is actively involved with the Student Chapter of the American Veterinary Medical Association and is currently serving as the President of the Auburn Chapter. She has a wide variety of interests including food animal medicine, public health, theriogenology, and mixed animal practice. She also has a special interest in non-traditional veterinary careers and is looking forward exploring those career options this summer in DC. She is also a member of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners, American Association of Small Ruminant Practitioners, Omega Tau Sigma, Society for Theriogenology, and the American Animal Hospital Association.   Anna has spent time dairy farming in New Zealand and has served as a member of veterinary mission teams to Honduras, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Kenya.  In her free time she enjoys spending time with her wonderful animals, Riley Ann and Wiggles. She will be with the AVMA GRD for the month of June 2011.


Tara Strickler

Ohio State University, Class of 2012

Tara Strickler is a 4th year veterinary student at Ohio State University.  Her interest areas include global food security, wildlife conservation medicine and research, the human-animal disease interface, and animal welfare.  She grew up in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and earned an Associate of Science degree in Veterinary Technology from Harcum College before completing a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology at Millersville University that included a minor in Biochemistry.  After college, she worked as a research technician at the Bodine Center for Cancer Treatment at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia.

After working in lab animal research for a few years, Tara pursued a graduate degree in Animal Sciences at Ohio State University.  In addition to earning a Master of Science degree during veterinary school, she participated in the Veterinary Scholar Summer Research Program and was part of a research team that traveled to Sierra Leone to collaborate on several projects with Njala University Animal Sciences Department, aiming to improve livestock production and reduce animal-related public health risks.  Tara is a co-founder of the OSU-CVM chapter of the International Veterinary Student’s Association and traveled to Chiang Mai, Thailand to participate in an elephant and exotic animal health and behavior workshop.  She will be serving as an extern for the month of June 2011.

Henderson King
Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Class of 2011

Henderson King is a 4th year veterinary student at Mississippi State University. He holds a Bachelor’s of Science, in Animal and Dairy Science, also from MSU. While in veterinary school, Henderson is also pursuing a Master’s of Veterinary Science degree with and emphasis in public health and public policy. Henderson has a broad array of interests including large animal medicine, animal agriculture, food safety and security, emerging and infectious diseases, bioterrorism, and disaster response. As an undergraduate student at Mississippi State, Henderson has been a member of the horse judging team, Horseman’s Association, and Block and Bridle Club. In the months following Hurricane Katrina, Henderson gained hands on experience of disaster response while volunteering at a shelter in Hattiesburg, MS. He also had the opportunity to intern with the Mississippi Beef Council which was the catalyst for his interest in public policy. As a veterinary student, Henderson has been an officer for the school’s SCAVMA chapter as well as a member of AABP and AAEP. Following graduation, Henderson plans to enter private practice as a large animal practitioner. He also has hopes of someday working in public policy.

Hillary Herendeen
University of Pennsylvania College of Veterinary Medicine, Class of 2011

Hillary Herendeen is a 4th year veterinary student at the University of Pennsylvania. She plans to dedicate a portion of her veterinary career to the protection of animal use and betterment of the animal experience. She grew up on Kent Island, MD with an interest in the life sciences and companion animal care and earned her undergraduate degree in the Animal Sciences at the Pennsylvania State University. While studying at Penn State she discovered the Block and Bridle club and an affinity for livestock species and animal agriculture, including dairy and beef cattle, poultry and swine. She was also active in IAESTE Penn State, leading to a 3 month internship at the Zoological College of Almaty, in Kazakhstan. Before starting vet school she worked in several areas of biomedical research gaining experience in pre-clinical research for drug development as well as the care and husbandry of transgenic mice and livestock species. One project of particular interest involved the use of gonadectomized rodents to demonstrate efficacy of small molecule hormone receptor modulators in areas relating to women’s health. While at the University of Pennsylvania she has been an officer in the animal welfare, lab animal medicine and food animal clubs and worked in the medical genetics research colony and alternative housing research swine unit. She has also spent hundreds of hours volunteering at high volume spay and castration days at Philadelphia shelters. She is excited to explore her many interests in the field of animal welfare while in DC with the AVMA GRD.

Chelsey Shivley
Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Class of 2012

Chelsey Shivley is a third year veterinary student at Michigan State Univeristy. She plans on pursuing a career in animal welfare, though she is not sure yet exactly what path she will take to get there. Her primary interests are in equine and food animal medicine. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Lyman Briggs Zoology with a Specialization in Bioethics, Humanities, and Society from Michigan State University. She was the president of the MSU Horsemen’s Association and Captain of the MSU Equestrian Team, taking the team to nationals in 2008. She founded the MSU Veterinary Animal Welfare Judging Team, which took first place this year at the annual competition. She is the former president of the MSU Student Chapter of the American Association of Equine Practitioners, and she has worked on the issue of unwanted horses in Michigan. Chelsey has spent two summers conducting research projects on beef and dairy cattle welfare, and last summer presented her findings at the Merial Veterinary Scholars Symposium. In her spare time, Chelsey loves to ride horses, travel, and read.


Kirstin Kamps
Western University of Health Sciences, Class of 2011

Kirstin Kamps is a 4th year DVM student at the Western University of Health Sciences in Southern California. She plans on pursuing a career in aquatic animal health in a laboratory animal setting. Kirstin holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Marine Biology from University of California Santa Cruz and grew up in Southern California. Prior to entering veterinary school, she pursued a career in marine research holding positions conducting recreational fishery surveys and kelp forest health monitoring for the Channel Islands National Park. Her current interests include aquatic and laboratory animal medicine, disaster response, preservation of animal use and promoting growth of domestic aquaculture production. Kirstin is also a member of the World Aquatic Veterinary Medical Association’s (WAVMA) communications committee and the founding chair of their student committee. She will be serving as an extern for the month of February 2011.


Valerie Eisenbart
University of Illinois, Class of 2011

Valerie Eisenbart is currently a 4th year DVM/MPH student at the University of Illinois who plans on pursuing a career in epidemiology and public health. Valerie holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in biological sciences from Northwestern University and was raised in the Chicago area. Her current interests include national and international food safety and security issues and infectious disease epidemiology. Valerie recently participated in the inaugural University of Illinois veterinary medical study abroad program in Germany and was a 2009 AVMA Headquarters extern in the Scientific Activities Division. At the University of Illinois, Valerie has served on the executive boards of the Illinois chapter of the IVSA, Hill’s Feeding Committee, Wildlife Medical Clinic and ISCAVMA. She enjoys travelling and has visited much of the United States and Canada, as well as the UK, Poland, Romania, Hungary, Turkey, Nicaragua, Panama, Kenya and South Korea. Valerie is looking forward to externships with the Poultry Diagnostic and Research Center and CDC National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases and will be with the AVMA GRD for the month of October 2010.

Jessika Uden
Iowa State College of Veterinary Medicine, Class of 2011

Jessika Uden is currently a fourth-year veterinary medical student at the Iowa State College of Veterinary Medicine in Ames, Iowa. She received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Animal Science from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL). Her main areas of interest are in food animal medicine. Jessika grew up in South Central Nebraska raising beef cattle and showing livestock. While at UNL Jessika was on the Livestock Judging Team, President of the Block and Bridle Club, and an Ambassador for the college. Jessika has previous experiences working for the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), National Pork Board, and Nebraska 4-H. She is planning on entering private practice upon graduation in May 2011.

Jason Wood
University of California- Davis, Class of 2011

Jason Wood is a 4th year student from UC Davis who is planning on pursuing a career in veterinary pathology and public health. Jason holds a Bachelors of Science, in Animal Science, also from UC Davis. After completing his undergraduate degree he worked 3 years in a diagnostic pathology laboratory where he gained his desire to pursue a more non-traditional track in veterinary medicine. Since starting veterinary school he has been his schools SAVMA Delegate for two years, pathology club and VBMA chapter presidents and is currently the Co-General Manger of the 2011 SAVMA Symposium. In order to supplement his wide variety of interests he has had 4th year externships in pathology at Massey University in New Zealand and Oklahoma State University and will follow his time at the AVMA GRD with 6 weeks of epidemiology research at the CDC in their Infectious Disease Department.


Tristan Colonius

Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine, Class of 2011

Tristan Colonius studied veterinary medicine at Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine in Baton Rouge, his hometown. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science in 2008 from Louisiana State University. His main interests are animal health and welfare policy. Tristan has previously completed externships with the AVMA’s Animal Welfare Division, New Zealand Ministry of Agriculture’s Animal Welfare Directorate, and the United State Department of Agriculture’s Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service. Tristan is also interested in animal welfare education, and is currently working with several other students and faculty at LSU-SVM to establish animal welfare core and elective course hours in the professional veterinary curriculum beginning this year.
rachaelcRachel Cumberbatch
Purdue University, Class of 2011

Rachel is a veterinary student from Purdue University where she is tracking mixed animal medicine. Rachel holds a bachelor’s degree in Animal Sciences, also from Purdue University, as well as minors in Biological Sciences and International Studies in Agriculture. Rachel has had the opportunity to learn through leadership throughout her college career. She has served as president of the Purdue Veterinary Business Management Association (09-10), member of the Board of Directors for the Timmy Foundation (07-10) and member of the Purdue Board of Trustees (05-07). 4-H introduced Rachel to veterinary medicine; but, it was traveling internationally that sparked her passion for veterinary public health. Experiences in Honduras, China and Morocco gave her an appreciation for the role of animal agriculture in maintaining a foundation by which to build and sustain a strong community. Rachel will be serving as an AVMA extern throughout the month of June. She will graduate in May 2011 and hopes to go into mixed animal practice before pursuing her Master’s in Public Health.

abartelsAnthony Bartels
Colorado State University, Class of 2012

Anthony is a veterinary student at Colorado State University. He has also completed his MBA as part of a five year combined MBA/DVM program at CSU. Anthony was with the AVMA in Washington, D.C. as a Governmental Relations Division Extern during the month of June 2010.


Amanda Bisol 2Amanda Bisol
University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, Class of 2011

Amanda was a student at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in Philadelphia. She grew up in rural Kutztown, PA and went to Worcester Polytechnic Institute where she received a B.S. in Biotechnology with a double major in Technical, Scientific, and Professional Communication. While there, she volunteered at Tufts Veterinary School Wildlife Clinic and worked as a dairy herdsman on a farm in Pennsylvania. She was the president of the Penn Vet Animal Welfare Society, and the president of Penn’s Student Chapter of the AVMA. Amanda’s main goals are to pursue her interests in food animal medicine and American agriculture on a national level in the hope of obtaining a career with the USDA upon graduation.

rebecca-steers1 Rebecca Steers
Tufts University, Class of 2010

Rebecca was a veterinary student at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, where she also earned a Post-Graduate Certificate in International Veterinary Medicine. Originally from New Hampshire, Rebecca received her Bachelor of Arts in Hispanic Studies, with a Chemistry minor, from Boston College. She then worked as a veterinary technician at the Angell Animal Medical Center in Boston before returning to school. Rebecca has been fortunate enough to be involved in the Student American Veterinary Medical Association, both at her local Chapter and most recently as the national President from 2009-2010. Her positions in SAVMA helped give her a unique perspective on the importance of advocacy and the role of veterinarians in public policy. Upon graduation, Rebecca was commissioned as a Captain in the US Army Veterinary Corps, having been a part of their Health Professionals Scholarship Program. Her first assignment was in Okinawa, Japan.

van-brass2 Van Brass
University of Florida, Class of 2011

While concurrently working towards a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree and a Masters of Public Health, Van served as the President of the UF chapter of VOICE as well as serving as the national Vice President. He is also a member of SCAVMA, AABP, AAEP, as well as involvement with Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Alachua Co, FL and other local civic organizations. A native of Monroe, LA, he received his B.S. in Biology from Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge, LA in 2004 after becoming a USDA 1890 Scholar. Van served as an Animal Health Technician with USDA-APHIS-VS from 2004-2007. His career interests include food animal medicine, public health, as well as integration of community service outreach through veterinary medicine.

Kelvin UrdayKelvin Urday
University of Missouri, Class of 2011

Kelvin grew up in a rural area outside of Dallas, Texas. He did his undergraduate studies at the University of Missouri as a member of the Pre-Veterinary Scholars Program, a pre admission program at Missouri. During Veterinary School, he served as President of the Student Chapter of the American Animal Hospital Association, Vice President of The Student Chapter of the American Veterinary Medical Association, and as Student Liaison to the Missouri Veterinary Medical Association. Kelvin is interested in eventually entering academia after working in private practice and public health.

Tara Marmulak
Tara Marmulak, PharmD
Clinical Pharmacy Resident, University of California, Davis

Tara completed her undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences at the University of Guelph and her Pharm D at Purdue University. After graduating from Purdue, she worked as a staff pharmacist at a community hospital and independent retail pharmacy for several years. Eventually, she decided to pursue a career in academia resulting in her becoming a resident in veterinary pharmacy at the University of California, Davis, school of veterinary medicine. There, she worked to answer both clinician and client medication questions, work on research projects and answer extra label use withdrawal questions for FARAD. When not at the VMTH, she can be found with her husband, Greg, enjoying the beautiful California weather and the close proximity to Tahoe and Napa Valley.

elizabeth_nunamakerElizabeth Nunamaker, Ph.D.
Purdue University Class of 2009
Elizabeth Nunamaker’s previous experience includes interning first with the Indiana State Board of Animal Health and then with the USDA Foreign Animal Disease. Her background will serve her well as she advocates the AVMA’s positions on animal research and welfare.
Tyler Foreman


Tyler Foreman
Texas A&M University, Class of 2010

Tyler’s first word several months after birth, was dog and his second was filibuster. Thus, his life was set forth on the path that led him to the AVMA-GRD externship, where he is able to combine his two loves: veterinary medicine and politics. The story may not go exactly like that, but Tyler is currently a fourth year at Texas A&M University. He received his B.S. in Biochemistry from the University of Missouri in 2006. It was during his time at Mizzou that he gained an interest in politics. While in veterinary school, Tyler participated in the Government Action Committee of SCAVMA as well as re instituted the veterinary school’s involvement with the Texas A&M Graduate Student Council. He interned for former Congressman Nick Lampson (TX-22). In his spare time, he enjoys bike riding, long walks on the beach, candlelit dinners by a fire and horseback riding on the Scottish highlands during a sunset. But seeing as how he does not have time to do any of those things while in veterinary school, he finds time for the usual vet student after hours activities and of course, keeping up with the political landscape as much as possible. He intends to apply for a Small Animal rotating internship and ultimately practice small animal medicine in an area of the country that will appreciate his dry sense of humor.

virginia_kieferVirginia Kiefer
Unversity of Tennessee, Class of 2010
Virginia is a native of Cleveland, Ohio. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Zoology with a Minor in Neuroscience from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Since the age of 7, she has been an avid horseback rider and equine enthusiast, including 4 years on the Miami University Equestrian Team. Her interests include equine and small animal medicine, public health, public policy, environmental conservation, servant leadership, and animal welfare. She was the SCAVMA President for her school and served as the International Exchange Officer on the SAVMA Executive Board. She also served on the Member Services Committee of the AVMA. She has a passion for traveling, and has been to many beautiful and interesting places, including New Zealand, Spain, France, Poland, Belgium, Italy, Monaco, Turkey, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Germany, Holland, and Scotland. Her other hobbies include running, reading, and any activity out on the water.  Eventually she would like to earn a master’s degree in public health and work in academia.

Shannon Mesenhowski
University of Minnesota, Class of 2010

Shannon Mesenhowski was a DVM student at the University of Minnesota. Along with her DVM she also earned her Master of Public Health degree. During veterinary school she has been active in organized veterinary medicine and leadership on both a national and local level. Prior to veterinary school she earned her B.S. from Purdue University in Biology with Spanish minor. She then worked in Chicago as a chemistry laboratory technician at a large pharmaceutical company as well as at an organ transplantation research company as a perfusion technician. After graduation she hopes to pursue a career that will incorporate her DVM and MPH degrees working on international development of animal agriculture using sustainable methods. She enjoys traveling and has been on veterinary trips in Costa Rica and Nicaragua and Morocco.

Emily Olson
Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, Class of 2010

Emily Olson went to the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine (VMRCVM). Emily’s experiences in state student government in high school and lobbying with the Maryland Farm Bureau motivated her to become involved in organized veterinary medicine as soon at she began veterinary school. During her education she has been involved with the Student AVMA as the VMRCVM Delegate and an active member of the Governmental Affairs Committee. Within that committee she served as the Student Liaison to the AVMA Political Action Committee. She worked closely with the AVMA-GRD to plan the first annual Veterinary Student Legislative Day in Washington D. C. Emily is from Reisterstown, Maryland and completed her undergraduate degree from Virginia Tech (GO HOKIES!!!), and plans to pursue an internship in equine practice.

Jeffrey Stupine University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2009

Jeffrey StupineJeffrey Stupine grew up in Abington, PA and graduated from the George Washington University with a B.A. in economics. After spending several years as an equity trader for several firms in Philadelphia, Jeff decided to change career paths and pursue a degree in veterinary medicine. Jeff is interested in Shelter Medicine and seeks to combine his background of medicine, business, and marketing to improve the level of care in animal shelters all across this nation. In his spare time Jeff enjoys playing guitar, keeping up on current events, and walking his dog, “Flooper”.

melissa_austin_2Melissa Austin
University of Missouri, Class of 2009

Melissa Austin studied at the University of Missouri. While in veterinary school, she served in the following capacities: Missouri delegate to the Student AVMA, compliance chair to the National Veterinary Business Management Association (VBMA), secretary to Missouri’s chapter of the VBMA, extern for the National Commission on Veterinary Economic Issues (NCVEI), extern for Dr. Charlotte Lacroix, DVM, JD, Sue Shear Fellow at the 21st Century Leadership Academy, participant within the 2009 AVMA National Veterinary Student Legislative day, and committee member of the AAHA Accreditation Awareness Group. She was a GRD extern from April 6-May 1, 2009.

Kirk BreuningerKirk Breuninger
University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2010

Kirk Breuninger grew up in Bucks County, PA and graduated from University of Maryland, College Park with a B.S. in Animal Sciences and a Citation in Environmental Studies from College Park Scholars Program. At Penn, Kirk served as Class President and as immediate-past Vice President of his SCAVMA Chapter. In his free time, he enjoys rock climbing and training for running events.

Amber Andersen

Amber Andersen
Western University, Class of 2009

Originally from San Diego, she graduated with a B.S in Animal Science from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. She has worked extensively with the California Veterinary Medical Association serving at the Board and House level. Amber also enrolled in the Master of Public Health program at University of Minnesota.

Stic Harris University of Georgia, Class of 2009

Stic Harris, originally from Buffalo, NY, was a student at the University of Georgia. He is on his fourth career, having already worked in research and public health and played professional ice hockey. He previously received his Bachelors of Science with a double major in microbiology and classical archeology. He also received his Masters in Public Health from Michigan, concentrating in Molecular Epidemiology and Public Health Genetics. Stic worked for the Texas and Georgia State Health Departments on such varied topics as lead poisoning, prion disease, arthritis, bioterrorism planning and maternal and child health epidemiology. While at the University of Georgia, Stic was elected president of his class and president of the Georgia student chapter of the AVMA (SCAVMA). In addition he founded a Public Health Veterinarian Club at UGA and served as its first president. Following his graduation in May, Stic is planning on returning to his career in public health. But he also is planning on keeping up his clinical veterinary skills on the side.

Derek Calhoon

Derek Calhoon
Cornell University, Class of 2010

Calhoon has demonstrated leadership on his campus by serving as the President of the Veterinary Students for Animal Welfare and as an executive board member of the local SCAVMA chapter. Prior to entering veterinary school, he won a Fulbright grant, earning a Master’s in Sociology at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands.

Laura Chan
Western University of Health Sciences
Born in Hong Kong but raised in California, she graduated with a BS degree from the University of California at Berkeley. Her involvement in organized veterinary medicine and political action stems from a position on the executive board for SAVMA’s House of Delegates and participation in the Veterinary Leadership Experience (VLE). She is currently interested in small animal critical care medicine and is active in the international veterinary community, student affairs, and public policy.
Emi Eaton
Univeristy of Illinois
Originally from California, Emi moved to the Midwest and received a BA in Sociology/Anthropology from Carleton College. She worked for three years as a laboratory technician in functional genomics, while continuing her education and volunteering at various humane societies and wildlife rehabilitation facilities. Emi’s interests include shelter medicine, animal welfare, humane education, and veterinary medical law. Following graduation, Emi ljoined her husband and animal family in Amity, Oregon.
Erin Brown

Iowa State Univeristy

Erin Brown was a veterinary student at Iowa State University. Originally from South Dakota, she also received a B.S. in Animal Science from Iowa State University. At home she is joined by husband Kyle, Border Collie Nessie, and DSH Abe. Her current interests include small ruminants and camelids (minor use/minor species), disaster response, and livestock nutrition.

Ian Rubinoff
University of Minnesota

Originally from Rhode Island, Rubinoff gravitated west to Minnesota where he is joined by wife Colleen, dog Bailey, and two cats, Mia and Gus. At the University of Minnesota studied poultry medicine and public health. In addition to working with poultry and public health, Ian is interested in avian influenza research, public policy, food protection and defense, and the integration of agriculture systems.

Tonya Stephens, PhD
Univeristy of Florida

Tonya Stephens was a student at the University of Florida. Her primary focus is equine medicine and surgery with an emphasis in theriogenology. With bachelors and masters degrees from Texas A&M University, the Texan transplant transferred to the University of Florida to complete a doctorate of philosophy in equine nutrition and exercise physiology. Upon graduation, she worked at Equine Medical Center of Ocala until starting veterinary school.

Tonya grew up in rural Texas on a large family dairy and beef operation with horses for cattle work and a hobby. During her school career, she has been involved in all areas of the horse world including internship with the British Horseracing Board, polo groom and player, pin hooking race horses, and currently an award winning pleasure horse farm.

Erin Casey
Univeristy of Georgia
Erin Casey was a third-year veterinary student at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine. A northern Virginia native, Casey attended Mary Washington College (now University of Mary Washington) and later received an M.S. in Biology with an emphasis on conservation genetics. Her current interests include disease ecology, public health, disaster preparedness, and conservation medicine.