Three distinguished veterinary students aspiring toward careers in equine medicine have been awarded Coyote Rock Ranch Veterinary Scholarships totaling $300,000. The awards were presented by The Foundation for the Horse on December 9 during the AAEP’s 65th Annual Convention in Denver, Colorado.
Selected from over 70 exceptional third-year student applicants were Gabriel Gonzalez from North Carolina State University and Zoë Williams from Michigan State University, each of whom received $75,000 awards; and Natalie Andrews from North Carolina State University, whose $75,000 scholarship was doubled to $150,000 because of her intended career path of equine theriogenology.
Andrews’ experience with her now mentor, Dr. Scott Bailey, has allowed her to interact with a unique blend of clinical theriogenology and research that has been instrumental in developing her career goals of working in equine breeding programs in tertiary care private practice. “When those dysmature foals we had been fighting to keep alive made a complete turn-around, everything was validated for me,” says Andrews. “I realized I was where I was meant to be, and the lack of sleep was all worth it.”
Gonzalez, an aspiring equine academic surgeon, participates in the Veterinary Scholars Program at North Carolina State. His research project is focused on small intestinal strangulating colic in horses and evaluating intestinal stem cell biomarkers being expressed in the affected tissues of horses with this form of colic. The aim of this project is to potentially lay the groundwork for developing a test to objectively determine the viability of ischemic intestine in horses with strangulating colic, and improve the prognosis of these surgical patients.
Williams, who overcame numerous challenges to keep alive her lifelong dream of becoming an equine veterinarian, is a dual-enrolled DVM and PhD student at Michigan State University. Her PhD thesis focuses on myofibrillar myopathy. “Sometimes you just have to go for it and work hard,” she said. “Keep the goals you have for yourself clear in your mind, but be open to what happens along the way.” She intends to establish her own practice and hopes to provide horsemen, scientists and veterinarians with leadership and an opportunity to enhance the horse community.
The Coyote Rock Ranch Veterinary Scholarship program was created in 2015 by Penelope Knight, an avid horsewoman and strong advocate for horse health. Since award of the first scholarships in 2016, 13 AAEP student members have benefited from a cumulative $1,050,000 in assistance.
“With the help of The Foundation for the Horse, I am pleased to offer this great opportunity to benefit our next generation of veterinarians,” Knight said. “Helping future veterinarians is one way I am able to give back to the industry I hold dear to my heart, and I will continue my support for years to come.”
For more information about this program and other scholarships offered through the The Foundation for the Horse, visit foundationforthehorse.org.
About the Coyote Rock Ranch
Coyote Rock Ranch, owned by Knight and located in the beautiful high desert country of Central Oregon, is a breeding operation for high-end cutting horses. Committed to quality in everything they do, Coyote Rock Ranch has a reputation for breeding and raising well-bred Quarter Horses with the pedigree and care to become tomorrow’s champions.
About The Foundation for the Horse
The Foundation for the Horse, a 501(c)(3) organization established in 1994 formerly known as the AAEP Foundation, serves as the charitable arm of the American Association of Equine Practitioners to improve the welfare of horses. Since its inception, The Foundation has disbursed more than $6 million to fulfill its vital mission. For more information about The Foundation, visit foundationforthehorse.org.