Congratulations to Veterinary Leadership Conference scholarship recipients

Published on December 21, 2017

AVMA Veterinary Leadership Conference January 4-7, 2018

Ten veterinarians have been awarded scholarships to help them attend next month’s Veterinary Leadership Conference (VLC), which will take place Jan. 4-7 in downtown Chicago. The scholarships, which are jointly funded by the AVMA and Zoetis, recognize recent veterinary graduates, emerging leaders, and veterinarians from demographic, geographic or socioeconomic groups or practice types that are underrepresented in U.S. veterinary leadership.

Congratulations to these 10 veterinarians, who were selected from a large pool of qualified applicants:

  • Jonathan Dear, a junior faculty member at UC Davis who is passionate about fostering diversity within the veterinary field.
  • Christina Tran, a former AVMA Future Leader and current Arizona Veterinary Medical Association board member whose interests include fostering diversity in veterinary leadership.
  • Tannia Clark, a veterinarian at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) who strives to mentor fellow Hispanic veterinarians and other underrepresented groups within the veterinary field.
  • Andrea Gentry, vice president of the North Carolina Association of Minority Veterinarians, who looks forward to gaining the tools and skills to advance diversity within the profession.
  • Bonnie Chu, a student at Texas A & M School of Public Health who aims to serve as a veterinary leader in the f public health field.
  • Jessica Smith, a 2017 graduate of North Carolina State University who is passionate about policy development at the federal level.
  • Maggie Behnke, program manager at Kansas State University’s Research Compliance Office, who focuses on animal welfare and improving research compliance at the institutional and national organization level.
  • Jennifer Bolser, a veterinary consultant in China who is exploring innovative ways to improve international education and develop veterinary associations outside the United States.
  • Lisa Conti, chief science officer at Florida’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, who hopes to bring One Health to the forefront of the veterinary profession.
  • Hilal Dogan, a mobile practice owner who is passionate about highlighting the importance and attainability of work-life balance in the veterinary community.

A common thread connecting several of the scholarship recipients is a passion to increase diversity and inclusion within veterinary medicine. “I hope that by attending this conference I can connect with others to help push the boundary of inclusion and tolerance in veterinary medicine,” said Dr. Dear.  Dr. Tran echoed that sentiment, saying, “I feel that it is important that all under-represented minorities have a seat at the table.”

Others see the Veterinary Leadership Conference as an opportunity to learn from veterinary leaders from across the country. “Veterinary medicine has truly changed my life, and I can’t wait to see what best practices and leadership skills I learn from the VLC to help achieve my career goals and make a positive impact in the field of veterinary medicine,” said Dr. Chu.

The scholarship recipients hail from a wide range of backgrounds and disciplines. However, all agree that the chance to meet and network with other passionate veterinarians is an important component of their personal and professional growth. Furthermore, the benefits extend beyond the individual attendees, said Dr. Dogan. “Nothing can replace the value of live events such as these to build a better future for our profession.”

Still time to register for VLC

Registration is still open for the 2018 Veterinary Leadership Conference. The meeting offers four days of networking and workshop opportunities for all members of the veterinary community. Don’t miss this event to develop your leadership and team-building skills, and gain a deeper understanding of how you can contribute to shaping the veterinary profession. For more information and to register, visit


Special thanks to Zoetis for its continued support of VLC and its commitment to the veterinary profession.


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