Congratulations, Veterinary Leadership Conference scholarship winners

Published on December 06, 2018

When hundreds of veterinarians converge next month for the AVMA’s annual Veterinary Leadership Conference (VLC), 15 rising leaders will join them as recipients of this year’s VLC scholarships. Coming from a wide range of backgrounds and disciplines, these winners represent our next generation of leaders, and we are excited to help equip them with the tools to influence and advance the veterinary profession for years to come. Congratulations to these well-deserving individuals:
  • Jessica Juarez, currently completing a Ph.D. in agricultural education at Iowa State University
  • Derecka Alexander, 2018 graduate of Louisiana State University working as an associate veterinarian
  • Marie Quicksall, founding member of the Multicultural Veterinary Medical Association (MCVMA) and an associate veterinarian
  • Dianicia Kirton, 2018 graduate of Tuskegee University working as an associate veterinarian
  • Carla Thomas, an associate veterinarian in Wilmington, N.C.
  • Joe Jesse Owens III, co-owner and medical director of St. Rose Animal Hospital + Urgent Care in Las Vegas
  • Matthew Kuhn, currently completing a Ph.D. in large animal clinical sciences
  • Eduardo Vivas, clinical site director and research veterinarian at RTI-Kansas City and adjunct faculty member at Johnson County Community College
  • Tamaya Trejo, an associate veterinarian in Portland, Oregon
  • Logan France, clinical veterinarian, instructor of microbiology and immunology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and founder and program director of Biomedical Research Awareness Day (BRAD)
  • Alexandria Hicks-Nelson, 2018 graduate of Tufts Cummings working as a laboratory animal resident at Stanford University
  • Tasha Mae Del Rosario, veterinary student at St. Matthew’s University
  • Dane Whitaker, president elect of Pride Veterinary Medical Community (PVMC) and a small animal relief veterinarian
  • Quincy Hawley, co-founder of Get MotiVETed and Dream Life Motivation, current president of the North Carolina Association of Minority Veterinarians
  • Hieuhanh Cox, an emergency veterinarian currently completing a master’s degree in public health at George Washington University

Each scholarship winner will receive a $1,000 stipend to help offset the cost of attending the VLC.

Diversity, inclusion, and representation

This year’s VLC scholars are the beneficiaries of two scholarship programs that we’re able to offer in partnership with Zoetis, Hill’s Pet Nutrition, and Pride VMC. One program recognizes emerging leaders and veterinarians from underrepresented demographic, geographic, racial, ethnic, or socioeconomic groups or practice types. The other recognizes AVMA members who have participated in efforts to eliminate discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community, and shown a commitment to diversity and inclusion for people of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender presentations within our profession.

These scholarships are central to our work as an organization committed to advancing diversity and inclusion in the veterinary profession. They enable us to empower a wide range of individuals – our future leaders – to make a difference in our profession at the grassroots and organizational levels. Scholarship recipient Dr. Carla Thomas says she hopes "that the presence of more minorities in leadership will continue to enhance and promote diversity within the occupation itself; and provide more opportunities for inclusion of different cultures, perspectives, and ideas.”

At the VLC, these future leaders will learn about team-building, network with colleagues from all walks of the profession, and uncover new and exciting leadership opportunities within and outside of the AVMA. “This profession needs a diverse group of talented doctors who can assist with introducing and managing the changes taking place, and I strongly believe VLC is the place to learn these skills,” says VLC scholar Dr. Derecka Alexander.

Still time to register for VLC

The Veterinary Leadership Conference is the veterinary profession’s premier event for leadership training and will take place Jan. 10-13 in downtown Chicago. It combines a unique mix of CE sessions, networking, and AVMA governance meetings, which expand and hone attendees' leadership skills, peer networks and professional relationships. Whether you’re looking to take the next step in your leadership journey or just beginning to explore what a leadership role in veterinary medicine might mean for you, the VLC is the perfect place to grow. The four-day event also offers the opportunity to earn up to eight hours of continuing education (CE). Learn more and register at

VLC scholarships are made possible through generous support from AVMA, Zoetis, Hill's Pet Nutrition, and Pride VMC. Thank you!


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