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October 01, 2021

Second virtual National Veterinary Scholars Symposium draws 900

Published on September 09, 2021

The National Veterinary Scholars Symposium for student researchers, hosted by Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine this year, went virtual for a second year in a row because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges collaborated with Iowa State to present the event from Aug. 4-6. Almost 900 people attended the symposium, which showcased hundreds of student posters.

AAVMC and NVSS logos


Veterinary students participating in summer research programs conduct a hypothesis-driven project developed jointly by the student and a faculty mentor, which is typically conducted over an 8- to 12-week period during the summer. The student researchers then share the results at the end-of-summer symposium. Every year, the American Veterinary Medical Foundation provides stipends for five veterinary students who are conducting a second year of summer research.

The following keynote speakers presented remarks during the virtual symposium:

  • Dr. Kathryn M. Jones, an associate professor at Baylor College of Medicine, discussed “Addressing the Global Burden of Chagas Disease.”
  • Dr. Jim Roth, a professor at Iowa State’s veterinary college, discussed “Infectious Disease Control Through Research, Policy Development, and Education.”
  • Dr. Liara Gonzalez, an associate professor at North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine, discussed “Intestinal Regenerative Medicine: Targeting Key Stem Cells to Enhance Intestinal Viability.”

The symposium featured a variety of breakout sessions that provided students with a chance to obtain career advice from experts regarding academic programs and career pathways leading to careers in academia, government, and corporate practice as well as opportunities in various areas of veterinary medicine and science. A Combined Degree Colloquium held in conjunction with the symposium offered programming for students pursuing dual professional and PhD programs.

Boehringer Ingelheim, which provides stipends for veterinary students to conduct summer research, presented its Veterinary Research Award for Graduate Veterinarians to Dr. Brittany Szafran at Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine and presented its Veterinary Research Award for Veterinary Students to Carley Allen at the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine.

The members of the National Planning Committee for the symposium, all at Iowa State’s veterinary college, were Dr. Qijing Zhang, associate dean for research and graduate studies; Dr. Brad Blitvich, interim assistant dean of graduate studies and research training; and Karen Barker, grants specialist.

The sponsors for the symposium were Boehringer Ingelheim and the National Institutes of Health. Ahead of the symposium, the AVMA provided the abstract submission service and compiled the 370-page electronic abstract book.