Winners announced for 2021 AVMA Animal Welfare Assessment Contest

For more information Phone: 847-285-6687 Cell: 847-732-6194
For immediate release: 11/23/2021

(SCHAUMBURG, Illinois) November 23, 2021—The 21st annual American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Animal Welfare Assessment Contest (AWJAC), virtually hosted by the AVMA, took place this past weekend with a record 269 participants representing 28 universities and 8 countries completing online assessments of the welfare of animals in a variety of settings.

Participants included undergraduates, graduate students, veterinary students, veterinary technicians, AVMA member veterinarians and members of international veterinary medical associations, who were provided a structured opportunity to practice their assessment skills and present their findings to an expert panel of scientists and veterinarians with special expertise in animal welfare. Species covered in the 2021 contest scenarios included boars, domestic cats and psittacines (which include parrots, macaws, cockatoos and lories).

The contest also included presentations on animal welfare issues in the dairy industry, swine industry, rodeo, companion animal medicine and wildlife. A virtual networking reception provided the opportunity for participants to meet with animal welfare experts working in industry, academia, clinical practice and not-for-profit organizations. AWJAC participants were able to earn up to 6 hours of continuing education credit for participating.

Individual winners in the Undergraduate Junior Division were:

  • 1st place—Erin Stockland, Texas A&M University
  • 2nd place—Jenna Volinski, Michigan State University
  • 3rd place—Jessie Bouterse, Ohio State University
  • 4th place—Samuel Suh, Texas A&M University
  • 5th place—Katherine Gellhausen, Texas A&M University

Team winners in the Undergraduate Junior Division were:

  • 1st place—Michigan State University
  • 2nd place—Texas A&M University
  • 3rd place—Ohio State University
  • 4th place—Texas A&M Commerce
  • 5th place—University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Individual winners in the Undergraduate Senior Division were:

  • 1st place—Madison Pinkerton, Ohio State University
  • 2nd place—MacKenzie Chapman, The Ohio State University
  • 3rd place—Kaitlyn Rhine, Kansas State University
  • 4th place—Shauna Zisis, University of Guelph
  • 5th place—Sarah Kay, University of Guelph

Team winners in the Undergraduate Senior Division were:

  • 1st place—Ohio State University
  • 2nd place—Kansas State University
  • 3rd place—Michigan State University
  • 4th place—University of Guelph
  • 5th place—University of Kentucky

Individual winners in the Graduate Division were:

  • 1st place—Sara Pantel, Tufts University
  • 2nd place—Kaitlyn St. Charles, University of Minnesota
  • 3rd place—Clara Dell, Tufts University
  • 4th place—Tawni Williams, University of Illinois
  • 5th place—Meagan Abraham, Purdue University

Team winners in the Graduate Division were:

  • 1st place—Purdue University
  • 2nd place—Ohio State University
  • 3rd place—University of Kentucky
  • 4th place—Tufts University
  • 5th place—University of Guelph

Individual winners in the Veterinary Division were:

  • 1st place—Tannaz Zafarnia, Long Island University College of Veterinary Medicine
  • 2nd place—Magnus Yoshimura, Long Island University College of Veterinary Medicine
  • 3rd place—Bayla Bessemer, Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine
  • 4th place—Julie French, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph
  • 5th place—Shannon Kelley, Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine

Team winners in the Veterinary Division were:

  • 1st place—Long Island University College of Veterinary Medicine Team 1
  • 2nd place—Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine
  • 3rd place—Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine
  • 4th place—Atlantic Veterinary College
  • 5th place—Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph

Top Placing Individual in the Interactive Assessment were:

  • Undergraduate Junior Individual—Zoey Witruk, University of Illinois
  • Undergraduate Senior Individual—Blair Wermuth, University of Wisconsin River-Falls
  • Veterinary Individual—Jasmine Hanson, Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Graduate Individual—Jasmine Muszik, McGill University

Top Placing Team in the Interactive Assessment were:

  • Undergraduate Junior Team—Michigan State University
  • Undergraduate Senior Team—University of Minnesota
  • Veterinary Team—Atlantic Veterinary College
  • Graduate Team—Ohio State University

"Congratulations are due not only to this year's winners, but to all of the participants who made this year's competition the largest yet," said Dr. Jose Arce, president of the AVMA. "It's wonderful to see so many students and veterinarians participate in an event that’s so important to the recognition and advancement of animal welfare in the veterinary profession and in our society. The knowledge, connections, and skills gained over the course of the contest will benefit the participants and the animals they treat for a lifetime."

The Animal Welfare Assessment Contest was founded at Michigan State University in 2001 as the Animal Welfare Judging and Assessment Contest (AWJAC) and was modeled after traditional livestock, horse and meat judging competitions. Funded in part through an educational grant from Merck Animal Health, today's Animal Welfare Assessment Contest brings students together from across the United States and internationally.

To learn more about the Animal Welfare Assessment Contest, visit AWJAC.org.

For more information, contact Michael San Filippo, AVMA media relations manager, at 847-732-6194 (cell/text) or msanfilippoatavma [dot] org.

About the AVMA

Serving more than 99,500 member veterinarians, the AVMA is the nation's leading representative of the veterinary profession, dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of animals, humans and the environment. Founded in 1863 and with members in every U.S. state and territory and more than 60 countries, the AVMA is one of the largest veterinary medical organizations in the world. Informed by our members' unique scientific training and clinical knowledge, the AVMA supports the crucial work of veterinarians and advocates for policies that advance the practice of veterinary medicine and improve animal and human health.