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BI veterinary scholars program marks 30th year

200 DVM students are immersed in research this summer.

BI veterinary scholars program marks 30th year

Drug maker Boehringer Ingelheim knows what more than 200 veterinary students are doing during their summer vacation: Conducting research into everything from cancer and diabetes to antibiotic resistance and emerging diseases.

The Veterinary Scholars program, now in its 30th year, awards $5,000 stipends to rising second-year students from schools of veterinary medicine across North America and Europe. The funding comes from Boehringer Ingelheim and participating universities.

“The Veterinary Scholars program provides an invaluable opportunity for students to learn the basic laboratory and data-analysis skills that set the foundation for scientific rigor,” said Roberto Alva-Valdes, DVM, MS, Ph.D., executive director of the Boehringer Ingelheim Veterinary Scholars program. “They learn to develop a compelling hypothesis and gain exposure to the complexity and iterative process involved in proving concepts, as well as the critical thinking and communications skills required to translate and present their theories and findings to others.”

The students will travel to Boston in late July to present their research findings at the National Veterinary Scholars Symposium.

Participating students — about 3,500 over 30 years — have gone on to distinguished careers.

Jessica Bertout, VMD, Ph.D., was a Boehringer Ingelheim student scholar in 2003. This year she started the Seattle company CASTR Alliance, or Companion Animal Studies for Translational Research.

The scholars program taught her to prepare research proposals, presentations and study reports.

“All of those things are skills that I use every day,” Dr. Bertout said. “I learned how broad the opportunities are for veterinarians interested in research.”

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