By Katheryn L. Sullivan Kutil on September 26, 2017

Partnered with the MSU College of Veterinary Medicine’s Food Systems Fellowship Program, Merck Animal Health awarded scholarships to veterinary medical students for the fourth year in a row.

Merck Animal Health has been in a partnership with the MSU College of Veterinary Medicine’s Food Systems Fellowship (FSF) Program since 2006. As a commitment to the future of food animal veterinarians and agriculture, Merck Animal Health began awarding three $5,000 scholarships in 2013. Since then, students who have participated in FSF and are still enrolled in the veterinary professional training program at the College are awarded the opportunity of being able to apply for the Merck Animal Health Scholarship.

Merck Animal Health is a research-driven company that specializes in developing, manufacturing, and marketing a range of veterinary medicines and services. Merck’s mission of advancing animal healthcare is shown through its dedication to educating future food animal veterinarians.

“The College’s partnership with Merck Animal Health supports the development of veterinarians working in the food animal industry,” says Dan Grooms, DVM, PhD, chair of the College’s Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences.

Since 2006, FSF has provided experiences for veterinary students focused on working in the food animal industry. Facilitated by 23 local, national, and international agriculture industry partners, students participate in a unique and valuable summer experience that trains them to become well-qualified veterinarians who advance animal and human health.   

Since FSF launched, 127 food animal veterinary students have participated in the Program, and 12 of those students have received Merck Animal Health Scholarships.

“We believe the skills gained from the FSFs will make these future professionals better prepared to meet the needs of food animal agriculture, not only in Michigan, but nationally and internationally,” says Grooms.

Recipients Courtney Doan and Matt Kuhn are in the DVM Class of 2018. Kuhn also is a second-year PhD student in the College's Comparative Medicine and Integrative Biology Program, studying Bovine Immunology. The third recipient, Kayla Niel, is in the DVM Class of 2019. Niel also is pursuing a Master’s degree in Food Safety.

“It was a great honor to receive this award,” says Kuhn, who worked at the MSU Meadowbrook Laboratory during his FSF. “The fellowship enabled me to expand upon my knowledge in dairy medicine as well as in dairy cattle research.”

The Scholarship also offers relief of some financial strain to its recipients. “As an out-of-state, low-income student, the Merck Animal Health scholarship will help me tremendously in the long run with my advancement toward becoming a poultry and regulatory medicine veterinarian” says Niel.

Grooms says that at a time when DVM students are under extreme financial stress, Merck’s Scholarship awards are more important than ever before. “The support of Merck Animal Health to the College’s FSF program is a testament to their commitment to the sustainability of animal agriculture long term and the educational advancement of veterinary students as they become stewards of animal health,” says Grooms.