Meet the Recipients of the 2018 HSVMA Compassionate Care Scholarship!

August 17, 2018

We are happy to announce the winners of this year’s HSVMA Compassionate Care Scholarship!  For the third year in a row, we had the difficult task of choosing veterinary students who excelled at their efforts to promote animal advocacy and welfare while staying on course with their academic obligations.  The HSVMA Compassionate Care Scholarship was launched three years ago in partnership with Dr. Gary Block, co-owner of Ocean State Veterinary Services in Greenwich, Rhode Island, and HSVMA board member president.  Since then, Dr. Paula Kislak and Dr. Barry Kipperman, both HSVMA board members and California State Representatives, and Dr. Carrie Waters, our HSVMA Texas State Representative, have all offered their support to recognize these outstanding students. 

This year, over 40 students applied from veterinary schools in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean. They all deserve kudos for their dedication and action to promote animal welfare.  Dr. Carrie Waters says the following of this year’s winners: “This year's award recipients share an extraordinary dedication to animal welfare. They have demonstrated exemplary service enhancing the lives of animals, while creating innovative paths for others to follow. Their passion is inspirational.”  This year we had a tie for third place, so we are proud to share the profiles of this year's four award recipients!

2018 Compassionate Care Scholarship Recipients:



JACQUIE COBB - 1st Place

Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine, class of 2019

Jacquie’s dedication to helping dogs find their forever homes cannot be overstated.  Prior to applying to veterinary school, she was involved with animal rescue through personal fostering (over 112 animals!), her work as the Executive Director of the Humane Society of Henderson County, Kentucky, and ultimately starting her own non-profit, Second City Canine Rescue, which adopts over 500 dogs annually in the Chicago area.  Jacquie continues to act as President of Second City while in vet school, and uses her resources to help the good Samaritan program at the Auburn teaching hospital.  Dr. Kendon Kuo, Assistant Clinical Professor of Small Animal Emergency and Critical Care at Auburn, says, “I am immensely proud of Jacquie’s accomplishments. Our profession is lucky to have her. I know she will continue to be a force in the field of animal welfare and rescue.”

Aside from her direct care accomplishments, Jacquie has shown incredible leadership qualities while attending Auburn.  She has served as the president of the Veterinary Business Management Association, student representative of HSVMA, national student representative of the International Veterinary Forensic Science Association, president of the Integrative Medicine Club (which she founded at Auburn as a student chapter of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association), and Treasurer of the student chapter of the Association of Shelter Veterinarians.  And the list goes on!  This year she was busy with an externship at The Cat Depot in Sarasota, Florida, an externship at ASPCA Spay/Neuter Alliance (formerly Humane Alliance), and a rotation at the Georgia Equine Veterinary Hospital.  When asked how she has time for all her activities, she says, “I think it’s critical for me to make the time, as it keeps me focused on why I’m here. Working with those animals and selfless humans gives me an incredible feeling of joy and altruism…” 

In the spring of this year, Jacquie applied for and received a grant from HSVMA for a World Spay Day clinic.  A group of third-year vet students at Auburn, including Jacquie, partnered with Alabama Spay/Neuter to provide free spay/neuter services to members of the Birmingham community.  Jacquie’s passion for animal welfare has not gone without notice.  M. Daniel Givens, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the Auburn CVM wrote that Jacquie “has demonstrated an outstanding talent for organization and a deft hand for leadership.”  The Student American Veterinary Medical Association recognized her with the 2018 John Pitts Award, given to a member who has displayed exemplary service to the veterinary profession.  With such a strong foundation in animal advocacy, we are confident that Jacquie will continue to impress us with her skills as a veterinarian.

KELLY DULLI - 2nd Place

University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine, class of 2020

Kelly’s passion for helping community cats has been a theme in her time as a volunteer, a CVT and veterinary student.  When she was in technical school, she began volunteering at Dane County Friends of Ferals (now Madison Cat Project).  This organization works with area rescues and shelters to offer adoptions and care for feral and under socialized cats and any others who need extra help finding homes.  Kelly’s participation in many monthly spay days led to her involvement as veterinary student coordinator once in enrolled in vet school.  Her leadership in this position has increased awareness and education of community cat issues at her school and has fostered a strong, ongoing relationship between the University of Wisconsin, Madison Cat Project and HSVMA.  Dr. Susan Krebsbach, HSVMA supporter and founder of Dane County Friends of Ferals, says this about Kelly: “Kelly always demonstrates a tremendous amount of care and compassion towards her patients and the people who she is working with… I am very proud to be in the same profession with such a skilled, committed, and benevolent future veterinarian!” 

As President of the HSVMA Student Chapter at University of Wisconsin, Kelly led the most active HSVMA student chapter in the country.  She oversaw organization of and budgeting for several speakers, a RAVS suture lab, and a spay lab.  Kelly made sure all the cadavers for the spay lab were humanely sourced and coordinated with Madison Cat Project to make the spay lab a success.  She put in personal time and resources to transport much needed supplies.  Her dedication to the chapter was reflected by the popularity of the activities and the educational impact they had on the participating students.  Dr. Karen Hershberger-Braker, Lecturer in the Department of Comparative Biosciences and Pathobiological Sciences at University of Wisconsin, and HSVMA faculty co-advisor for the student chapter, says, “Kelly has demonstrated a strong interest in shelter medicine, seeking out varied experiences to enhance her understanding of ways she can aid at risk populations of animals.” 

Besides maintaining her involvement with Madison Cat Project, Kelly volunteers at the Dane County Humane Society as a patient care volunteer and she managed to fit in a RAVS trip this summer to Washington State!  There is no doubt that Kelly will continue to fulfill her calling to “help community cats, other cats whose misunderstood behavior may put them at risk, and to help their human caretakers better understand feline behavior.”


Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine, class of 2021

Although she hasn’t yet completed veterinary school, Montana has already made an incredible difference to the lives of pets and people in her community.  As a student in the Animal Health Technology program at Vanier College, she bought together her resources from school and her connections on the Kahnawake Mohawk Territory.  With the help of her veterinary professors and the Kahnawake Animal Protection department, Montana set up a low cost spay/neuter clinic in Kahnawake.  Since then, over 700 animals in her community have been sterilized!  In addition, she also started a microchip clinic which provides the required identification for dogs in Kahnawake.  Montana has continued to contribute her time by administering microchips at these clinics.   These clinics are the only available health care for pets in Kahnawake.  Her initiation of these services has already made a huge impact on animal welfare.

For the past several years, Montana has also worked as an Animal Health Technician at the Montreal SPCA.  Her job includes giving treatments, assisting with surgeries, lab work, and speaking with clients.  She was often the only medical personnel present on site to triage incoming animals.  Dr. Gabrielle Carriere, Head Veterinarian of the Montreal SPCA, says that Montana’s “dynamic personality allows her to seamlessly integrate into a team environment and she is highly respected and appreciated by her colleagues because of her warmth, her forward thinking, her willingness to help and her efficiency when completing tasks.”

Upon completing veterinary school, Montana looks forward to bringing more medical care to the pets in her community.  Working in Kahnawake, she says she “will also be able to teach and bring awareness to important health issues concerning animal health, an aspect that is greatly overlooked in my community, such as the importance of sterilization, parasite prevention, and annual generalized physical exams of small and large animals.”  When Montana receives her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, she will become the first Mohawk woman to hold this degree!  Her drive to achieve and her strong bond with her community will continue to elevate animal welfare standards in Kahnawake and establish her as a role model for future veterinarians.


Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, class of 2020

Renee said it best herself in her scholarship application:  “My philosophy of veterinary work and animal welfare is simple.  Every life is equal, and suffering should be eliminated wherever possible.”  She has demonstrated this philosophy in all her activities.  She has been a Class 1 New York State licensed wildlife rehabilitator with a rabies vector species endorsement since 2011, and works as a Veterinary Student Technician in the CUCVM Janet L. Swanson Wildlife Health Center.  She also finds the time to volunteer at the Tompkins County SPCA and was the Lead Veterinary Assistant at the Chemung County SPCA Shelter Outreach Services (SOS) clinics.  SOS is a non-profit organization that provides high quality/high volume spay and neuter services to the Finger Lakes region of New York in collaboration with the Cornell vet school.  

This summer, she honed her skills with wellness exams and spay/neuter services on a RAVS trip in the Dakotas.  RAVS provides these services free to residents on Native American reservations.  Renee also found the time to spend a week in Colombia with FARVets, a non-profit organization that promotes animal welfare through education, wellness and sterilization.  Dr. Michelle White, in the Department of Comparative Biomedical Sciences at Cornell University, said this of Renee: “She doesn’t just hold the rare beliefs that all animals should be treated with compassion whether they are considered livestock, rabies vectors, or strays; she serves as the person that actually puts in the work to improve their lives and educate others as to why they should care and put in the work themselves.”

As an award winning public speaker, Renee has plans to continue advocating for animals and providing the expertise required for giving animals a voice.  Currently, she is helping organize and the 2018 HSVMA Animal Welfare Symposium at Cornell University CVM in October, and there’s no doubt she will help make this year’s event a success!

Click here to read about last year's winners of the HSVMA Compassionate Care Scholarship.


The 2019 HSVMA Compassionate Care Scholarship application will be available next year. Contact [email protected] with any questions about the program.