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Vet students earn national military scholarships

By Jeffrey S. Douglas

Spectrum Volume 18 Issue 36 - July 25, 1996

Two veterinary students in the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine have been selected to receive full scholarships leading to commissioned officer status in the Army Veterinary Corps through the United States Army Health Professions Scholarship Program.

Jennifer Ratigan, a member of the Class of '99, and Cathy Watson, a member of the Class of '97, were two of five veterinary students selected from around the nation for the scholarships. A third VMRCVM student, Carie Guppy, ranked second among 24 alternates.

A total of 96 students from the nation's 27 colleges of veterinary medicine competed for the five scholarship positions, according to Michael Reardon, the VMRCVM's career advisor. The Army recently resurrected the scholarship program for veterinary students, which was discontinued about 35 years ago.

"We're exceptionally proud of all three of these students," said College Dean Peter Eyre. "While their achievement is a result of their own personal and academic excellence, it reflects well on our Center for Government and Corporate Veterinary Medicine."

The VMRCVM operates a national CGCVM which specializes in helping prepare veterinarians for careers in non-traditional sectors of the profession. Students from around the country study with over 80 different government agencies and corporations through the program.

During recent ceremonies, Ratigan and Watson were commissioned second lieutenants in the United States Army Reserve's Medical Service Corps by Reardon, a retired colonel in the United States Army. Upon completion of their veterinary medical training, they will be promoted to captain and transferred to the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps.

Both scholarships include all tuition, books, fees, and other expenses related to the educational program. During 45 days each summer, military scholarship recipients receive full pay and allowances while performing an active-duty training period at military medical or research and development centers. Under the terms of the scholarship, they incur an active-duty obligation with the U.S. Army.

The Army's Veterinary Corps has comprehensive responsibilities for animal health, food safety and quality assurance, and research and development in U.S. military facilities at more than 1,000 locations in more than 40 countries throughout the world.

Army veterinarians help develop vaccines and antidotes to protect U.S. troops from chemical and biological-warfare agents, help ensure the integrity of the Army's food supply, and care for government-owned animals ranging from working dogs to marine mammals and ceremonial horses.