APC Veterinary Scholarship Recipients
2021 Scholarship Recipient – Savanna Smith – Oklahoma State College of Veterinary Medicine
I am a third-year veterinary student at Oklahoma State CVM and I am pursuing a career in small animal emergency medicine. I grew up in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and went to Texas A&M University where I double majored in Entomology and Biomedical Sciences. Even though I’m a Texan, I have loved calling Stillwater my home for the past three years!
I keep myself busy with leadership roles such as being the president of the emergency club, secretary of the surgery club, and sitting on the Sustainability Committee for the school. I also highly prioritize volunteering in my life. I am the senior co-chair of a program that pairs shelter dogs with at risk students in an effort to facilitate socialization of the dogs and instill good pet ownership in the next generation. I also help connect the community with and run the HVHQSN clinic for feral cats the vet school puts on each month.
If I’m not running around the school like a crazy person, you can most likely find me hiking with my dog Rosie out on the local trails or camping at a lake. I am preparing to go on a five day thru-hike on our inter-year break and will hopefully one day tackle the Pacific Crest Trail (which runs from the southern end of California all the way up through Washington!).
This scholarship supports future veterinarians so they can continue to make a difference in the world as they plow through and absorb their education. I am so thankful to be this year’s recipient and can’t wait to see what is on the horizon.
2020 Scholarship Recipient: Natassjia Ragbeer – Tuskegee University
I am a third-year veterinary student from Tuskegee University pursuing a career in mixed animal medicine. I was born and raised in south Florida and graduated with a B.S. in Biology from Florida State University. I have held various leadership positions during my time in vet school including working as a microanatomy tutor, Vice President of the Dental Club, Secretary for the American Association of Equine Practitioner’s, and Treasurer for my class’ e-board to name a few. While I take my role as a student seriously, I always make time to have a little fun! In my spare time, you can find me coaching lacrosse, enjoying the outdoors, weightlifting, or dancing with friends! Thank you so much to the American Pointer Club for this amazing scholarship opportunity that will allow me to continue working towards achieving my DVM!
2019 Scholarship Recipient: Shelby Baden – University of Georgia
My name is Shelby Baden and I am a third-year veterinary student at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM). I grew up outside of Atlanta and went to the University of Georgia for my undergraduate studies as well – Go Dawgs! After graduating, I spent the next four years working in France and California. It was during this time that I decided that my passion resided in veterinary medicine. Upon finishing veterinary school, I intend to work in small and exotic animal general practice. I am also currently working on my Small Animal Veterinary Acupuncture Certification at the Chi Institute. I love that acupuncture offers an alternative approach in the management of chronic diseases and am excited to incorporate it into my future practice.
Over the past three years, I have become extremely interested in mental health among veterinary professionals. I have devoted a significant amount of time to promoting this cause, both through social media and yoga. I became a yoga instructor during my second-year of veterinary school and taught once a week for my peers at the CVM. I also taught goat yoga at a local animal rescue, which I plan to continue as much as I can while on clinical rotations. Additionally, I have a passion for shelter medicine and volunteer at a local rescue in Athens, GA, both through spay and neuter clinics and fostering. Personally, I have one dog, a 3-year-old black lab mix named Apollo. He definitely has the energy of a pointer and is the perfect companion during veterinary school.
I am honored to be the recipient of the American Pointer Club scholarship as I continue to work towards my veterinary degree. It is though through organizations like APC that I hope to promote continuing education and responsible breeding to all of my future clients. I am grateful for organizations like these who support veterinary students while we pursue our education.
2018 Scholarship Recipient: Travis Grodkiewicz – Tufts University
“My name is Travis Grodkiewicz and I am completing my fourth and final year of veterinary school at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. I have always had a passion for animals and I was fortunate enough to grow up surrounded by cats, dogs, chickens, goats, sheep, pigs, and cows. It did not help that my father is a veterinarian and introduced me at a young age to the joys of the profession.
Throughout my childhood, my family has had three Wirehaired Pointing Griffons which have excelled both in hunt tests as well as in agility and tracking competitions. I aspire to be a small animal general practitioner and to develop long lasting and fulfilling relationships with animals and their owners. I cannot express how grateful I am for the opportunity to be selected as this year’s winner of the American Pointer Club Veterinary Scholarship. I would like to thank the APC for their generosity and their continued support of veterinary students as well as the veterinary profession.”
2017 Scholarship Recipient: Linnea Tracy – University of Pennsylvania
My name is Linnea Tracy, and I am currently completing my 3rd year at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. I grew up in Nebraska in a community very blessed by the presence of an excellent, passionate local humane society. By volunteering at the shelter in high school, and later as a pre-veterinary undergraduate student, I gained a great respect for the population health aspects of veterinary medicine and the incredible work of shelter veterinarians. As a veterinary student, I decided to pursue a concurrent MPH to emphasize population health in my curriculum, and eventually decided to pursue a career in avian medicine. Nevertheless, throughout my education I have stayed very active in the shelter medicine community by helping to care for animals in Philadelphia shelters as a medical volunteer, serving on the board of PennVet’s Shelter Medicine Club, engaging and helping to organize community vaccine clinics, and participating in community outreach to raise awareness for pet health and homeless pets. I hope to continue my involvement in advocating for the health of homeless pets in the future, and am very grateful for the support of the American Pointer Club in pursuing my dream of practicing veterinary population medicine, both in production bird and pet populations.
2016 Scholarship Recipient: Megan Foley – Purdue University
I am Megan Foley and I grew up in northwest Indiana. I completed my undergrad and am currently in my third year of the DVM program at Purdue University. I grew up alongside loveable Labradors and showed them in 4-H for 9 years. While in undergrad, I adopted a mutt that was supposed to be my running partner, but it turned out that he prefers napping! During veterinary school I married an Air Force veteran who brought a goofy Golden to the marriage. He quickly proved to be more promising than my terrier-mix when it came to training. I became a member of our local AKC-affiliated kennel club and started taking classes with him. Just a year and a half after our first agility trial, we are now competing in Master’s Standard and Jumpers with Weaves and loving every minute of it! I also trial him in obedience and we are working on our Open title. We have tried our hand at a hunt test and both had a blast! We look forward to another opportunity to show off what he was bred to do. I have also tried barn hunt with my terrier-mix and he is starting to compete in obedience and agility. Both my dogs are therapy dogs through Pet Partners and the Purdue Veterinary School has a therapy dog club where we go out into the community at libraries, schools, nursing homes, etc. with our therapy animals. I am also on my local kennel club’s community outreach committee where we use opportunities to share more about our club, the AKC, and canine performance events with the public. In our spare time, my husband and I enjoy taking the dogs on hikes and camping any chance we get! During August 2015 I attended the AKC Canine Health Conference through a program with the OFA and I had an amazing experience meeting with the various breeders from different breed parent clubs and the veterinarians doing research. This experience helped define my career goal to become a veterinarian with an interest in canine theriogenology. I am honored to be the recipient of the APC scholarship and I strive to educate my colleagues on the AKC, responsible breeders, and the contribution breed parent clubs, like the American Pointer Club, make to canine health research that will help all dogs – purebred and mixed breed.
2015 Scholarship Recipient: Renee Poche – Louisiana State University
I am from the small town of Breaux Bridge, LA, and grew up always knowing that I wanted to become a veterinarian. I graduated Magna Cum Laude from ULL in 2013, and started veterinary school at LSU the following August. I begin clinics next week; another step closer to graduating! I love what I do and work hard to make in impact in this field.
2014 Scholarship Recipient: Matthew Cook – University of Pennsylvania
I am currently a 3rd year veterinary student at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. A native of Freehold, NJ, I grew up with a passion for working with animals. I graduated from the Academy of Allied Health and Science in Neptune, NJ and went on to graduate magna cum laude from Loyola University Maryland in 2012. While in veterinary school, I conducted research on swine vocalization patterns and was selected to present results of that work at the 2013 American Association of Swine Veterinarians Annual Conference in Dallas, Texas. I also was selected for a position to work at the Vet and Agric Consultants Clinic in Gaborone, Botswana where I had the opportunity to gain international experience working with small animals and wildlife in Africa. While in school, I have served as the president of the Student Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Club. When not in class, I work part time as a veterinary technician at an emergency clinic in Lakewood, New Jersey. After graduating from veterinary school, I hope to complete and internship and residency and work towards a career in small animal emergency and critical care. Aside from veterinary school, I enjoy traveling, reading, supporting the New York Yankees and Giants, and hanging out with my purebred Bull Mastiff, Lola. I am honored and thankful for the APC’s generous gift, help lessening my financial burden, and nod of confidence. Any time I see a pointer in practice, I will remember this honor and gift.
2013 Scholarship Recipient: Shavaughn Snipas – University of Pennsylvania
At a young age I had an admiration of and true passion for veterinary medicine, especially pure bred canines. The first book I read cover to cover was an encyclopedia of Dogs that my mother bought me for my 10th birthday. After graduating from Valley Stream Central High School in 2006, I attended Fordham University in the Bronx to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Science in order to complete the pre-requisites necessary for veterinary school. I graduated from Fordham University in 2010 and then traveled to Philadelphia Pennsylvania to attend veterinary school at the University of Pennsylvania.
After working in a small animal practice in Rockville Centre, NY since a senior in high school, I developed a strong interest in providing exceptional veterinary care as well as emergency services to the numerous companion animals in the Long Island area. Emergency medicine appeals to my love of thinking fast on my toes, providing urgent care, and giving my all to save a life. Furthermore, I hope to bridge the gap between breeders and veterinarians by working with them one on one to develop proper protocols and recommendations for the health of the puppies and breeding dogs. Through my research in Therapy Dogs where I tested the cortisol levels of dogs in therapy settings, I have also become very interested in the breeding and training of therapy canines.
With my degree, and the strong desire to pursue my interests, I aspire to become a veterinarian that can help prevent health issues before they become a problem through meticulous work with breeders and clients.
Words cannot express how grateful I am for the generosity of this scholarship. I would like to thank the American Pointer Club for their assistance in the pursuit of my ambitions.
2012 Scholarship Recipient – Jenna Dockweiler – Kansas State University
My name is Jenna Dockweiler, and I am a second-year veterinary student at Kansas State University. My involvement with dog shows began when I acquired my first Pointer, Basil (CH Paladen’s Jack of All Trades RE CGC TDI). After my first time in the ring, I knew I was hooked! My career goal is to enhance the lives of dogs and the people who love them by researching diseases both species are susceptible to, such as cancer. I am very thankful for the support of the American Pointer Club, whose generous scholarship will help make the tough financial load of veterinary school lighter!
2011 Scholarship Recipient: Chad Malinak – Louisiana State University
I was born in Harvey, LA to a family that had always owned AKC dogs, but they had never even considered showing dogs until I was thirteen. My older sister Lisa and I had watched shows on TV and wanted to try it out. So she bought a Labrador Retriever and started going to dog shows with the dog’s breeder. Soon, I was tagging along to shows with my sister. The more I learned at shows the more my love for dogs developed. My sister told me I should get a dog of my own, so I did some research and decided on a Vizsla. However, after talking to a breeder, I realized that I could not afford a Vizsla puppy. After further searching, I found a Pointer breeder that had one puppy left that was pet quality. Deciding to try showing in conformation anyways, I took my new dog, Shaker, into the ring. In a surprising twist, not only was his dog finishable, but at only 11 months, was the first dog from the litter to get a championship title.
At 14 years old I had gotten a late start in Junior Showmanship, but I worked hard to catch up to my peers. I began working with handlers Terry Galle and Robert Chaffin. I worked for them for several years, learning how to handle various breeds, deal with a multitude of client and dog-related issues, and become more polished as a handler. During the school year, I would meet them at shows on the weekends, but in the summer, I would hit the road with them for 8 to 12 weeks at a time.
While a junior, I qualified to show at Westminster in 2001 and 2002 and went to the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship in 2002. In 2003, I turned 18 and aged out of Juniors, but not before qualifying to show in Juniors at Westminster one last time. Because I had aged out, I spent the weeks leading up to Westminster working for handlers and practicing my handling skills. The night of Westminster, I entered the ring with the only goal of having fun and making my last experience as a Junior handler enjoyable. Shaker was on that night and showed his heart out and my handling skills were at their best from all the practice prior to the show. To my amazement, I left Juniors on the ultimate high note: winning Best Junior Handler at the Garden! That night was one of my proudest moments because I accomplished something few others in the sport have, and I did so with only four years of dog show experience.
After high school, I attended Louisiana Tech where I majored in animal science. Currently, I am in my fourth year of veterinary school at Louisiana State University. I wanted to become a vet because of my love for dogs. In 2000, my dad passed away and it way a very difficult period for me. However, the one thing consistent was my dog. I feel that because dogs are always there for us, even during our worst moments, I want to return the favor by devoting my life to helping animals. For me, it would be an honor to be able to give something back to man’s best friend.
Although I am unable to show dogs at the moment, dogs are still an important part of my life. I would like to someday have a successful show Pointer kennel, but I do not know when in my future career as a veterinarian will allow this to be possible. However, one thing is certain: no matter where my career takes me, a dog will always be by my side.