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Merck Animal Health fosters next generation of poultry veterinarians: Announces 2019 AAAP scholarship recipients

5 March 2019, at 12:00a.m.

In partnership with the American Association of Avian Pathologists Foundation (AAAP Foundation) – the charitable arm of the AAAP – Merck Animal Health (known as MSD Animal Health outside the United States and Canada) is proud to announce that it has awarded ten $5,000 scholarships to second- and third-year veterinary students focused on poultry health.

“These standout recipients will be instrumental to the future of poultry production,” said Justin Welsh, DVM. Executive Director, Livestock Technical Services, Merck Animal Health. “We’re proud to support these students in their educational pursuits and look forward to the impact they will make in the years to come to help us advance the science of healthier animals.”

“Projecting ahead 30 years, these are the future veterinarians who will ensure healthy flocks are producing safe and wholesome eggs and poultry meat in the global food supply,” said Dr. Fred Hoerr, President of the AAAP Foundation. “We are fortunate to partner with Merck Animal Health to help identify these students and support their education.”

The following students are the 2019 scholarship recipients:

Zachary Adams of Preston, Iowa, is a second-year student at the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Zachary earned a bachelor’s degree in agriculture and animal science from Iowa State University. In addition to completing several externships, he interned with Jennie-O Tukey Store and worked as a research assistant in a poultry genetics research lab. After graduating, he intends to obtain his master’s degree and work for a turkey production company.

Lydia Anderson of Dacula, Georgia, is a third-year student at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in neuroscience and behavioral biology from Emory University and doctorate degree in infectious diseases from the University of Georgia. Lydia has served as a technician and research fellow for the centers for Disease Control and Prevention and interned with Merck Animal Health and Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health. She plans to work in academia or industry after graduating to help pioneer innovative and accessible approaches for clinical disease interventions.

Jacob Carlson of Elk Grove, California, is a third-year student at the Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine. He earned a bachelor’s degree in animal science at California State University-Fresno. He spent multiple years working for Mitchell Farms in Elk Grove, interned with the National Turkey Federation and worked for the Kansas Department of Agriculture’s Emergency Management and Animal Health Team. After graduating, Jacob plans to become a staff veterinarian for a poultry company.

Dallas Clontz of Monroe, North Carolina, is a third-year student at the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Dallas earned bachelor’s degrees in animal science and poultry science from North Carolina State University. Dallas received a research scholar grant and conducted research on the pathogenesis of spondylitis caused by Enterococcus cecorum in broiler chickens last summer, and completed a live operations internship with Tyson Foods in 2017. After graduating, Dallas plans to complete a residency in anatomic pathology and become a board-certified member of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists.

Theodore Derksen of Dalton, Ohio, is a second-year student at the Western University of Health Sciences College of Veterinary Medicine. He earned a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Cornell University and a master’s degree in animal biology from the University of California-Davis. Theodore gained experience working as a poultry health intern with Hillicker’s Ranch Fresh Eggs. After graduating, he plans to practice as a poultry veterinarian while working to create legislation regarding the care and management of poultry.

Valerie Marcano of Athens, Georgia, is a third-year student at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine. She earned a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Cornell University and served as a veterinary student intern for the National Poultry Improvement Plan. Valerie aspires to safeguard the health of agricultural resources after she graduates by being active in both the US Government and poultry industry.

Nerisa Riedl of Huntington Beach, California, is a third-year student at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Nerisa earned a bachelor’s degree in animal science from the University of California-Davis and has experience working as an animal care technician and research assistant in a developmental genetics laboratory. She is currently employed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Services. After graduating, Nerisa plans to work with the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Services as a veterinary medical officer.

Tatum Odland of Plymouth, Minnesota, is a third-year student at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine. Tatum earned a bachelor’s degree in animal science from the University of Minnesota. Tatum has completed several internships, including the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and Sunrise Farms. After graduating, Tatum plans to begin a career with the United States Department of Agriculture.

Michaela Olson of Janesville, Minnesota, is a second-year student at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine. She earned a bachelor’s degree in animal science from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. Michaela worked as a student lab and animal technician at the University of Minnesota Turkey Nutrition Laboratory. She plans to address current and future challenges in poultry production and health after graduating.

Grayson Walker of Collettsville, North Carolina, is a second-year student at the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine. He earned both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in poultry science from North Carolina State University. Grayson has interned with BioResource International and plans to obtain his doctorate degree after graduating before pursuing a career in academia.

Learn more about the AAAP Foundation

Editor at The Poultry Site

Ryan worked in conservation from 2007-2017, during which time he operated a rainbow trout hatchery in Canada for the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority. As editor of The Poultry Site, he now writes about challenges and opportunities in the global poultry industry and agri-food chain.

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