For DonorsFor Applicants

Betsy V Brown Veterinary Scholarship

Funded by
5 winners, $1,500 each
Application Deadline
Apr 12, 2023
Winners Announced
May 12, 2023
Education Level
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Education Level:
Graduate student in a veterinarian program

Betsy V Brown was a passionate animal advocate and dedicated caregiver.

Betsy knew that a loving home and proper veterinary care were crucial for households with animals. 

She wanted to leave behind a legacy of helping the next generation of superior veterinarians achieve their goals.

This scholarship seeks to honor Betsy V Brown’s love of animals by supporting veterinary students.

Any BIPOC veterinary student in graduate school may apply for this scholarship.

To apply, tell us where you see your career in three years and share a story about an animal you loved..

Selection Criteria:
Ambition, Need, Boldest Profile
Published February 11, 2023
Essay Topic

Where do you see your career in three years? Also, please write a story about an animal you loved.

400–600 words

Winning Applications

Jessica Vester
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State UniversityBlacksburg, VA
The first dog I ever owned was an answer to my prayers. For the longest time, I remember asking my dad for a dog. His response would be something like, “If you can find a dog for free, then sure.” I knew it was hard to find a dog for free it was nearly impossible. I prayed, and I prayed hard for a dog. One day, I stayed at a friend’s house and they were trying to rehome a 1-year-old Jack Russell Terrier because they were moving. The following morning when my parents came, I told them how my friend was trying to find a new home for the dog. It was when my dad agreed to keep the dog and we were able to take him home that I recognized how God hears me and cares, even if it’s just about a little girl who wants a dog. My dog is now 13 and I didn't know I could love something so much. His name is Russell and he is the cutest, most stubborn Jack Russell Terrier I’ve ever been blessed with. The things you are passionate about are not random; they are your calling. I believe it is my calling to be a doctor of veterinary medicine. I enjoy educating my family on the value of animals and what they offer. I am blessed to be a part of a family with a military and Christian background. It has encouraged me to pursue a profession where I can help others. I’ve always wanted to be a vet. It’s been a dream of mine since the early days. I enjoy helping animals as much as I enjoy being around them. I believe that veterinary medicine fully encompasses my appreciation of the sciences, my passion for understanding behavior, and my incessant love for animals. In three years, I intend to be a third-year veterinary student at Virginia Maryland Polytechnic Institute and State University while simultaneously pursuing a Master of Public Health degree. The dual degree opportunity will allow me to integrate my growing knowledge of veterinary medicine with my recognition of the interdependence of human, animal, and environmental health. Veterinary medicine provides a purposeful job with measurable security and versatility, yet what I love about it is the endless learning opportunities due to medical advances and the ability to promote animals’ health and welfare with a philanthropic heart. My volunteer and work experience with animals in the lab and clinical settings have developed my interest in veterinary medicine’s clinical and academic aspects. Animals are capable of impacting people’s lives positively. Studying Veterinary medicine will allow me to preserve their positive impact. As a long-time pet owner, combined with my experience with animals, I’ve only touched the surface of aiding in maintaining their well-being. Despite what I have contributed, I have gained and learned much more than just book knowledge. From gaining nonjudgmental companions who love unconditionally to learning better communication skills with people and animals, I have expanded my network, had the opportunity to learn more about the ways of animals, and developed a deeper level of humility. I can't wait to continue learning and see all of the opportunities and experiences that being a veterinary student will bring.
Mat Sartorato
University of GeorgiaRome, GA
After graduation, I hope to specialize in surgery so that I may become an expert in the field. I am determined to pursue a surgical specialization because my skills and passions best align with surgery. In addition, I understand that those who make groundbreaking impacts in their field are undeniably invested and passionate about their specialty. While I continue to grow into my career, I hope to give back to the profession and community in a few ways. I plan on providing top-of-the-line care to all patients, treat clients with compassion and patience, and offer respect and encouragement to my colleagues (veterinary technicians and staff included). The intent of being radically loving and kind to all is to encourage a healthy community where we support one another. In fact, I believe that a network of communities with these traits is a necessary framework on which our field may advance. In addition, I have a heart for missions. I humbly hope to be included in as many missions as I can in my lifetime. This includes traveling locally and abroad to help and equip those that are financially unstable and/or lacking education to care for their animals. Having first-generation immigrant parents from Brazil and having seen conditions in third world countries, are what urge me to volunteer my time and skills in veterinary missions. In the veterinary sense, helping and equipping those in need is a necessary step in achieving a global community where humans and animals enhance each other's lives. Lastly, as I am honing my skills with years of experience and studying, I aspire to conduct research and pioneer surgical techniques and contribute to the creation of new biomedical instruments. With most things, I convince myself that there must be a better way to do it. With this attitude and the help of my colleagues, we will make strides to advance the veterinary field in tangible ways. For example, as an anatomy TA this past year, I have helped dissect prosections. I was convinced that adaptations could be made to some of the surgical instruments used to dissect to make the process more efficient. With the help of my professor, we have developed an attachment for hemostats that might be a candidate for a patent. That said, I dream that this is only a sample of what I am meant to achieve in the profession. Now, here is a brief story of my first pet, Bugs. Bugs was a bunny that I got when I was very little— this explains the name, haha. Bugs and I loved to play. I would let him loose upstairs and run around with him, playing hide and seek and tag. Bugs taught me at a young age how to care for an animal— cleaning a cage, feeding, water, enrichment, etc. I loved Bugs. One year after I got him, he sadly passed away. I was coming home from my birthday party and found him dead in his cage with foam coming out of his nostrils. I’ve now come to realize that he likely had some viral infection. At that time though, I knew I wanted to go into the veterinary field so that I could keep this from happening to other animals. That is how deeply Bugs impacted me.
Loren saunders
Ohio State University-Main CampusColumbus, OH
Three years from now I see myself in my clinical rotations at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine, and in a few weeks waking across the stage at my hooding ceremony. I graduated from Ohio University in 2022 with my Bachelor's degree in Biological Sciences. I applied to vet school the fall before I graduated and I received the best news of my life on August 9th, 2022. I had finally made it to my dream school and I am in my first year, I have a long way to go before I can call myself Dr. Saunders but this first year has flown by and the next three will too. Hopefully at this point in my career, I will have settled and decided on what I want to study. I love working with horses but I fear that this career choice will limit me from what I wish to achieve in life. Three years from now I also hope to see my equestrian riding career improved. I want to participate in show jumping Grand Prix and I would love to get to the level to show internationally. I also have a great interest in emergency medicine, needless to say, I am open to whatever calls to me. An animal that I fell in love with was an animal that I never owned. After my first year as an undergrad at Ohio University, I worked for a local thoroughbred breeding/training barn. There was a beautiful bay mare that the owners of the property had just bought from an auction to be a new broodmare. I fell in love with her right away, not only was she a beautiful horse but she was also smart and even though she had her wild thoroughbred moments and reared on me one day, she was sweet. There were days that I was cleaning stalls and I would just sit in her stall when I needed a break. I felt at peace around her, and I liked to think that she enjoyed my company too. Unfortunately, she had severe hoof issues that required her to wear special medical boots and to be on little to no restrictive turnout. After the summer was over I returned to school and I didn't keep ties with my employers so I cannot say what happened to her or where she is now. Whenever someone asks me about my favorite horse I have to say her and of course my own Ms. B.
Heidi Kim
Cornell UniversityIthaca, NY
When I first met Mighty Mouse, a 15-week old kitten, she looked like a bad taxidermy. Presented to my clinic by a rescue organization for stiffness, hypotonia, and constipation, she weighed just 1.5 kg. Euthanasia was recommended given her lack of a diagnosis, so I volunteered to foster her while our veterinary team researched. Mighty Mouse needed an advocate, and I knew too well from my own struggling parents how much of a difference one could make. Due to language and cultural barriers, my low-income immigrant parents never asked for financial or legal assistance. Likewise, my community members in Koreatown Los Angeles rarely sought medical care for themselves, much less their pets. In my youth, my family ran a 24-hour sauna which was a safe space for our neighbors to discuss the neglect and mistreatment we faced as immigrants. Over time, it became a place of belonging where shared hardships fostered camaraderie. Nurtured in this environment, I learned that community builders can cultivate the resilience needed to overcome systemic adversities. As a result, I developed a poignant desire to aid both the people and animals around me who suffered wordlessly. Today, I am a first-year veterinary student at Cornell who continues to delve into spaces where ending animal suffering requires human action. By assisting laboratory animal veterinarians, I advocated for robust veterinary ethics in humane animal testing for medical advancement. At my small animal clinic, I bridged owners, their pet’s well-being, and public health together through preventative medicine. Knowing that Mighty Mouse did not have someone to guide her path towards treatment like our other patients, I could not stand idly by. While fostering, I noticed that she had retained many of her juvenile traits past the average developmental stages. After reviewing case studies for potential differentials, I convinced the rescue to authorize bloodwork to test for congenital hypothyroidism. Streamlining this affirmative outcome was exhilarating for me and cemented my belief that I am made for this field. As a veterinarian, I aspire to create safe spaces and bridge gaps like my family’s sauna did for my community. By collaborating with owners in their pet’s care, I hope to invite families into the process of the medicine I practice, regardless of their socioeconomic backgrounds. Furthermore, I hope to become a voice for the ones in the veterinary community that we often forget to advocate for: the animals without support systems, pet owners that lack access to veterinary care, the veterinarians and their staff bruised by compassion fatigue, and even my peers, who will be at the frontline of care for the influx of pandemic pets. Three years in the future, I will have graduated veterinary school and hopefully will be starting a rotating internship. Working at the small animal emergency department here at Cornell has inspired me to pursue emergency medicine and critical care as a specialty. Closer to retirement, I hope to donate my services to local animal shelters in struggling communities by assisting in spay/neuter programs. I also plan to mentor fellow upcoming BIPOC veterinarians once I have established myself in my career to proactively support inclusivity and diversity recognition in this field.
Sofia Zayas
University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphia, PA
In 2024 I will graduate from veterinary school. In three years I will still be a recently graduated veterinary student, testing out my wings and trying to be the best animal health professional I can be. I hope that at that time I will have a good mentor who can guide me as I enter into the veterinary profession. Even if I have left veterinary school, I will still be learning and trying to hone my veterinary skills. I don't know exactly where I will be in three years. My goal is to eventually return to my home Puerto Rico. I am very passionate about the current crisis we have of animal homelessness on the island. So many dogs and cats find themselves on the streets of Puerto Rico, and very few of them get adopted on the island after being rescued. Many of the rescue groups on the island collaborate with veterinarians to give these animals a second opportunity and a happy and healthy life. Often times after seeking veterinary care, these animals are then shipped on airplanes to shelters on the mainland US. I wish to contribute to these efforts of finding these beautiful animals homes. I also want to contribute to the massive spay/neuter and vaccination clinics so that we can decrease the amount of animals that find themselves homeless and provide the basic services for pet owners with low income. All animals deserve to have their life respected with dignity and access to good healthcare when possible. However, I am unsure whether I will be pursuing a specialty/residency before returning home. There are not many veterinary specialists in Puerto Rico. It would be very beneficial to my people if I could become a Board Certified veterinarian because I could provide them services that otherwise they might not have found on the island. If I do decide to go down the route of specializing, it would be either in Shelter Medicine or Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation. Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation for dogs (and cats) is a relatively new and growing field. At the University of Pennsylvania I have been very blessed with having the Working Dog Center (WDC). In fact, in the summers of 2018 and 2019 I had volunteered and interned respectively at the WDC and I realized that I loved sports medicine for dogs. As an intern, I was assigned to the single-purpose (scent detection) team and a Golden Retriever named Riley. He was the cutest and friendliest boy with the most incredible nose. He was really good at detecting and alerting at the scent he was taught. Unfortunately, he failed the program after I left because he only worked on his own terms and he was more pet motivated (in true Golden Retriever fashion) than food or toy motivated. I learned so much from Riley and the WDC, and the WDC opened my eyes to other possibilities for veterinarians that I had never thought of. I came to PennVet because of how much I enjoyed that experience. My ideal would be to focus more on the rehabilitation side of the field as I think it would be more applicable for pets in Puerto Rico. I could provide rehabilitation services such as laser therapy and acupuncture, and teach clients how to do at-home exercises with their dogs. So, if I do pursue the route of residency, I hope that I am in a clinic with a good work/life balance that is teaching me all I need to know about the specialty and providing me all the tools I need to pass my boards.
'Denver' La Force
University of Minnesota-Twin CitiesSaint Paul, MN
My career will be just beginning to bloom in three years. I will have just graduated and be starting out as a fledgling veterinarian. While I currently work for a corporate small animal clinic, I hope to find a practice that will continue to educate me in exotic/pocket pet medicine. I noticed a severe gap in the availability of veterinarians who are capable of treating such pets as rodents, fish, birds, reptiles and amphibians, etc. I actually came across this niche at my current summer internship. The doctor whom I am mentoring under randomly fostered some Guinea Pigs during her third year of schooling and apparently had a difficult time finding a veterinarian who specialized in pocket pets. This set her up to search for her own knowledge, which has spread to her career. She mainly sees companion animals, but will see pocket pets too. This unexpected exposure has made me decide to change my trajectory and pursue exotic/pocket pet medicine instead of traditional small animal. I look forward to learning as much as I can in school to prepare for my upcoming career. In my late twenties, I was the proud owner of the World's Dumbest Weimaraner. His name was Loki. But not after the Marvel Comic character, the original myth, where Loki always seems to get himself in trouble and it's never really his fault. While I have a plethora of funny and amusing stories,which I call the Misadventures of Loki, this is one of my favorites. He and I had just moved to Florida from Colorado and were exploring the nearby dog beach for the maybe the second or third time. (One of the other stories was teaching Loki how to swim and him nearly drowning us the first time we went to the beach). On this particular visit, the tide was low and calm, and Loki was having a great time chasing the terns and gulls back and forth along the waters edge. As he was galumphing through the shallow waters, he spotted a flock of pelicans serenely floating about one hundred feet from the waters edge. He took off, headed straight for them! I was only mildly concerned as I knew he would stop when the water got deep enough that his feet couldn't touch the bottom and he would be forced to swim, giving the pelicans plenty of time to fly away. However, this was not to be the case. That low, calm tide made the water shallow enough that he JUST KEPT RUNNING. This realization made all of my alarm bells in my head ring. Loki had zero sense of how big pelicans really were! As he neared the closest bird, instead of flying away, it stood up, spread its six foot wing span, let out a horrific squawk and jabbed its very large beak at my dog. Loki let out a yelp of surprise at this sudden 'very large bird' and tried his darnedest to change course to no avail. He barreled directly into that pelican. They tumbled over each other, each in surprise. After both scrambling to right themselves, the pelican flew off and Loki came running back towards me faster than he ran out, terrified. Once he got back to shore, he tried to jump into my arms, knocking me down in the process, as he tried to hide from the 'very scary bird'. I wish the lesson of 'Pelicans = Scary' had stuck, alas it did not. There is another story from that beach day involving a washed-up jellyfish, but that one will have to wait until next time...
Taylor Walker
Ohio State University-Main CampusBlakeslee, PA
First, I would like to thank you for providing an opportunity for a scholarship for animal lovers, because I too am an avid lover of animals. When I was a young child my fascination with animals began to peak. I would ask my parents for birds, dogs, fish, hamsters and any other animal I could think of having in my home. My love of animals became so evident that my parents nick named me Elly Mae, a character from the television show, The Beverly Hillbillies, who loved animals. Hopefully, I didn't age you too much. LOL I received my first pet, Tootsie Roll, a chocolate Labrador retriever at the age of eleven. I truly loved this dog, as we would play outside, and I would feed and care for him. Unfortunately, Tootsie Roll was raped by a neighborhood dog and had eight puppies. Since she was raped at a young age, she didn't really have the instincts to care for her puppies. I jumped in and decided that I would be responsible for caring for the puppies and Tootsie Roll. Every day, before school and directly after school I would check in on the puppies and Tootsie Roll and ensure that they were all given the care and love that they so desperately needed to survive. It was this event that changed the direction of my life. At that young age, my love for animals drew me to the decision to become a veterinarian. I am currently continuing my education to achieve my goal of becoming a successful doctor in the field of veterinary medicine, so I can continue to provide the care and love that All animals need. In three years, I vision myself in The Ohio State University Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Program, working diligently to pursue my goal of becoming a veterinarian. Further along in the future, I envision myself establishing an Animal Hospital, that would provide that would provide expert care and love for all of my animal clients. This hospital would also provide extensive training for owners to ensure they know how to provide the necessary care and love that their pets so desperately require. In addition, I plan to have a discount affordable pet retail store in the facility to ensure that the owners can provide the nutritional needs and accessories needed to have a healthy and loved pet. Again, I would like to thank you for the opportunity to provide the needed financial investment to for a fellow animal lover to pursue her dream!
Gabriela Lopez
University of ArizonaLos Angeles, CA
My ambition to pursue veterinary medicine within the next three years is fueled by my desire assist companion animals and people in underserved communities. Growing up from a low income Spanish-speaking household, it was normal for me to research information unknown to my parents due to language and cultural barriers. At ten years old, I became responsible for providing care to my bright-eyed puppy, Estrella. I initiated researching low-cost veterinary mobile clinics since these resources were unfamiliar to my parents. On one occasion, despite our family providing post-spay care, Estrella became lethargic and decreased in appetite. After calling the mobile clinic, they provided a free exam, medication, and good news. It was a defining moment seeing veterinary professionals coming into my community and continuously providing care, despite our financial hardships. Through veterinary medicine, I desire to have a direct impact on keeping affordable resources available while increasing access through reducing cultural and language barriers between veterinarians and pet owners. Within veterinary medicine, my experience being part of a minority group has aided me in reducing cultural disparities, forming a connection within my community, and improving the well-being of pets and people. While volunteering at Mercer veterinary clinic for the homeless population, I noticed the pets provided a deep comfort and security while living on the streets. Our clinic’s visitors were very grateful to receive free services for their pets, similar to my personal experiences. I had honored each opportunity to scribe and translate medical concerns from pet owners to our staff. I immersed myself into this passion by enrolling in UC Davis SVM One Health-focused year-long class, to view connections between animals, people, and our environment. My interests in veterinary medicine, combined with my cultural experiences, equip me with empathy and knowledge to contribute to future patients and clients on a professional and personal level. Veterinary medicine has broadened my perspective of the world incorporating critical thinking to the sciences, economics, ethics, welfare, and behavior. As humans, we are only one of the many branches on the phylogenetic tree of life. However, people control many species based on the values held within our society. In veterinary medicine, there are ethical responsibilities to make justified decisions for animals, society, and medical advancement. In the situation of mice, these animals are given different privileges, as an untreated laboratory model to understand the course of disease for people or as a pet for companionship. In both cases, members of the veterinary field are consultants for animals’ well-being to receive protection afforded by the basic norms of morality. Within veterinary medicine, I desire to use the discoveries gained from previous professionals, “standing on the shoulders of giants”, to make intellectual progress, help society, and provide healing towards animals.
Ashley Torres Saez
University of Missouri-ColumbiaColumbia, MO
In the near future, I see myself giving back to my community. I started my pre-veterinary journey by volunteering at shelters and spay-neuter fairs in Puerto Rico, and I plan to continue educating and serving the low-income communities that helped raise me. For this reason, as I venture into my clinical years, I'm currently focusing on acquiring shelter medicine experience and doing as many spays and neuters as possible. As a volunteer for ViDAS, an organization that offers free spays and neuters throughout Latin America, I saw how accessible veterinary care positively impacts families that work hard to keep their pets healthy. I believe there's a common misconception in veterinary medicine regarding pet care, and it is the idea that only people that can afford expensive treatments should be pet parents. Though I strongly believe in being a responsible owner by understanding a pet's economic needs, there are ways to help our less privileged communities access their pets' vaccines, spays and neuters, and primary care. By volunteering in these free events, starting tabs with donations from generous companies and individuals, and focusing on affordable shelter care, we can educate owners and provide excellent veterinary care. Growing up, my family struggled with paying bills and my education. However, adopting a cat from the local shelter was the best decision we made. Her name was Rossy Margarita, named after my favorite Caillou character and flower (daisy), and she was a member of our family for 17 years. Most of her appointments were at the shelter, but she never lacked love, food, or the freedom to roam around or stay inside. She was my first patient and the reason I pursued veterinary medicine. I found comfort knowing she was waiting for us every day by the front door. She always had food available, so dinner was never her motivation but simply knowing we were home safe before dark. All families, regardless of their backgrounds, deserve a friend who looks out for them. All individuals deserve accessible health care and the opportunity to expand their families without worrying about not being able to afford their care. As a soon-to-be veterinarian, I took an oath to serve my community and my patients with respect and responsible medicine. Be it in three years or three decades, I will be working towards becoming an exceptional shelter veterinarian. Similarly, I will advocate for accessible veterinary care and hopefully recruit others throughout my journey.
Gabriela Gonzalez
North Carolina State University at RaleighChapel Hill, NC


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Apr 12, 2023. Winners will be announced on May 12, 2023.

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