Outstanding Achievements Celebrated Within the School of Veterinary Medicine

In a celebration of excellence, honoring faculty, staff, and students for outstanding achievement, the School of Veterinary Medicine hosted the bi-annual SVM Awards Ceremony in November, at Bourne Lecture Hall. Fifty-seven different awards were presented to faculty and staff who demonstrated remarkable service and commitment to the veterinary school, and to students who demonstrated exceptional academic achievement, professionalism, and work ethic.

“It’s such an important aspect of the School of Veterinary Medicine to honor the very special achievements of faculty, students, and staff. It brings the whole community together with a sense of unity everyone feels,” stated Dr. Neil Olson, Dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine. “We really are one family and it’s great to be a part of this joyous occasion. I think that the students in particular will have long memories of this evening and I look forward to sharing in many more of these kinds of celebrations.”

One of the ceremony’s highlights included the Zoetis Excellence in Research Award being given to Dr. Sonia Cheetham-Brow, an Associate Professor and Course Director of Veterinary Virology in the Department of Pathobiology at SGU. The award honors those who demonstrate excellence in original research, leadership in the scientific community, and exceptional mentoring of trainees and colleagues in any discipline of veterinary medicine. In addition to recognizing recipients’ outstanding research and scholarly achievements, the award also comes with a US $1,000 honorarium.

“Research can be challenging—results don’t always show what you expect and it may take some time, but it can also be very gratifying, especially when your efforts are recognized.” commented Dr. Cheetham-Brow. “My enthusiasm and passion for research is something that I also try to pass along to my students, and hopefully winning this award will show them that the hard work you put into research doesn’t go unnoticed.”

Additionally, the spotlight also belonged to third-year veterinary student Melanese Edwards, who won a grand total of four awards for the evening.

For upholding the character and values of the School of Veterinary Medicine, she was awarded the SVM Alumni Award; followed by the Outstanding Colleague Award for Term 6, an award that is voted on by the classmates of the recipient. She then received the George B. Daniel Award, a Student Government Association (SGA) award, selected by representatives of the vet school to be given to a sixth-term candidate who best demonstrates the ideals of leadership and service of the SGA. And lastly, the PAWS Recognition of Service award, which is given to a sixth-term student who has demonstrated leadership, professionalism, and service as a facilitator for the upcoming Term 1 students.

“Words cannot truly express how honored I am to receive these awards. I certainly did not expect them, but I am forever grateful,” said Ms. Edwards. “I am truly humbled that my peers and the faculty and staff see the potential in me. That I have made a positive impact on their lives and they chose to nominate me for these awards was an overwhelming feeling that brought tears to my eyes.”

Ms. Edwards has moved to Auburn, Alabama where she is completing her clinical training at Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine. After its completion, she plans to apply for an internship, and eventually move on to a residency in the hopes of specializing in ophthalmology.