SVM Recognizes Academic Excellence and Remarkable Service at Fall Term Awards Ceremony

In a celebration of excellence and in honor of the outstanding achievements made by faculty, staff, and students, the School of Veterinary Medicine hosted its bi-annual SVM Awards Ceremony on November 18 in Bourne Lecture Hall. More than 20 sets of awards were presented to faculty and staff who demonstrated remarkable service and commitment to the veterinary medical school and to students who achieved high levels of academic success, professionalism, and displayed an exceptional 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,” stated Dr. Neil Olson, dean of the SVM. “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.”


“With this being the first in-person SVM awards ceremony since the COVID-19 pandemic, there was an air of gratitude and joy at being able to gather once again for this special occasion. There was a wonderful energy present throughout the ceremony, and the love and support were palpable.”


In addition to a wide range of traditional awards, student organizations could also participate in nominating and selecting students, faculty, and staff. One of the new awards presented this term, for example, was the Tail WAG Award. The award winner, Dr. Tara Paterson, an associate professor in the Small Animal Medicine and Surgery Department at SGU, was selected by the Wellness Aide and Guidance (WAG) student organization. The award honors a student or faculty member who works hard to further the mission of WAG, by helping the Pothounds of Grenada.

“This award is very special to us because it is our first,” shared Courtney Glotzer, co-founder of WAG. “We want to thank Dr. Paterson because she showed us her true dedication to our more intricate cases and always was there when we needed guidance. She is truly special to our club, and we will always appreciate her because of her motivation and dedication to our Pothounds.”



The ceremony also recognized 32 new inductees into the Alpha Delta Chapter of the Phi Zeta Honor Society—12 from Term 5 and 20 from Term 6. Earlier this month, students, faculty, and alumni gathered to celebrate during a ceremony at the University Club. Phi Zeta is the national veterinary honor society created to recognize students for their superior academic achievement. From its inception, it has been the aim of the organization to stand for constant advancement of the veterinary profession, for higher educational requirements, and for high scholarship.

“With this being the first in-person SVM awards ceremony since the COVID-19 pandemic, there was an air of gratitude and joy at being able to gather once again for this special occasion,” said Dr. Paterson, who also serves as chair of the SVM Awards Committee. “There was a wonderful energy present throughout the ceremony, and the love and support were palpable.”

SGU Island Veterinary Scholars Program (Boehringer Ingelheim) 

Adrian Jones, Jillian Luscinski, Niharika Verma

Outstanding Colleague Awards

Term 1: Cheyenne Koinzan

Term 2: Becca Jenkins, Alexandra Prince

Term 3: Sydney Garcia

Term 4: Sudarshini Coimbatore, Paige Coughlin

Term 5: Molly Gin, Gabrielle Rivera

Term 6: Briana Kinsey

Dean Olson’s Award for Academic Excellence

Paula Ulyak, Alexis Tedesco, Whitley Young, Juana Argiro, Brianne Flanagan, Chelsea Wright, Courtney Duguay, Sarah Hendrickson, Zerina Burovic, Luis Davila, Hannah Wentland, Emily Meade, Brooke Hottois

Adrienne Lotton Memorial Award

Briana Kinsey

Zoetis Revolution Awards of Excellence

Small Animal Internal Medicine: Madison Kucinick

Small Animal Surgery: Daniel Ingram

Equine Medicine and Surgery: Acacia Johnson

Food Animal Medicine and Surgery: Megan Gilmore

Scholarship of Service Award: Cassidy Morales, Courtney Glotzer, Erin Maud

Surgery Team: Sahony Caba Paulino, Melissa Edloff, Nastassia Lini, Sarah Voors, Molly Ginn, Spencer Trinca, Julia Derr, Macey Cropski

Student Research Award: Adrian Jones

**NEW** Dr. Jim Nave Award for Excellence in Clinical Practice

Amanda Rottman Torres

SVM Alumni Scholarship Award 

Brianna Auino-Moreta

Giant Paws Giant Hearts Foundation “Hercules” Award 

Cobi Gilbeau

PAWS Recognition for Term 6 Facilitators

Taylor Nealy, Antonia Nickleberry, Peter Arena, Taryn Paquet, Melissa Ballantyne, Briana Kinsey, Peyton Dillon, Samantha Batchelor, Kira Rasmussen

SCAVMA: Student Chapter of the AVMA

SAVMA Award: Carley Jones, Sloane Hoffman, Ashley Schimshock

Most Outstanding E*Board Member: Fabiola Casanova-Crespo

The Feral Cat Project 

Most Valuable Trapper: Ana Villarreal

Most Valuable Faculty/Staff: Francesca Ivaldi

Veterinary Public Health Committee

One Health One Medicine Community Leader Award: Cassandra Morales

SGUSVM Large Animal Society

Ace of Initiative Award: Ashlyn Dykes

**NEW** IVMC: Integrative Veterinary Medicine Club

Outstanding E-Board Member: Heidi Beck

SVM Wellness Committee

Wellness MVP Award: Eryn Ebinger Christian

**NEW** WAG: Wellness Aide and Guidance

The Tail WAG Award: Dr. Tara Paterson

AAARF: Angels in Armor Animal Rescue Fund

Friends of AAARF Awards: Sara Miner

The Archangel Award: Dr. Thomas Hanson

**NEW** P&E: Pride and Equality

Outstanding Faculty: Dr. Anne Corrigan

Excellence in DEI: Paige Coughlin

SCACVIM: Student Chapter of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine

Internal Medicine MVP Award: Patrick (JJ) Byrnes

SVECCS: Student Chapter of the Emergency and Critical Care Society

Outstanding 6th Termer Award: Amanda Rottman

SCASV: Student Chapter of the Association of Shelter Veterinarians

Shelter Scholar Award: Victoria Flaherty

Shelter Star Award: Marta Lanza-Perea

SCAVDS: Student Chapter of the American Veterinary Dental Society

Superior Extractor Award: Dr. Francesca Ivaldi

SNP: Spay Neuter Pothound

Pothound Student Hero Award: Brianna Kroning

Pothound Faculty/Staff Hero Award: Quacy Matthew

SCACVP: Student Chapter of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists 

The MVP (Most Valuable Pathologist) Award: Taryn Paquet

EWS: Exotics and Wildlife Society

Avian Flock Leader Award: Alexandra Colella

EWS and VSHS Double Whammy Award: Dr. Sophie Moittie

VSHS: Veterinary Student Herpeteogical Society

The Gallant Gecko Award: Kaylee Freeman

WVLDI: Women’s Veterinary Leadership Development Initiative

WVLDI Warrior Award: Bianca Pinto

**NEW** WAVMA: World Aquatic Veterinary Medicine Association

MVP: Most Valuable Porpoise Award: Rayne LeBlanc

SVM Surgery Club

The Sharpest Scalpel Award: Brian Norton

SGA: Student Government Association

SGU SVM Outstanding Faculty Term 1-3: Dr. Mahesh Deokar

SGU SVM Outstanding Faculty Term 4-6: Dr. Talia Guttin

SGA SGU Awards of Excellence Term 1-3: Mr. Keith Miller

SGA SGU Awards of Excellence Term 4-6: Dr. Mercedes Valasquez de Zerpa

George B. Daniel Award: Brie Kinsey

The Pinckney Parasitology Award

Crissy (Janeila) Benjamin and Helena Curbelo

DES Recognition Awards

Emily Shin, Cobi Guilbeau

Diana Stone Public Health award

Janine Wettergren

SGUSVM Outstanding Staff Awards

Technical Staff: Curtis Hopkin

Administrative Staff: Serana Patino

Zoetis Award for Research Excellence

Dr. Arno Werners

Hill’s Golden Apple Teaching Award

Dr. Talia Guttin

Alpha Delta Chapter of the Society of Phi Zeta

Fall 2022 Inductees

Term 5 Inductees: Logan Bernstein, Lauren Dunbar, Amanda Ernst, Anca Gagliardo, Celine Gellineau, Adrian Jones, Maureen Kruhlak, Hannah Lavin-Sauchenco, Selina Nackley, Allison Nickell, Danielle Sackett, Taylor Stanton

Term 6 Inductees: Sean Anderson, Letty Bonilla, Riley Burrows, Yvana Ephraim, Melissa Ferguson, Gabriela Frontanes, Nicole Jennings, Charlene Kriegsman, Madison Kucinick, Brianna Aquino-Moreta, Kassidy Leon, Leandra Margolies, Cassandra Morales, Cristians Rivas Morales, Brittney Nguyen, Kendra Rehnblom, Aleeka Roberts, Sara Schectman, Stephanie Smick, Abigail Wilebski

– Ray-Donna Peters

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SVM Faculty Discuss the Impact of Poultry Production with Grenadian Farmers at Outreach Workshop

After a two-year hiatus, St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine’s Farmers’ Outreach Program returned to an interactive, in-person workshop on October 27, 2022, at the Grenada Trade Center. SVM faculty (including visiting professors), staff, and students attended the workshop, which provides education and training in a collaborative effort between the SVM, Grenadian farmers, and the Ministry of Agriculture.

“The School of Veterinary Medicine’s commitment to the Grenadian farmers through the Farmers’ Outreach Program remains a priority to our university,” said Dr. Neil Olson, dean of the SVM. “The organizers of this year’s workshop and booklet have worked tirelessly to ensure that the content is educational and can provide guidance about common parasites, food safety and handling practices, backyard farming tips, and much more. We hope that Grenadian farmers can continue to utilize SGU as a valued resource as we remain committed to sensitization and training.”



Established in 2003 by the late Dr. Ravindra N. Sharma, the SVM Farmers’ Outreach Program disseminates a broad range of interesting and helpful information on animal husbandry, animal diseases, and their overall impact on human health, animal health, and productivity. Almost 20 years later, the program continues to be an effective partner in strengthening the relationship between Grenadian farmers and veterinarians.

The school continued to be an excellent resource for the local farming community even during the coronavirus pandemic. While the in-person aspect of the program was paused, a booklet was created to disseminate useful information on animal management, husbandry, and disease control and prevention. After garnering favorable feedback, two years later the booklet continues to benefit the farmers in Grenada.


“Despite the challenges of the pandemic, we remained dedicated in our commitment to partner with and support the Grenadian community by providing the relevant information for our livestock producers.”


“Despite the challenges of the pandemic, we remained dedicated in our commitment to partner with and support the Grenadian community by providing the relevant information for our livestock producers,” stated Dr. Kerri Nigito, chairperson of the Farmers’ Outreach Committee. “This year’s workshop and booklet serve to provide the necessary information on poultry production that will help improve the quality of meat and eggs produced for local consumption for the people of Grenada.”

The one-day seminar hosted by the SVM catered to poultry production personnel and provided poultry farmers with best production and health practices. The workshop included PowerPoint presentations, videos, and a panel discussion followed by question-and-answer sessions. In addition, the Committee reminded those in attendance that the school offers necropsy services to investigate the death of poultry animals at the SVM Necropsy Lab located on the Lower True Blue Campus.

One of the day’s highlights was the announcement of the winner of the Committee’s logo competition, Marissa Peck. Ms. Peck, along with her fellow SVM students, were invited to design graphics for t-shirts to be distributed to the farmers supporting the theme, “Poultry Production in Grenada.” Ms. Peck’s winning logo was placed on name badges and flyers, and she received a gift certificate as well as an invitation to attend the workshop.

The seminar focused on the following areas:

  • Common parasites of poultry
  • Coccidiosis in poultry production
  • Egg production, handling, and distribution guidelines
  • Poultry tips for poultry backyard and commercial systems
  • Poultry carcass necropsy submission guidelines


“The SVM Farmers’ Outreach Workshop provided great insight on the impact of poultry production in Grenada,” said Dr. Kimond Cummings, chief veterinary and livestock officer in Grenada’s Ministry of Agriculture and Lands. “In particular, the booklet given out, which highlighted disease surveillance and how it affects poultry, can also be disseminated to the farmers unable to attend today.

Additionally, SGU’s open invitation to the farming community with respect to its necropsy lab services reaffirms the school’s readiness to assist and is the kind of information I can confidently share with our policymakers.”

– Ray-Donna Peters


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SVM grad returns to Grenada to host continuing education conference

Aaron Spacher, DVM ’19, (far left, red windbreaker) returned to Grenada in early November to host a continuing education conference as co-founder and chief financial officer of VetBolus Continuing Education. Ninety veterinary professionals attended the conference, many of whom were SGU graduates.

After spending years on the island of Grenada, many St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine graduates find themselves longing to return for a vacation, a reunion, or, as was the case during the VetBolus Grenada conference, for all the above and more.

Aaron Spacher, DVM ’19, returned to Grenada in early November to host a continuing education conference as co-founder and chief financial officer of VetBolus Continuing Education. Ninety veterinary professionals attended the conference, many of whom were SGU graduates.

Launched in early 2022, VetBolus connects veterinary professionals to leaders in the field for engaging and practical continuing education content in locations around the world. All VetBolus conferences are RACE, and NYSED-approved so attendees can earn their state-required continuing education credit. Conference sessions at the Grenada conference focused on veterinary internal medicine and emergency and critical care, and as a bonus, it included a campus tour and SGU alumni reception at the University Club.

Dr. Spacher and his VetBolus co-founders hosted a CE conference in Grenada in early November.

For Dr. Spacher, who is also an associate veterinarian at Banfield Pet Hospital in Henrietta, NY, hosting a conference in Grenada was an easy decision after his experience as a student on the island.

“I held multiple leadership positions at SGU, allowing me to plan events. Because of this, I knew I could plan an unforgettable VetBolus Conference in Grenada,” Dr. Spacher added. “Mount Cinnamon Resort and Beach Club offered first-class service and helped me turn our vision into reality, making the decision even easier. Returning to Grenada brought back many happy memories and allowed attendees to make even more while earning their CE credits.”

Dr. Spacher got the idea for VetBolus due to his disinterest in distance learning for continuing education; watching videos online didn’t energize his love for veterinary medicine.

“After graduation, I moved back to my hometown of Rochester, NY, and at every Sunday dinner, my grandma would ask if all my continuing education hours were completed,” said Dr. Spacher as he reflected on what prompted the founding of VetBolus. “I floated the idea of a destination CE to my co-founder Dr. Kendon Kuo, with whom I had developed a friendship while completing my clinical year at Auburn University. He got Dr. Kathy Gerken, our other co-founder, on board with us to help create VetBolus. We have worked tirelessly to plan VetBolus conferences in destination locations with amazing speakers that everyone will love. We dedicated VetBolus Grenada 2022 to my grandma and those who cheer us on.”

Returning to Grenada also allowed Dr. Spacher to once again experience the beauty of the Caribbean country and its people, which is what he misses most about the island.

Dr. Spacher and the VetBolus team along with Dr. Shekinah Morris, SGU alum and attendee.

“I often tell people that attending SGU SVM is indescribable,” he said. “You are surrounded by a group of people from all over the world that end up becoming family, all while working together to achieve the same goal. Then you add fantastic faculty and staff who care about their students so much—attending SGU and living in Grenada is so special.”

Looking back on his experience at SGU from where he is in his career today, Dr. Spacher encourages all students to get involved in leadership positions because this is what prepared him for entrepreneurship.

“My fondest memories of Grenada include riding around Grand Anse in now Dr. Aki Otomo’s Escudo to rent tents from Waggy T’s, buying crates of Ting from CK’s, and ordering 50 turkeys from IGA to put on SAVMA fundraisers/events,” he said. “Leadership positions lead to fantastic opportunities.”


—Sarah Stoss


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Research experience leads to prestigious scholarship for SVM student

Research opportunities in the School of Veterinary Medicine at St. George’s University are not hard to find, with multiple programs dedicated to helping students gain the skills they need to understand and conduct research. Participating in these opportunities, no matter what career path the student plans to take, can ultimately bolster student success throughout their education and future career in veterinary medicine.

Just ask Adrian Jones, a Term 5 SVM student and a participant in Boehringer Ingelheim’s Veterinary Scholars Program. Ms. Jones credits her involvement in several research programs at SGU, with allowing her to stand out from the crowd of competitors, hailing from schools across the United States and the Caribbean, to be selected for the scholarship.

The Boehringer Ingelheim’s Veterinary Scholars Program is in partnership with the Agricultural Research Service of the United States Department of Agriculture. It is competitive and pairs recipients with one of the USDA’s leading scientists. The latter serves as a mentor throughout the recipient’s summer as a research student on-site at the USDA. The scholarship includes research experience, a stipend to cover travel and living expenses, and the opportunity to attend the National Veterinary Scholar’s Symposium (NVSS).


“There are so many opportunities available at SGU, and research skills will only help strengthen your veterinary experience. Sometimes showing interest is all it takes to get started.”


“Overall, the research experiences I participated in have helped me greatly as a student and future veterinarian,” said Ms. Jones. She plans to pursue pathology as her focus in veterinary medicine. “It is important to stay up-to-date on the latest research and provide well-rounded, evidence-based advice and medicine to your patients and their owners.”

Ms. Jones completed two research projects as part of the Island Veterinary Scholars program at SGU, which helps students with little to no research experience gain foundational skills. Her research project as part of the SGU Veterinary Student Research Initiative (VSRI), a mentorship program that concludes with a formal research presentation, has been in progress since the spring of 2021. The subjects of her research projects are diverse, with one focused on pyometra in the Grenadian canine population, another on Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome virus infections in pigs, and the last on using nanoparticles as antibiotics against several strains of bacteria.

“Adrian is an extraordinary student, which I saw firsthand when I mentored her in the Island Veterinary Scholars Program,” said Dr. Firdous Khan, associate professor of theriogenology and chair of the Large Animal Medicine and Surgery Graduate Affairs Committee. “I hope her story inspires students and increases awareness of research programs at SGU. Adrian proves what’s possible when you get involved in these opportunities.”

Ms. Jones recognizes the great benefits of the research experiences she has pursued while at SGU.

“I heard about the scholarship through Professor Dr. Sonia Cheetham-Brow, after I participated in the SGU Island Veterinary Scholars Program in the summer of 2021,” said Ms. Jones. “I knew it was a great learning opportunity, and I am proud that I was selected from such a large pool of competitive candidates. I think the research project I presented with Dr. Firdous Khan through the IVSP helped my application significantly.”

As for what students interested in following the same path as Ms. Jones can do to ensure their success, her advice is simple: apply.

“I know many friends who didn’t apply because they didn’t think they’d get the position and regretted it,” she said. “There are so many opportunities available at SGU, and research skills will only help strengthen your veterinary experience. Sometimes showing interest is all it takes to get started.”


—Sarah Stoss

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Vascular Surgeon Facilitates Significant Donation to Grenada General Hospital, Helps Establish Dialysis Program

Dr. Christian Rodriguez, a chief vascular surgeon, felt the calling to give back to the island where he got his start in medicine after a recent trip to Grenada.

During his vacation—his first visit to the island in 26 years—Dr. Rodriguez learned of Grenada General Hospital’s need for a vascular surgeon and for someone to help implement a new dialysis and nephrology program.

So he decided to do something about it.

First, Dr. Rodriguez, who practices at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Maine, arranged for a substantial donation of two sets of surgical instruments and supplies from medical provider Scanlan International, valued at nearly $37,000 USD. The donation of the surgical instruments will allow the hospital to offer ongoing in-house sustainability of vascular access procedures and treatments to patients.

He also worked with the hospital’s house officers—and resident doctors—Drs. Neisha Ross, Johnathan Ramirez, and Diana Shears to create a week-long clinic (which took place October 10 to 14, 2022) where he would train hospital doctors on vascular access procedures, while also seeing patients in need of care. Vascular access is the surgical procedure by which a fistula connection is made by a surgeon allowing the removal and return of blood during dialysis.

“When I learned that Grenada General needed more support in the area of vascular surgery, I did not hesitate to offer my time, expertise as well as organizing a donation to the hospital,” Dr. Rodriguez said. “While on island, I even got to meet with my old anatomy professor, Dr. C.V. Rao (current dean of university alumni affairs). We spent some time catching up and it brought back many memories of my time in Grenada.”


“We are extremely grateful to Christian for not only answering the call but going above and beyond to gain an understanding of what may be needed and securing this incredible donation that will definitely change lives.”


Dr. Rodriguez is the first vascular specialist to provide crucial medical care to Grenadian residents as a part of the St. George’s University Physician Humanitarian Network (SGU PHuN).

“We are extremely grateful to Christian for not only answering the call but going above and beyond to gain an understanding of what may be needed and securing this incredible donation that will definitely change lives,” said SGU Vice Provost Brendon LaGrenade, MBA, EdD.

A Gratifying Experience

Vascular surgeon Christian Rodriguez returned to the island where he got his start in medicine to help patients in need.

Seeing Grenadian patients was very gratifying, according to Dr. Rodriguez. He completed four vascular access procedures and was able to treat more than 30 patients with vein, circulation, wound and other issues.

“I spent a week seeing patients and performing surgeries in the operating theater. It was a rewarding experience,” said Dr. Rodriguez. “It felt wonderful to offer patients a service that they would not otherwise have. The patients were incredibly grateful. I feel a very strong bond with Grenada and its people.”

The training he provided to resident clinic doctors included demonstrations on how patients are assessed for surgery.

“The clinic involved examining and evaluating patients as well as evaluating which kind of arteriovenous access was most appropriate for each patient,” he said. “This depends on their arterial circulation and the size and quality of their veins. Additionally, we took advantage of the clinic space/time to see patients with other vascular surgery conditions.”

Dr. Rodriguez said it was a pleasure to work at Grenada General and it all harkens back to his time at SGU.

“It was an amazing experience and I truly feel the education I received there was top notch,” said Dr. Rodriguez, adding that any SGU alum who gets the opportunity to return to Grenada to share their gifts of physician care will find it to be an experience that equally benefits doctors, patients, and the community at large.

“If you have a chance to contribute to the well-being and health of the Grenadian people, do it. It’s an incredibly great and rewarding experience,” said Dr. Rodriguez. “I’m already making plans for a repeat visit next year.”


–Ronke Idowu Reeves

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St. George’s University To Host 2023 International Veterinary Simulation Conference

With increased emphasis on simulation at veterinary institutions around the world, St. George’s University is pleased to host the 7th International Veterinary Simulation in Teaching (InVeST) Conference, to be held February 3 to 5, 2023. The conference, originally planned for 2020 but postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will welcome experts in the field to explore and discuss techniques and technology within the rapidly growing field of veterinary simulation. The conference will take place on SGU’s True Blue campus in Grenada,  West Indies. Grenada will be the fifth country outside of the United States to host the conference, following South Africa, Germany, St. Kitts, and Canada.

“We are thrilled to finally be able to host the upcoming InVeST conference,” said Dr. Neil Olson, dean of SGU’s School of Veterinary Medicine. “The world of simulation in teaching has greatly expanded in response to the COVID-19 pandemic—driving innovation in veterinary education significantly. InVeST 2023 will be a global gathering of experts who are on the cutting edge of a new way of teaching and learning.”


“Our university is an international center of excellence and uniquely positioned to provide a meeting of high scientific quality and training in veterinary simulation.”


Participants will include veterinarians, educational institutions, InVeST members, and researchers, along with students and alumni from SGU’s School of Veterinary Medicine. The two-and-a-half-day conference will feature keynote addresses, poster presentations, workshops, a reception, and various social events. Conference goers will attend interactive sessions to learn new trends and practices in veterinary simulation, and meet, interact, and collaborate with peers while obtaining CE credits. SGU educators and SGU students are welcome to attend at discounted rates.

“Our university is an international center of excellence and uniquely positioned to provide a meeting of high scientific quality and training in veterinary simulation,” Dr. Olson added. “SGU is outfitted with the facilities and personnel to educate conference participants, while our scenic campus also offers an atmosphere of relaxation as they earn continuing education credits. By creating a space for these experiences and ideas to come together, SGU will continue to drive progress in all areas of veterinary medicine.”



InVeST was established in August 2011 following a successful Veterinary Simulation Exchange symposium hosted by the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, CO. The group has grown exponentially through the Network of Veterinarians in Continuing Education (NOVICE) project, typically reconvening every 18 months for the InVeST conference.

“Ultimately, InVeST 2023 will provide an avenue for veterinary medical personnel to thrive and build on their professional knowledge while networking with peers,” said Dr. Olson. “The conference will enhance professional collaboration and camaraderie among veterinary experts, and we are excited to continue the growth of this group of innovators.”

Those who would like to submit their abstracts for the conference, the deadline is November 15, 2022.

—Laurie Chartorynsky



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SAS Alum Wins Grenada’s Groovy Monarch Competition

Growing up, life for Rashid “Cryave” Julliene, BSc ’21 was not an easy one. However, he credits the love and support of his family for pushing him toward higher education and his musical aspirations.

Wanting to be able to produce his own music, as well as perform it, Mr. Julliene applied to St. George’s University to complete a bachelor’s degree in information technology.

Later, he would emerge onto the Grenadian soca music scene in 2019—positioning himself as a force to be reckoned with by placing fourth in the 2019 National Groovy Monarch competition with his hit selection “Genie Lover”.

In 2022, he followed up that hit with another Groovy smasher entitled “Unbothered,” which he would go on to perform and win the crown at this year’s National Groovy Monarch competition in August.

Currently, Mr. Julliene is part of a delegation traveling to Trinidad and Tobago to represent Grenada’s culture and heritage and the traditional aspect of carnival. He sat down with SGU News to share about his recent victory and how his IT degree from SGU ties into his bigger musical dreams.

St. George’s University: Why did you choose to pursue music? And who influenced your decision?

Rashid Julliene: I love the process of creating music, putting it out into the world, and the reaction I get from people when I do. Music to me is a universal language. It’s something that you can speak even if there’s a language barrier. It is the universal communicator that everyone understands. I sometimes listen to music from different languages that I don’t even understand, but I still get it.

My mom has had the biggest influence on my decision to pursue music. The first time I ever performed was because of her. She recognized my talent very early on and she told me that if I love music, I should never miss an opportunity to perform. She encouraged me to show people what I could do and that helped develop my confidence.

SGU: You were recently crowned Grenada’s National Groovy Monarch, tell us what that experience was like? How did you feel when you won?

RJ: It was bittersweet when I won that title. I was extremely elated of course, but my mom was not there to see me win. So, I was also a bit sad, especially considering how much she’s influenced me to pursue my dream of performing my music. That experience was an emotional moment for me and one that I will remember forever.

SGU: You studied information technology at SGU, describe the link between that degree and your musical aspirations?

RJ: Studying IT at SGU was a no brainer for me. Music has become very technological over the years. And in my eyes a complete musician is someone who can not only sing the music but produce it as well. Earning a degree in IT has gotten me one step closer to achieving my dreams, especially since I already had the natural singing talent so putting those two together just made sense.


“University life isn’t easy and there’s lots of challenges, but SGU prepared me for that aspect of life because life also isn’t easy and is filled with challenges too. SGU allowed me to become more self-aware and helped me to focus, specialize, and build a career.”


SGU: How well do you feel that SGU prepared you for the next step in your journey?

RJ: While attending SGU I met some of my closest friends and was surrounded by staff and faculty that were extremely supportive. During my time there I joined several student organizations including the Student Government Association (SGA) and the Management Information Systems and Information Technology Association (MISIT). I even joined a biology group just because I wanted to meet new people and try new things outside of my field of interest. University life isn’t easy and there’s lots of challenges, but SGU prepared me for that aspect of life because life also isn’t easy and is filled with challenges too. SGU allowed me to become more self-aware and helped me to focus, specialize, and build a career.

SGU: What advice would you give to prospective students who are considering applying to SGU?

RJ: Your heart has to be in it, and it has to be something that you really want to do and not just what your parents want you to do. That’s the only way you’re going to overcome the challenges that SGU is going to throw at you. You’re only going to be willing to do the extra things and go the extra mile if you’re interested in what you’re doing. My advice would be to choose something that you’re passionate about and focus on what you want to achieve and let that be your guiding light.

SGU: What is one of your greatest accomplishments you’ve achieved in your career so far?

RJ: It would have to be, me being crowned the National Groovy Monarch. Hands down this was the biggest stage I’ve ever performed on and the biggest moment of my career so far. I’m looking forward to many more moments like that one.

– Ray-Donna Peters

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SVM clinical network expands to include Ontario Veterinary College

In Ontario, Canada, St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine students can take a breathtaking hike, lounge by a Great Lake, and visit Niagara Falls while they complete their studies at Ontario Veterinary College.

As of August 2022, SGU is affiliated with Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph, allowing fourth-year SVM students to complete their clinical training at the oldest veterinary school in Canada. This adds one more clinical affiliate to the existing list of over 30 universities across the US, Canada, Europe, and Australia where SVM students can continue their education.

“SGU and OVC have worked on a clinical partnership for several years, and we are thrilled to call our affiliation official,” said Dr. Neil Olson, dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine. “Students who attend their clinical year there will receive a personalized experience at an institution whose reputation is among the best in veterinary education.”

The program at OVC is diverse. Students can gain experience in all fields of veterinary medicine, with advantages for training in rural veterinary practice because of the school’s location. The opportunities available at OVC provide flexibility to students who can tailor their training to their interests and career goals.

“Those of us at OVC who have been working with SGU to create this partnership are so excited to see it come to fruition,” said Joanne Hewson, DVM, PhD, DACVIM, associate dean of students and academics at the Ontario Veterinary College. “We’re confident SGU students will feel at home here while receiving outstanding clinical training that complements their experience in Grenada. We are truly looking forward to the collaborative exchange of ideas and perspectives as students originating from different programs work together in our clinical hospitals.”

SGU students will benefit from clinical training in other countries like Canada as the experience exposes them to different veterinary cultures—ultimately enhancing the training they receive that they can apply to their careers.

“Every school that we affiliate with strengthens our program, and we aim to offer students a diverse group of programs to choose from,” said Dr. Nicki Wise, associate dean of year four clinical training in the School of Veterinary Medicine at SGU. “In the first three years of their education, our goal is to ensure that our students can succeed in any of our 30-plus American Veterinary Medical Association-accredited programs worldwide. A partner like OVC drives us to keep our preparation rigorous.”

If you are considering your clinical year at Ontario Veterinary College and have questions, contact Dr. Wise at

Sarah Stoss

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SAS Alumna Becomes Grenada’s Youngest Elected Minister

Kerryne James, BSc ’21, grew up in a working-class family in the town of Gouyave in the parish of St. John. Although life was not always easy, she learned from a young age the importance of hard work and the value of education as a tool that can be used to empower yourself and change your circumstances. Now as the Honorable, Minister for Climate Resilience, the Environment and Renewable Energy, and the youngest female to hold the position, she’s harnessed those early teachings and applies them to everything she does in service of her country.

Decidedly different from her peers, Minister James became involved in politics from the tender age of 15. In 2016, during her second year at T. A. Marryshow Community College (TAMCC) she was hand selected by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to become one of the youth members representing Grenada at the National Sustainable Development Plan 2030. She describes the experience as having opened her eyes to the reality that young people who came from rural parts of the island were being overlooked and underrepresented in that realm of conversation.

Having always loved modeling and fashion, 2016 was also the year she would place second in Grenada’s National Carnival Queen Show. It was while touring on the pageant trail, she saw firsthand so many of the residents from her beloved hometown living in such desolate conditions and felt the overwhelming need to help. She would go on to use the pageant as a platform to showcase that the people of Gouyave were also multi-talented and could represent Grenada well—outside of sports and music. This was also the moment she felt something awaken in her and she decided to officially enter the political arena.

Originally, the Minister thought she would pursue a career in law, even majoring in law, geography, and sociology while at TAMCC. However, she would later apply to St. George’s University (SGU) to study psychology to make sure she knew exactly who she was and what she wanted to achieve for herself—not for her parents or anyone else.

From becoming a senator, while studying at SGU, to being elected the youngest female minister in the region, Minister James shared with SGU News her journey from student to politician.

St. George’s University: As the newly elected Minister for Climate Resilience, the Environment and Renewable Energy, describe what stands out or excites you most about your job? 

The Honorable Minister Kerryne James: Getting the opportunity to create policies, programs, and projects that would help elevate and change the status quo of my country, as well as having a positive impact on our young people and especially women, is what excites me about this job. I have a portfolio that requires me to be off-island frequently and attending international negotiating tables, round tables, and conferences where there aren’t many there who look like me.

I’m in a position where I can show others who we are and what we have to contribute to the larger conversation. We all have unique challenges when it comes to the environment, but it is only when we speak up can the more developed countries realize the impact they’re having on these smaller states. Being that storyteller for them is something that is very powerful.


“SGU has prepared me for both educational and professional advancement. It has shown me that although life can be difficult to balance at times—consistency is important.”


SGU: What are you most looking forward to accomplishing in your new role? 

Minister James: My goal is to fulfill my campaign promises to my constituents, especially the farmers and fisherfolks who are very close to my heart. I’m looking forward to developing our infrastructure in the parish of St. John—helping it to become more climate resilient and climate smart. I also want to help educate and train our young people and create an environment where our women can feel that there is a space for them and support for them to lead the way.

SGU: We’ve noticed you wearing styles from local fashion designers, why is it important to you to support Grenadian entrepreneurs?

Minister James: As a former beauty queen contestant, fashion has always been near and dear to me. I believe that you have to dress how you want to be addressed and that you’re firstly judged by how you look and what you wear before you even speak. Therefore, every opportunity that I get to be different and to stand out, I’ll take it. I have my own sense of style and I always strive to be authentically me. I wear local because it reminds me of where I come from, and it gives me an opportunity to market my country’s talented entrepreneurs. I can show that I am a living example and that, if you apply yourself, you will get noticed and you can make a career path where there wasn’t one before.

SGU: How well do you feel that SGU prepared you for the next step in your journey?

Minister James: SGU taught me how to be serious, how to take initiative, and it taught me time management skills. I had really supportive friends and faculty at SGU, and the resources were numerous. The Psychological Services Center was there to help with your wellness and the Department of Educational Services was there to help you stay on track with your classes.



SGU: Describe how you became a senator? And why you accepted the position?

Minister James: University life was initially tough because there was no more handholding like in high school. I had to adapt to this new fast-paced environment. During my third month at SGU, I got a call from the Governor General’s office stating that my name was selected as one of three to become a senator. My jaw dropped and I thought I was being pranked. However, I accepted even though I thought to myself this wasn’t why I originally got involved in politics. I simply wanted to do my part and be a youth advocate within the party. But, after speaking to a few people in my close circle, I decided to give it a shot. I was called to serve, and I would put my best foot forward. I would figure out how to balance school life and state life as a senator.

SGU: Were you involved in any extra-curricular activities or student clubs while at SGU?

Minister James: I was an executive member of the Humanities and Social Sciences Association (HS3A) and I had quite a wonderful experience and felt like I really made a difference in that student organization. Due to COVID-19, all the big events we had planned that term did not materialize, but one of our biggest accomplishments was creating a well-produced video in recognition of World Mental Health Day, which garnered local media attention to help educate our population on how we should treat people with mental illness.

Another major achievement while I was in HS3A was our visit to the Father Mallaghan’s Home for Boys. We felt like those boys could relate to us and they could speak to us. We were able to help them with assignments and give them words of encouragement that, despite their current circumstances, they could change their future. We were able to touch the lives of these young men and to this day they remember us.

SGU: What advice would you give to prospective students who are considering applying to SGU?

Minister James: Attending a university will be challenging, but your primary interest should be to do your best. Obtaining that degree from SGU will be so worth it. And when you get to SGU, stay grounded and commit to what you set out to do. All the resources are there for you to succeed. You just have to show up and take advantage of this opportunity. SGU prepared me for both educational and professional advancement. It has shown me that although life can be difficult to balance at times—consistency is important. And if you fail to prepare yourself for opportunity, it can slip by you very easily.

SGU: What is one of the greatest accomplishments you’ve achieved in your career so far?

Minister James:I would have to say becoming the youngest sitting senator in the House of Parliament in all the Commonwealth nations. I was also the lone female who won a seat in Grenada’s recent elections from the winning party, the National Democratic Congress. I’ve achieved all of this under the age of 25. Politics remains a male-dominated arena, so to be so young and a woman and to achieve so much already, is my greatest accomplishment so far.

– Ray-Donna Peters

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Advice from Resident of the Year: “Hard Work Always Pays Off”

Hrant Gevorgian, MD/MPH ’21, recently received the honor of being named “Resident of the Year” by the New Jersey Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians. Dr. Gevorgian is a PGY-2 emergency medicine resident at Rutgers Health/Community Medical Center.

A native of Los Angeles, CA, Dr. Gevorgian also recently won first place for the Research Abstract Competition at the NJ-ACEP 2022 Scientific Assembly. His abstract explored how the opioid buprenorphine is administered in the emergency department. He and his team developed a withdrawal scoring system program for patients receiving buprenorphine to help avoid opioid addiction.

Dr. Gevorgian, whose first name means “unextinguishable fire” in Armenian, shared with SGU News what winning Resident of the Year means to him, his most challenging experience in the emergency department so far, and his ABC’s of advice for aspiring physicians.

St. George’s University: What does receiving the Resident of the Year award mean to you?

Dr. Gevorgian: It’s extremely humbling and unexpected. It highlights the dedication and opportunities my first-year program offers residents. Every faculty member has provided enormous amounts of mentorship to help us succeed. I will continue challenging myself every day to push my limits and by mentoring to my co-interns who are all doing amazing things.

SGU: Why were you drawn to emergency medicine?

Dr. Gevorgian: I love working in a fast-paced environment and being exposed to a multitude of pathologies. I also enjoy having the opportunity to do a variety of cool procedures at bedside.

SGU: What is your advice for residents starting their first year?

Dr. Gevorgian: My best advice for incoming residents is simple: don’t forget your ABCs.

  • Accountability: If you say you’re going to do something, do it.
  • Betterment: Always try and learn something new every day and better yourself.
  • Compassion: In addition to being a compassionate provider, makes sure to always be compassionate to yourself because residency is tough with good and bad days.


“SGU has taught me that hard work always pays off and that nothing is impossible.”


SGU: Share a challenging emergency department moment and how you were able to treat your patient.

Dr. Gevorgian: Sometimes it’s hard to find the balance of providing the best possible care, but also respecting the patient’s wishes. One patient I had during my intern year of January 2021 (when COVID cases were rising again) was COVID-positive and in the emergency department for respiratory failure. I was in the process of getting him admitted to the ICU when he signed out against medical advice. I had multiple conversations with him explaining the risks involved. He was aware that his condition was life threatening, and his exact words were, “if I die I want to be home and be with my dogs.” But somehow my team and I managed to have home oxygen and appropriate medications delivered to his house prior to his discharge.

Being able to provide this patient that level of care, at the last minute, on a Friday night was a miracle—we were so thankful it was coordinated. I felt reassured that my team and I went above and beyond the call of duty for caring for our patient.

SGU: Recount a favorite memory from SGU.

Dr. Gevorgian: Exploring the North side of Grenada was always a blast. My friends and I would drive and explore different secluded beaches. There was something special about the North side, it was so quiet and calm. Once we stayed up all-night watching leatherback turtles come to shore and lay their eggs with endless shooting stars in the sky. It was an unforgettable night.

SGU: How did your experience at SGU help you get to where you are today?

Dr. Gevorgian: SGU has taught me that hard work always pays off and that nothing is impossible.


–Ronke Idowu Reeves and Sarah Stoss


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