Seven Students Awarded Veterinary Mentor Scholarships

Since its inception in 1999, St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine has trained more than 550 veterinarians—the majority of whom are in private practice in countries around the world. Every year the School of Veterinary Medicine awards Veterinary Mentor Scholarships as a means to give back to the field of veterinary medicine and support the hard-working and dedicated students who come to Grenada with the dream of becoming veterinarians.

This year’s seven winners from the entering class of August 2010 hail from the United States, Canada and Ireland. The 2010 Veterinary Mentor Scholarship winners are:

  • Kristen Barnes
  • Kristen Cash
  • Erin Cooper
  • Alicia Chivers
  • Lorenza Malaguti
  • Jaclyn Piet
  • Sara Twerdok

Each scholarship recipient is nominated by a practicing veterinarian who feels strongly that his or her protégé has shown academic excellence and has proven dedication to the veterinary medical profession.

Kristen Cash is one such student, having spent six years working with her mentor, veterinarian Dr. Robert Pfister.

“This scholarship has given me an amazing opportunity that I may not have had otherwise. It enabled me to have the opportunity to share one of the biggest moments of my life with two of the most influential people in my life. I would not be where I am if it weren’t for the constant encouragement and support given to me by Dr. Pfister and his wife Dr. Hurley.”

The Veterinary Mentor Scholarship awards between 20 to 40 percent of the full-tuition of the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Program to accepted students. To apply, students must be nominated by a licensed veterinarian who can answer questions about the commitment and compassion of the prospective student to the veterinary profession. In addition to the partial tuition scholarships, winners are encouraged to invite their mentors to Grenada to witness the White Coat Ceremony, a trip paid for by St. George’s University. The White Coat Ceremony is an important moment in a veterinarian’s career as it marks a student’s formal entry into the profession.

Dr. Pfister is most excited his protégé now has the opportunity to attend an “international school that will open her eyes, providing a worldly experience that will educate her beyond just medical school.” He is confident that in her years ahead she will make St. George’s University proud as well.

St. George’s offers a wide range of academic and needs-based scholarship opportunities to help ensure that the unique international education St. George’s provides remains available to the best and brightest students—regardless of circumstance. The Veterinary Mentor Scholarship is just one way that St. George’s gives back to the veterinary medical profession that has so generously embraced the University and its educational mission since the school welcomed its first class in September 1999.

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St. George’s University Welcomes Families to True Blue Campus

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Running from October 23rd to the 24th St. George’s University is hosting Beyond Spice, a weekend event where family members of enrolled students from the School of Medicine and School of Veterinary Medicine are invited to visit St. George’s campus. A truly international weekend, families from the Caribbean, North America and Europe will converge on St. George’s picturesque True Blue Campus to learn about the University, spend time on campus and experience island life.

Only since 2008 has St. George’s hosted a family weekend and attendance has more than doubled over prior years. With this year as the largest yet, the event is expected to draw more than 200 hundred visitors to St. George’s and its surrounding communities.

Commenting on the growth of this event, Margaret Lambert, Dean of Enrolment Planning, said, “We look forward to this weekend because it gives us the opportunity to host student families from around the world. Many of our attendees stay at local hotels, visit areas merchants and dine in local restaurants. Our goal is to provide a wide range of activities, including opportunities for unstructured time where families can explore all Grenada and the University has to offer and hopefully make plans to visit again.”

Attendees at the event have the opportunity to tour the St. George’s campus, meet administrators and experience he beautiful island of Grenada with island tours, cultural performances and free time for exploring local venues. Visitors will get a taste of local culture with visits to local markets, restaurants and stays at some of the areas most beautiful hotels.

Russ Fielden, President of the Grenada Hotel and Tourism Association and Owner/Operator of True Blue Bay Resort is looking forward to hosting several St. George’s family members at his resort this weekend. “We’re looking forward to providing a relaxing environment for family members to vacation while visiting their St. George’s student. I also encourage them to take in the surrounding areas – as well as the north side of the island during their stay.” While known for its beautiful beaches, Grenada is also home to historic forts, impressive waterfalls and rum and nutmeg production facilities – all of which are accessible to tourists.

“Many families come back to the island at other times,” says Fielden, “and we look forward to developing lasting relationships with them and other members of the St. George’s University family.”

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Seventy-Seven New Students Join SGUSVM

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The School of Veterinary Medicine, which has been a part of St. George’s University for 11 years, held its 23rd White Coat Ceremony on Tuesday, August 17 at the Bourne Lecture Hall. The 77 prospective veterinarians who were honored and welcomed in this ceremony came from ten countries: the US, UK, Canada, Guyana, Jamaica, Botswana, Mexico, France, Ireland and Sweden.

The Chancellor, Dr. Charles R. Modica officially welcomed and congratulated the students. “At St. George’s University, there is an environment of caring,” he said. “You are special to us. You are small in number… but your spirit is great and if you are anything like your predecessors, you will make us proud.” Mistress of Ceremonies, Dr. Emma Hage congratulated the students on their accomplishment. “I wish you tremendous success on your veterinary journey,” she said.

The Dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Raymond Sis, also addressed the incoming students. He said: “You belong to a profession that prides itself in serving society and you have joined a dynamic and exciting international university that will provide you with a unique environment to study modern global veterinary medicine.” He encouraged the students: “In addition to challenging yourself, challenge your classmates. This is your family for the next four years. Mentor each other, help them through the next four years and they will help you.”

Following the delivery of a splendid speech by Keynote Speaker, Bonnie V. Beaver, B.S.,D.V.M., M.S., the students donned their white coats and recited their Oath of Professional Commitment led by Dr. Kristin Chaney.

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RCVS Welcomes Eight New Members From St. George’s University

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L-R: Amber Lovegrove, Claire Green, Rhiannon Jones, college president Peter Jinman, Jennifer Walton, Zoë Jack, Serena Holmes. Monday 26/7/2010. Photograph © Andrew McCargow

Eight graduates from St George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine (SGUSVM) in the Caribbean island of Grenada, have passed the Statutory Membership Examination of the UK’s Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS), making up just under half of the 17 accepted this year. Forty-five candidates took the examination.

“This outstanding result confirms the school’s status as a leading international teaching institution for prospective veterinarians”, comments Austin Kirwan, St George’s Associate Dean of UK and Ireland Clinical Affairs.”Our graduates now have a proven record of high standards which is encouraging to those who follow in their footsteps”.

Thirty St George’s graduates have passed into the RCVS since the School’s inception in 1999.

In order to practice veterinary surgery in the UK, all graduates with foreign or Commonwealth qualifications must pass the RCVS examination. The exam consists of two days of written papers, followed by clinical, oral and practical exams at a UK veterinary medical school.

Presenting the graduates with a membership certificate at the Ceremony of Admissions at Belgravia House in London, RCVS President Peter Jinman said: “I was delighted to welcome so many of this year’s successful candidates to the College. They are a very special group of people – not only have they qualified all around the world, but they have taken the educational and professional step of sitting the RCVS examination, which entitles them to use the coveted letters MRCVS and to practice in the UK“.

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L-R: Amber Lovegrove, Claire Green, Rhiannon Jones, college president Peter Jinman, Jennifer Walton, Austin Kirwan, Zoë Jack, Serena Holmes. Monday 26/7/2010. Photograph © Andrew McCargow


SGUSVM Recognizes 109 New Graduates at Commencement Ceremony

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On June 12, 2010, St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine (SGUSVM) welcomed 109 new graduates from 10 countries to the profession of veterinary medicine at its commencement exercises held at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center, New York.

Dr. Allen Pensick, Provost of St. George’s University, welcomed the Class of 2010 graduates and reminded them that they were at the beginning of their journey and not the end, encouraging them to continue the life-long process of learning.“Today is about recognizing your ability to embrace the opportunities ahead of you and we join with your family and friends in applauding you,” he said. Dr. Pensick recognized the Honorable Manniram Prashad, Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, Guyana who was among the faculty, parents, friends, and well-wishers present to witness the ceremony.

In addressing the graduating class Dr. Charles Modica, Chancellor, St. George’s University stated, “I have the utmost respect for you and what you are about to do with your lives.” He acknowledged that through their actions, the School of Veterinary Medicine students have taught him of the powerful connection between humans and animals. The Chancellor congratulated them on their achievement and expressed confidence in their ability to make a difference in the world.

During his remarks, Dr. Raymond Sis, Dean, School of Veterinary Medicine congratulated the graduates on reaching their goal. He also made a special presentation to a faculty member and a graduate. Dr. Rhonda Pinckney, Associate Dean of Students, School of Veterinary Medicine, was recognized for her outstanding contribution to the profession and to St. George’s University and was presented with a medal as a symbol of appreciation. Brittany King, a member of the graduating class, received a medal in recognition for her contributions to global one health medicine.

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As a former class representative for the Student Affiliate of the American Veterinary Medical Association (SAAVMA), Brittany King was integral in the launch and continued success of the One Health One Medicine clinics held throughout Grenada. The One Health One Medicine concept focuses on the convergence of animal, human, and ecosystem health; addressing them collectively is critical to improved health care worldwide.

St. George’s University established the School of Veterinary Medicine in 1999, offering a broad range of opportunities in the veterinary medical field. The SGUSVM is listed with the AVMA and offers a superior global veterinary medical program which focuses on community service, hands-on training, and clinical research. Upon graduation from the four-year Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree program students are licensed to practice in 42 States in the USA and other countries, including Canada, Ireland, and Australia.

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St. George’s University DVM Students Hold Fundraisers to Help Disabled Pet

Last year, students from St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine came across an emaciated white shepherd-mix canine abandoned under a porch in Grenada. The students cared for the pregnant dog, nursing it back to health and fondly naming her Snowbell. Unfortunately, upon giving birth to a litter of 10 puppies, Snowbell’s hind legs became inexplicably paralyzed. Although the students were able to find homes for each of the 10 puppies, Snowbell was still left unaccounted for and without a home.

The veterinary students were so determined to save the dog that they reached out to an organization 2000 miles away, Pets with Disabilities, in Prince Frederick, Maryland. The founder of the organization, Joyce Darrell, agreed to adopt Snowbell. However, the students would have to arrange for transportation. In order to generate enough funds to cover airfare for Snowbell and an escort, the veterinary students held various fundraisers. On Thanksgiving Day, the disabled dog finally made it to her new home in Prince Frederick where she was equipped with a canine wheelchair.

If you are interested in learning more about the organizations or making a donation for Snowbell and the other animals, please visit, or e-mail Joyce at

SVM Alum Dr. Angela Olt Wins Kentucky Vet Scholarship

Dr. Olt has a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from St. George’s University as well as a Master’s in animal science from the UK and a BS in agriculture from WKU. She practices at the Shuffett Animal Clinic in Greensburg and lives on a Green County farm with her husband…

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School of Veterinary Medicine Welcomes Students at 22nd White Coat Ceremony

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On Tuesday, January 19th, 2010, St. George’s University’s School of Veterinary Medicine (SGUSVM) formally welcomed 51 new SVM students from the US, Canada, Barbados, Scotland, and Botswana to the True Blue campus. The class of 2014 was welcomed by Dr. Adria Rodriguez, Master of Ceremonies and recent SVM graduate; Dr. Raymond Sis, SVM Dean; and Dr. Charles R. Modica, Chancellor. Dr. Modica, in his address, commented that the School had come a long way since its inception just over 10 years ago and had proven itself a success. Dr. Sis encouraged the students to work as a team, mentoring and helping each other.

Dr. James Cook, immediate past president of the AVMA, served as an inspiring Keynote Speaker. He encouraged the class to never stop learning as he referenced a quote by American writer and futurist, Alvin Toffler, “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” “Imagine yourself a sponge in a sea of knowledge,” said Dr. Cook, “and soak up all you can.”

The Keynote Speaker encouraged the incoming class to seize every opportunity to learn, to ask many questions and to join the student arm of the AVMA, and later its professional branch, which he said would be their “lifeline and network.” Dr. Cook then welcomed the students to the profession and congratulated them on their success. The fifty-one students then proudly mounted the stage where they were helped into their white coats by Dr. James Cook, Dr. Raymond Sis and Dr. Francesca Ivaldi, SGUSVM Assistant Professor, Clinical Skills and SGUSVM graduate, and thereafter took their oath of professional commitment.

Dr. James Cook has owned a mixed animal practice in his home town of Lebanon, Kentucky since 1977. He has served as chair of the Kentucky Practice Act Revision Committee and represented Kentucky in the American Veterinary Medical Association’s (AVMA’s) House of Delegates from 1996 to 2001. In 2001, he was elected to represent Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and West Virginia in District V while he served on the AVMA Executive Board. In his term as Chairman, Dr. Cook launched the One Health Initiative Task Force. In addition to his membership in the AVMA, Dr. Cook is a member in the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP), the American Association of Bovine Practitioners (AABP) and the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). Dr. Cook received the Distinguished Service Award in 2002 as Past President of the Kentucky Veterinary Medical Association and was named Kentucky Veterinarian of the Year in 1988.

Dr. Adria I. Rodriguez received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from St. George’s University in January 2008. She is currently an Instructor in the Small Animal Medicine and Surgery Academic Program at St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine, and is finishing her Master of Science degree in Marine Medicine/Microbiology.

Veterinary Mentor Scholarship Awarded to Four New Students

In January 2011, four new students received the prestigious Veterinary Mentor Scholarship Award permitting them to follow their dreams to study veterinary medicine. The scholarship recipients received their white coats, along with nearly 49 new veterinary students of the entering January 2011 class, during the St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine White Coat Ceremony in Grenada, West Indies. In honor of their hard work and dedication to the profession, the recipient’s mentors were invited to witness the ceremony—a proud moment marking a students entrance into the profession and the beginning of their careers.

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Veterinary Mentor Scholarship Recipients Madison Montgomery, Lisa Onstott, Christen Ragle, and Nikki Blum pictured with mentors and Associate Dean Bob Ryan

The four scholarship recipients, Madison Montgomery, Lisa Onstott, Christen Ragle, and Nikki Blum, are enrolled in the four year veterinary medicine program. They will spend the first three years in Grenada studying basic veterinary science as well as spending time assisting at the University’s on-campus veterinary hospital and farm. They will then have the option to complete their clinical studies at some of the world’s top academic environments. (The School of Veterinary Medicine has clinical affiliations with 23 of the 28 US veterinary schools, 2 of 5 Canadian schools, 2 of 7 UK veterinary programs, as well affiliations in Ireland and Australia.)

Each scholarship recipient was nominated by their mentor, a practicing veterinarian who felt strongly that his or her protégé demonstrated academic excellence and dedication to the veterinary medical profession. The Veterinary Mentor Scholarship awards of up to 40 percent of the full-tuition of the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Program to the scholarship recipients. In addition to the partial tuition scholarships, the awardees invited their mentors to Grenada to witness the White Coat Ceremony—an all expense trip paid for by St. George’s University.

Since its inception in 1999, St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine has trained more than 550 veterinarians—the majority of whom are in private practice in countries around the world. Every year the School of Veterinary Medicine awards over a dozen Veterinary Mentor Scholarships as a means to give back to the field of veterinary medicine and support the hard-working and dedicated students who come to Grenada with the dream of becoming veterinarians.

St. George’s University Hosts the 2010 International Veterinary Students Association Symposium

St. George’s University was proud to host the 58th International Veterinary Students Association Symposium (IVSA) from January 3rd to the 12th.. The Grand Anse campus was home to over 60 international student delegates and IVSA Executive Committee delegates from 19 countries, including Austria, Croatia, Slovenia, Finland, as well as next summer’s congress host country, Denmark.

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Given the nature and environment of the 2010 Symposium’s host country, “Tropical Medicine” was voted as the theme by the Executive Board of the Organizing Committee. Many of the lectures, workshops, and wet labs during this nine-day conference were centered on this theme as SGU professors investigated diseases, and dermatological and parasitic conditions commonly encountered in this type of climate.

On Day Four of the Symposium, SGU speakers communicated the University’s commitment to the “One World, One Health, One Medicine” philosophy at a clinic held in the northern part of the island. IVSA delegates were given a unique opportunity to participate in a hands-on event which provided valuable information and experience to bring back home.

St. George’s University’s IVSA Chapter President Kristin Kry, a sixth-term veterinary medical student from Calgary, Canada, explained that the rigorous preparation for the IVSA Symposium dates back more than two years. Grenada was first presented as a suggested host by SGUSVM delegates at the IVSA Symposium 2007 in Malaysia, the same year SGUSVM became an official IVSA chapter. Since that time an official Organizing Committee (OC) was elected to solidify a dynamic itinerary that, according to Kristin, “shares equally between an intellectual focus of veterinary medicine and cultural exposure to Grenada.”

This was a tremendous opportunity for St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine (SGUSVM) to showcase its facilities, curriculum, faculty, students, and staff to an international community during an influential and high profile event.

Throughout their stay, delegates were exposed to the splendor of Grenada as they explored the island and participated in many engaging activities that gave a true sense of its offerings.

The success of this event was truly a result of collaboration between St. George’s University students, faculty, and staff. A special thanks is extended to St. George’s University faculty members Catherine Wybern, Director of Development; Dr. Raymond Sis, Dean, School of Veterinary Medicine; Dr. Calum Macpherson, Vice Provost for International Program Development and Faculty Advisor for IVSA Grenada Chapter; and the numerous professors and staff who donated their time and expertise throughout the Symposium.

The IVSA is a global organization driven to raise the overall standard of veterinary medical education by increasing the international and intercultural exchange of ideas and knowledge, and to promote opportunities for veterinary medical students to undertake education in nontraditional arenas, which include exchange programs, international congresses, and symposiums.

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