The Boehringer Ingelheim Veterinary Scholars Program and the National Veterinary Scholars Symposium
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Exposing Veterinary Students to Biomedical Research since 1989
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Veterinary Students

For Students

Experience a summer of discovery. Find out how to participate in a one-of-a-kind program that introduces first- and second-year veterinary students to the research process.

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Program Directors

For Directors

Apply for funding support for your institution's research opportunities program for veterinary students.


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Speaker holding award
National Veterinary Scholars Symposium
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Iowa State University
Aug 4-6, 2021

Alumni Spotlight

Carla Stoffel

Carla Stoffel - This whole other world of veterinary medicine

United Nations Vet Finds Where She Belongs After Learning Impact of Research Projects

Stoffel said that she owes some part of her professional point of view to the Boehringer Ingelheim Veterinary Scholars Program. She entered the program in 2013 to gain access to professional mentorship and an international research project.
“It really opened my eyes to this whole other world of veterinary medicine and animal health,” she said. “The project that I did was in Johne’s disease in sheep in Australia. It had so many aspects to it that were so interesting, like public health, infectious diseases, genetics, farm animal production and benchtop laboratory research combined all together to make a research project that would have an impact both on animals and on people.”
Today, Stoffel is a veterinarian with the Food and Agriculture Organization for the United Nations based in Rome. Her main task is working with governments on developing their veterinary workforce.

The Boehringer Ingelheim Veterinary Scholars program has introduced more than 3,500 veterinary students to hands-on research in our 31-year history. Here are the stories of five of them.
Susan Williams

Susan Williams - No one thinks about chickens having a veterinarian

Professor With Pathology Passion Inspires New Crop of Vets to Consider Research as Vital Professional Path

Williams started as a zoology major at the University of California-Davis, volunteering at the school’s raptor rescue center. She entered vet school at Tuskegee University and then accelerated her career when she accepted a spot in the Boehringer Ingelheim Veterinary Scholars Program, which introduced her to poultry research at the University of Georgia in 1992.
“I was in the pathology department, so I also got to do stuff on the necropsy floor when we weren’t having experiments,” said Williams, who helped collect turkey blood and separated out the white blood cells as part of disease study. “And then I’d work with pathology residents, participating in their slide rounds, and that cemented the idea, ‘Yeah, I do want to do pathology.’ ”
Today, Williams is a professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Georgia with an emphasis on veterinary pathology and works at the Poultry Diagnostic Research Center. Williams has served for many years as co-director of the University of Georgia’s Veterinary Scholars Program, encouraging vet students to try their hand at research.

The Boehringer Ingelheim Veterinary Scholars program has introduced more than 3,500 veterinary students to hands-on research in our 31-year history. Here are the stories of five of them.
Stephan Schaefbauer

Stephan Schaefbauer - I wanted to contribute to the greater good

USDA veterinarian overcomes barriers, finds calling to help safeguard nation’s food supply, overall health

Stephan overcame a number of barriers when she accepted a summer veterinary research scholarship from Boehringer Ingelheim to study at the University of Georgia in 2002.
“I went to an all-black high school. I went to a historically black college,” Schaefbauer said. “And one of the barriers about coming to a traditionally white institution is that you are in an environment where you feel the effects of being a minority, which leads to culture shock.
“One of the main barriers that the scholars program broke down for me was being able to ease into the environment and get to know people and build relationships. That experience was huge. It helped to build my confidence.”
Today, Schaefbauer is the Area Veterinarian in Charge (AVIC) of Minnesota field operations for Veterinary Services, an agency of the USDA. She manages a team of 14 consisting of veterinarians, animal health technicians and administrative personnel. The team collaborates with the state’s animal stakeholders. The relationships are critical, because Minnesota ranks No. 4 among US states for agricultural exports, including global markets for pork, beef, dairy and poultry.

The Boehringer Ingelheim Veterinary Scholars program has introduced more than 3,500 veterinary students to hands-on research in our 31-year history. Here are the stories of five of them.
AbigailShearin

Abigail Shearin - Research experience helps you in everything you do

Research combined with clinical knowledge drives critical thinking to achieve the best medical outcomes

Early in her education, Shearin thought she might become a small animal vet. But her curiosity turned to genetics and then to endocrinology. Later, Shearin developed a taste for research after accepting a stipend from the Boehringer Ingelheim Veterinary Scholars Program for 2007-2008
“Up until that point,” Shearin said, “I had not really seen a lot of translational clinical elements to research, but doing the summer research experience after a year of veterinary school helped me to understand the value of having the clinical training.”
Today, Shearin works as a veterinary medical officer with the US Food and Drug Administration in Washington, D.C., responsible for reviewing preclinical data for animals that participate in clinical trials.

The Boehringer Ingelheim Veterinary Scholars program has introduced more than 3,500 veterinary students to hands-on research in our 31-year history. Here are the stories of five of them.
Jessica Bertout

Jessica Bertout - I learned how broad the opportunities are

Early experience with comparative oncology leads to entrepreneurial thinking for biotech-minded veterinarian, dog-lover

“I started veterinary school interested in equine reproduction, and I ended veterinary school very focused on small animal and human oncology,” said Bertout, director of clinical research at Presage Biosciences, Inc., a biotech company in Seattle.
Bertout said she owes many of the fundamentals of her research skillset to her summer project as a Boehringer Ingelheim Veterinary Scholars recipient in 2003. Among many other things, she said, she learned how to prepare research proposals, presentations and study reports.
“All of those things are skills that I use every day,” Bertout said. “I learned how broad the opportunities are for veterinarians interested in research.”
Recently Bertout is starting her own business, CASTR Alliance, based in the Seattle area. The name contains an acronym for Companion Animal Studies for Translational Research. The business, which she co-founded with fellow veterinarian Jim Perry, manages studies in companion animals for pharmaceutical and biotech companies. The company’s goal is to run high-quality studies and translate the findings into new drugs and devices approvals for humans and/or animals.

The Boehringer Ingelheim Veterinary Scholars program has introduced more than 3,500 veterinary students to hands-on research in our 31-year history. Here are the stories of five of them.

Welcome to the official website of the Boehringer Ingelheim Veterinary Scholars Program!

Veterinary scientists play a critical role in the discovery and development of new vaccines and pharmaceutical products for veterinary and human health. The Boehringer Ingelheim Veterinary Scholars Program provides an opportunity for veterinary schools to introduce first and second year veterinary medical students to biomedical research.

By providing a supportive environment in which students can experience research in an established laboratory, complemented by seminars and discussion groups on the scientific process, ethics, and research opportunities, the participants will gain insight into careers in biomedical research.

At the end of the program, students present their findings at the National Veterinary Scholars Symposium, co-sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim, and also attend state-of-the-art lectures by research scientists working in academic, government, and private research settings. The Symposium is recognized as the premiere national meeting for veterinary student research.

Since the foundation of the program in 1989, thousands of students have had the opportunity to experience first-hand the process of research. In 2012, we funded 184 students in 36 schools. The program includes students at every veterinary college in the US and Canada and has recently expanded to include veterinary colleges in the Netherlands and France.

Please explore the redesigned website to find out more about the Boehringer Ingelheim Veterinary Scholars Program, including links to participating schools, applications for research awards, information on other research opportunities, and a look at our annual Symposium, where students present their research findings and mingle with leading researchers from academic, government and private research.

Roberto Alva DVM, MS, PhD
Executive Director, Boehringer Ingelheim Veterinary Scholars Program

  • Since the foundation of the program in 1989, thousands of students have had the opportunity to experience first-hand the process of research.
    Roberto Alva, Executive Director, Boehringer Ingelheim Veterinary Scholars Program
Our Numbers Prove It
  • 650

    scholars in attendance for the symposium

  • 38

    veterinary schools sponsored in 2017

  • More than
    2500
    student participants
    since 2000