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
2022 Veterinary Student Scholars Symposium
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University of Minnesota
Aug 4-7, 2022

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!

More than ever, research is critical for the discovery and development of innovative new solutions to ensure veterinary and human health. Boehringer Ingelheim is proud of our long history of working with colleges of veterinary medicine and other funding agencies to facilitate the introduction of first and second year veterinary medical students to biomedical research through a 10-12 week summer program.

The program’s success rests on the supportive environment in which students can undertake a research project in an established laboratory, mentored by an experienced researcher and complemented by seminars and discussion groups on the scientific process, methodologies, ethics, and career opportunities.

At the end of the program, students present their findings at the National Veterinary Scholars Symposium, also sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim and recognized as the premiere national meeting for veterinary student research.


Since the program’s foundation in 1989, thousands of students have experienced first-hand the process of research. The program currently includes students at all accredited colleges of veterinary medicine in North America, with participation from schools in Germany, France, and the Netherlands.

Please explore our website to learn more, including information about participating schools, applications for research awards, other research opportunities, and a look at program highlights from previous years. We hope to see you in this year’s program!

Monica Dias Figueiredo DVM, PhD
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