BCI Graduate Student Awarded Dual-Degree Scholarship

College provides scholarship funding for those who pursue a dual-degree.

By Audrey Hambright

Earning a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine takes a big commitment, but some students at Kansas State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine take it to the next level and work on a concurrent graduate degree. Making the task easier is a scholarship program offered by the college that benefits those who qualify.

Beef Cattle Institute Research Student

Jacob Hagenmeier, Randolph, Kansas, is a fourth-year veterinary student and BCI graduate student.

Jacob Hagenmaier, Randolph, is one of two recipients of the dual-degree scholarship this year.

Hagenmaier is a fourth-year veterinary student who is pursuing a doctorate in pathobiology. His focus is beef cattle research. Originally, his aspirations of becoming a food animal veterinarian were centered exclusively on private, rural practice.

“It wasn’t until I enrolled at Kansas State University and began working part time assisting with research projects for the Beef Cattle Institute that I fully knew the different career routes that the veterinary medicine profession had to offer,” Hagenmaier said. “I soon realized research was an obvious fit for me as I have always seen myself as one to ask new questions, try new things and challenge current standards.”

In addition to taking on a challenge, Hagenmaier said the program has opened new doors.

“My doctoral research has been an extraordinary tool for networking and job opportunities within veterinary medicine, and it has served as a springboard into understanding the process of research and development of veterinary products and services,” he said.

Dr. Dan Thomson, Jones Professor of Production Medicine in the College of Veterinary Medicine, serves as Hagenmaier’s adviser.

“Jacob is a special student who is focused on serving the Kansas beef industry,” Thomson said. “He is able to see real issues that need solved within the beef industry and bring forward practical, relevant answers to be implemented in the field. He will make significant research and veterinary practice contributions.”

The philosophy of the dual-degree program brings together clinical medicine and research disciplines to create opportunities and expand career options in veterinary medicine. Started in 2011, the scholarship was established to enhance and encourage students who are part of the program. Recommendations are made from a committee within the college and then submitted to Frank Blecha, the college’s associate dean of research, for final approval and funding. Scholarship criteria include grades, GRE graduate school entry exam, letters of recommendation, the student’s demonstrated exposure to research and assurance to the committee that the student will work to complete both degrees.

“The students won’t have conducted research for long, but they have exposure and a documented interest in that part of the program,” Blecha said. “It gives us the confidence that they have the experience and success in conducting research.”

Blecha is sure this year’s recipients will do justice to the program.

“Both are very bright individuals who are directly involved with food animal research — the kind of people you’re proud to be able to support,” he said.