Two students from the College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University have been selected and awarded $1,000 in scholarships each as a part of the Academy of Veterinary Consultants (AVC) awards. Aaron Schaffer of Fairbury, Ill., and Tera Barnhardt of Satanta, Kan., both who are active students in the Beef Cattle Institute.
David Sjeklocha, DVM, K-State CVM graduate and staff veterinarian for Cattle Empire, LLC, in Satanta, Kan., was named 2013 AVC Consultant of the Year. The award, sponsored by Zoetis, recognizes outstanding achievements in beef-cattle medicine. Dr. Sjeklocha is the 28th recipient of the AVC Consultant of the Year award and the 7th K-State graduate to receive the award since it began in 1986.
As a recipient of the award, Zoetis donated $2,000 in Dr. Sjeklocha’s name to the K-State College of Veterinary Medicine to assist two students who are pursuing a career in bovine veterinary medicine.
The criteria set forth by Dr. Sjeklocha and his wife to qualify for the scholarship award stated that the students must be married and interested in bovine medicine. A committee of beef cattle faculty at K-State then submitted recommendations for the award, which were Schaffer and Barnhardt.
Dave Rethorst, DVM, who serves as the Director of Outreach for the Beef Cattle Institute was a part of the scholarship recommendation committee.
“Both Aaron and Tera are good students who are dedicated to bovine medicine and work really hard at what they do,” Rethorst says.
Schaffer grew up on a dairy farm, which instilled his passion for livestock production and to remain active in the industry. After graduation, he plans to gain experience by working in a mixed animal practice and eventually own a cow-calf consulting firm that focuses on preventative medicine.
“I have always enjoyed helping others and I felt that veterinary medicine would allow me to stay active in the livestock industry and feel fulfilled by helping others,” Schaffer says.
Schaffer was very humbled and appreciative when he learned that he was chosen as a recipient of the scholarship.
“It is wonderful to feel the support of the veterinary profession and I hope that someday I can give back to the profession the same way that it has given to me,” he says.
Barnhardt has wanted to become a veterinarian since a young age working on her family’s farm and ranch. Her work with Dr. Dan Thomson and the Beef Cattle Institute escalated her excitement about working directly with the beef industry. For her future plans, she has recently accepted a position at a mixed animal practice in Southwest Kansas and looks forward to her new role in that area.
“I am excited about getting my boots on the ground and serving a rural community in Kansas,” she says. “There is a lot of opportunity to expand the cattle and feedyard clientele at this practice and I am ready to get to work!”
Barnhardt was very honored to learn that she was chosen to receive the scholarship.
“Dr. Sjeklocha is someone I look up to and consider a mentor in my profession,” she says. “To be recognized is truly a special moment that I will always hold in high regard.”