Write stuff: Veterinary students place in national essay contest
Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017
Kara Simon, left, won fourth place and Katya Luckenbach won fifth place in the 2017 Smithcors Student Veterinary History Essay Contest. | Download this photo.
MANHATTAN — Two Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine students are among the winners in the 2017 J. Fred Smithcors Student Veterinary History Essay Contest, a national contest sponsored by the American Veterinary Medical History Society.
Kara Simon, a third-year veterinary student, Wichita, won fourth prize of $800 with her essay, "A Story of Mice and Men: The Evolution of Animal Experiments." Second-year student Katya Luckenbach, Woxall, Pennsylvania, was the fifth-place winner and received $500 for her essay, "Economics of the Veterinary Profession: The Tables Have Turned."
Their winning essays will be published in Veterinary Heritage, a publication of the American Veterinary Medical History Society.
Howard Erickson, professor emeritus of anatomy and physiology, teaches the college's veterinary history course and routinely encourages his students to submit their research papers for the Smithcors Essay contest.
"I suggest topics for the students, but encourage them to pick a topic they are passionate about — really interested in," Erickson said. "This is the 11th consecutive year that at least one of our students has been recognized in this contest."
Simon said she's had an interest in the topic she chose for her essay since a high school project on the development of the polio vaccine.
"I find it fascinating how far human medicine has come; a lot of which, historically, would not have been possible without animal research/experimentation," Simon said. "After everything I learned, I really wanted to put animals and veterinarians in the spotlight with this essay. This was a great experience, and the prize money is a huge help toward my school expenses. I want to thank Dr. Erickson for his encouragement and enthusiasm. I am hoping to practice small animal medicine when I graduate."
Luckenbach said she enjoyed writing her essay because she got to combine two of her favorite topics: economics and veterinary medicine.
"I loved minoring in economics at my undergraduate university, so I decided to write the essay on the history of economics within the veterinary profession," Luckenbach said. "Through this process I was able to broaden my understanding of how the two fields are related and, with the help of Dr. Erickson, enhance my writing skills."
The prize money is helping Luckenbach offset travel expenses of a summer mentorship she served in Africa.
The J. Fred Smithcors Student Veterinary History Essay Contest is named in honor of Smithcors for his many contributions to veterinary history, including as founder of the American Veterinary Medical History Society, the author of several books on veterinary history, and as an educator, publisher and editor.