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University's College of Veterinary Medicine awards dual-degree scholarships

Friday, July 24, 2015


Jordan Gebhardt, left, a first-year veterinary student, and Jacob Hagenmaier, fourth-year veterinary student, were awarded the dual-degree scholarship from Kansas State University's College of Veterinary Medicine. | Download this photo.

MANHATTAN — 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.

Recipients this year are Jacob Hagenmaier, Randolph, and Jordan Gebhardt, Cedar Springs, Michigan.

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.

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."

Gebhardt is a first-year veterinary student who is pursuing a doctorate in animal science. His research focus is in swine nutrition. According to his adviser, Steve Dritz, professor of swine production in the College of Veterinary Medicine, the dual-degree program is what brought Gebhardt to Kansas State University.

"Jordan has a background running a family feed mill and livestock production business and wanted to pursue advance training in swine nutrition," Dritz said. "K-State was the only veterinary school that had the option of doing a dual doctoral degree in swine nutrition and a D.V.M. degree."

Additionally, Gebhardt's background in production livestock agriculture has led him to further his education with the goal of finding answers to practical questions the livestock industry faces on a daily basis. He recommends the program to anyone with time management skills, outstanding work ethic and a strong willingness for advancing their knowledge.

"The dual-degree program is an excellent opportunity for young people to continue their education in veterinary medicine, as well as incorporate graduate training in specialized aspects of animal production such as nutrition," Gebhardt said. "It is an outstanding program that is designed to produce well-rounded, industry-leading veterinarians."

Joel DeRouchey, professor of animal sciences and industry, also will serve as a co-adviser to further enhance the depth of Gebhardt's research experience.

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.


Frank Blecha



News tip

Randolph, Kansas, and Cedar Springs, Michigan

Written by

Audrey Hambright

At a glance

Veterinary students from Randolph and from Cedar Springs, Michigan, are recipients of this year's dual-degree scholarships from Kansas State University's College of Veterinary Medicine.