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K-State Today

May 15, 2020

National veterinary student association recognizes KuKanich for outreach efforts

Submitted by Joe Montgomery

Dr. Kate KuKanich leads a student through an exercise on anatomy at the Boys & Girls Club of Manhattan

This spring, while unable to have its annual in-person symposium as scheduled at Cornell, the Student American Veterinary Medical Association gathered online using Zoom, a virtual meeting platform, to conduct Student AVMA–related business and elections.

The organization also recognized several national faculty members for their work. Kansas State University's Kate KuKanich, associate professor of small animal internal medicine in the College of Veterinary Medicine, was recognized with the association's Faculty Community Outreach Award.

The SAVMA Faculty Community Outreach Award nomination is intended for students to publicly acknowledge how a veterinarian faculty member has gone above and beyond their own professional responsibilities to make a difference in the local and/or global community as a servant leader. This recipient should be active in programs that serve the public; however, preference may be given to nominees with significant interactions with students.

"Dr. KuKanich is an excellent example of serving one's community," said Becca Tomasek, fourth-year veterinary student, who nominated KuKanich. "She serves as a mentor to many students, started the 'This is How We Role' chapter, actively participates in community events such Everybody Counts, Okt-FLU-ber Fest, and BugAPalooza, and has worked to improve accessibility at Kansas veterinary hospitals. She consistently goes above and beyond to serve and support her community, across all ages, races, ethnicities, socioeconomic statuses, and abilities. I can't think of anyone more deserving of this recognition."

"It is a great honor and I'm humbled to have been nominated and received this award," KuKanich said.

In lieu of a presentation at the national symposium, schools are allowed to arrange for an award reception at their own school, but due to COVID-19 and limited operations status at Kansas State University, KuKanich said the reception was appropriately postponed.

As a program participant, Tomasek included a description of "This is How We Role" in the nomination form, "This is a grant-funded program overseen by Purdue University," she wrote. "Dr. KuKanich established a collaborative relationship with the Boys and Girls Club of Manhattan and recruited veterinary students to partake in this endeavor. As instructor of the program, she plans weekly meetings, prepares lessons, and spends hours planning interactive activities that support the STEM lessons shared with our kindergarten through fourth-grade students, who affectionately call her Dr. Kate."

Tomasek pointed out how mentoring has also been a priority for KuKanich.

"At the Kansas Youth Leadership Forum, hosted by the Kansas Youth Empowerment Academy, she served as a mentor for teenagers with disabilities that are interested in veterinary medicine," Tomasek wrote. "Within Kansas State University, she has mentored talented undergraduate students in the McNair Scholars Program and socioeconomically and ethnically underrepresented students within the Developing Scholars Program, to encourage graduate and research study."

More information about the SAVMA awards is posted online.

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