39 NC State Veterinary Medicine Students Receive 2021-22 Annable Scholarships

This academic year, 39 students from the NC State College of Veterinary Medicine have been selected as Annable Scholars. Each receives a scholarship that covers up to half of tuition and fees.

Recipients are chosen on the basis of need as well as a demonstrated commitment to community service. The Michele M. and Ross M. Annable Scholarship Endowment is a result of a $5 million gift from the Annables in 2016 and has been matched by $5 million from the Randall B. Terry Charitable Foundation.

Here’s a look at this year’s group of Annable Scholars. 

Class of 2022

  • Caroline Balch

Hometown: Fayetteville, N.C.

Career Goal:  “Zoological medicine with a focus on conservation is the career goal I want to pursue.  As a wildlife veterinarian, I could work with zoos, rescues and rehabilitation centers in providing care for animals that are either going to be released or used as ambassadors for their species. As a wildlife/zoological veterinarian, I hope to educate the public about the importance of the animals I’m helping.”

  • Tahj Boston

Hometown: Wilmington, Del.

Career Goal:  “I hope to work closely with local organizations for veterinary professionals to determine ways to educate the community. I will organize programs on the advantages of spaying and neutering and fundraising events to fund procedures for low-income pet owners. I also hope to work closely with historically black college and university undergraduate programs to make shadowing opportunities openly available for pre-veterinary tracked students. This will hopefully increase the number of minorities becoming veterinarians and enhance diversity within the veterinary profession. I plan to continue my education through a residency program to become a board-certified surgeon or internist.”

  • Paola Cruz Ramos

Hometown: Guayama, Puerto Rico

Career Goal: “I am very interested in a career with companion animals, food animal medicine/public health or research. I aspire to be a successful vet and someday to have a mobile clinic to help out in animal shelters in order to reduce the number of stray animals. I would really enjoy working side by side with different veterinarians and scientists in order to protect and improve the health, quality and marketability of United States animals and animal products.”

  • Brittany Dash

Hometown: Miramar, Fla. 

Career Goal: “I have not made a concrete decision on exactly which profession within the veterinary field I wish to pursue. I do know from my working experience that I may want to start off as a general practice small animal veterinarian. I enjoy treating pets and educating clients.”

  • Sam Frosch

Hometown: Bohemia, N.Y.

Career Goal: “I’ve always dreamed about being an equine veterinarian. I started working at a small clinic as a veterinary assistant, which I love just as much. I plan to pursue this passion I’ve harbored all my life, along with my enthusiasm and determination, to run a successful mixed practice.

  • Alexandra Grobman

Hometown: Coral Springs, Fla.

Career Goal: “Large animals are my passion. I’ve had the opportunity to care for 200 dairy cows, learned to manipulate equine stem cells to diminish their immunogenicity and performed venipuncture on a rhino in South Africa. I’m interested in pursuing a career with multiple moving parts: research, academics and surgery.”

  • Amy Le Blanc 

Hometown: St. Charles, Ill.

Career Goal: “I am excited to be in an educational program that is directly suited to my career aspirations of being a wildlife veterinarian. I had the opportunity to intern at a wildlife park and became interested in wildlife medicine because of that experience.”

  • Avnee Mistry

Hometown: Naples, Fla.

Career Goal: “I aspire to become a veterinarian with a focus in the public health/epidemiology sector. I hope, as a future veterinarian, to connect with a variety of people with a global mindset, bringing individuals from different backgrounds together to work toward a healthier, more sustainable and safer world for all.”

  • Aya Omar

Hometown: Crestwood, Ky.

Career Goal: “I plan to pursue a master’s in public health or global health in addition to my doctorate in veterinary medicine so that I may better understand the many issues facing the global community and incorporate veterinary medicine into the solution. I also hope to use this additional knowledge to secure a position at a company where I can aid current global efforts and still pursue a career that allows for a good amount of fieldwork. In the end, what I want most is to find a way to use veterinary medicine to improve human health and animal welfare on a globally applicable scale.”

  • Allyson Patterson

Hometown: Alamance, N.C.

Career Goal:  “My career objectives include practicing food animal medicine in low-income countries and serving as a food animal veterinarian in an organization creating systemic change in livestock production in low-income countries. By practicing veterinary medicine in areas of need and working with agencies creating large-scale change in how we raise our livestock, I hope to play a role in feeding our planet and moving its people into the future.”

  • Meghan Rutowski

Hometown: Waxhaw, N.C.

Career Goal: “For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a veterinarian like my dad. Growing up around my father’s practice, I quickly became familiar with his clientele, and I aspired to be the next Dr. Rutowski in the building. NC State’s College of Veterinary Medicine will give me the knowledge I need, as well as the support system, to be successful as I finally enter my dad’s clinic as a practicing DVM.”

  • Tala Woodward

Hometown: Seattle, Wash. 

Career Goal: “As a doctor of veterinary medicine, I will have the tools and skills necessary to fully devote myself to the health of animals, people and ecosystems. I plan to start my career in private practice, where I will be able to build relationships with clients and promote animal welfare and well-being in my local community. However, my ultimate goal is to become a leader in global health, conservation and international development.”

Class of 2023

  • Christian Capobianco 

Hometown: Holly Springs, N.C.

Career Goal: “I’ve been fortunate in that I experienced a number of different focus areas. However, I truly fell in love with zoological and wildlife medicine. There is so much that we do not know about many of the species that we treat. I am passionate about education and feel that working as a zoo veterinarian will allow me to educate both guests and students alike.”

  • Julia Carlin

Hometown: Boca Raton, Fla.

Career Goal: “My goals are to pair exotic/small animal medicine with conservation research. I want to be an innovative veterinarian, no matter what species of animals I am looking at, whether I am conducting research or working in a private practice.”

  • Melinda “Annie” Gorges

Hometown: Woodland, Calif. 

Career Goal: “I am passionate about aquatic animal medicine. My career goal is to become a board-certified zoological veterinarian at a zoological institution or aquarium and increase the knowledge and conservation of exotic species.”

  • Daiannette Lopez 

Hometown: Isabela, Puerto Rico

Career Goal: “My primary interest has historically been working in some aspect of small animal medicine. I see myself having a mixed animal practice including exotics, but I have not ruled anything out! I want to be a part of not only curing disease, but also maintaining health, preventing disease and helping those animals and clients in need of affordable health care.”

  • Emily Moore

Hometown: Winston-Salem, N.C.

Career Goal: “My ideal career will allow me to have a positive impact on animal welfare, public health and the environment. I am interested in commercial poultry medicine, animal shelter medicine and wildlife medicine.”

  • Alexis Roach

Hometown: Dover, Del. 

Career Goal: “My career objective is to complete a residency program in laboratory animal medicine and then to become board certified in this specialization. I plan to work as a clinical veterinarian at a company or university that has a research facility to help maintain and improve the well-being of laboratory animals used in research.”

  • Sarah Scott-Cruz

Hometown: Hendersonville, N.C.

Career Goal: “I hope to work with wildlife because I value the conservation of nature. In wildlife conservation, the principles of One Health are apparent: recognizing connections that exist between all parts of a given system.”

  • Sidney Smith

Hometown: Kings Mountain, N.C.

Career Goal: “I hope to become a laboratory animal medicine veterinarian so I would be able to work with large, small,and exotic species. Additionally, LAM vets are able to conduct independent research studies. I would want to center mine on reproductive physiology.”

  • Kyra Thornton

Hometown: Tallahassee, Fla. 

Career Goal: “I aspire to improve animal welfare by providing diagnostic and preventative care for both small animal and exotic species as a practicing veterinarian. The diversity and constant evolution of the field of veterinary medicine are aspects that excite me and are what led me to  pursue becoming a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.”

  • Katy Uribe

Hometown: Lewisville, N.C.

Career Goal: “My current career objective is to become a veterinarian specializing within small animal medicine while also contributing through research to the field of veterinary medicine and the overall improvement of global animal welfare.

  • Samantha Zurlinden

Hometown: Durham, N.C.

Career Goal: “I am very interested in behavior and behavior modification. One possible career path I am strongly considering is becoming a board-certified veterinary behaviorist. I also have a strong interest in shelter medicine and in laboratory animal medicine.”

Class of 2024

  • Jaime Calcagno

Hometown: Cary, N.C.

Career Goal: “I am determined to practice zoological medicine at the North Carolina Zoo because I want to give back to the state that gave me so much. My interest in wildlife does not revolve solely around big cats. I noticed that there is a huge stray cat population residing in rural North Carolina. My goal is to create a low-cost, mobile spay and neuter clinic.”

  • Kinnidy Coley

Hometown: Raleigh, N.C.

Career Goal: “I would like to travel internationally to help subsistence farmers continue growing to make a profit or maintain their livelihood by reducing production constraints by affecting animal health. I would like to focus on areas of ruminant and poultry medicine due to their high prevalence in developing countries.”

  • Jamie Constantino

Hometown: Poughkeepsie, N.Y. 

Career Goal: “I would like to work with both exotic pets and companion animals as a general practitioner because one of the aspects of veterinary medicine that I enjoy the most is building relationships with clients and being able to work with animals throughout the entirety of their lives.”

  • Gaby Gonzalez

Hometown: Pembroke Pines, Fla.

Career Goal:  “I’m inspired to devote my career to wildlife and exotic animal veterinary medicine with an emphasis on conservation medicine. To me, wildlife medicine is a pillar of hope and humility. Wildlife veterinarians provide a second chance of survival for animals who otherwise would not have one.”

  • Jacob Levine

Hometown: Durham, N.C.

Career Goal: “I hope to continue working with surgery, especially with exotic animals. I also want to apply my expertise to more creative and nontraditional aspects of captive animal care, such as improving enclosure design and enrichment. I hope to return to a veterinary school later in my career as an instructor.”

  • Bryanna Meredith

Hometown: Camden, Ala.

Career Goal: “My experiences as a laboratory animal veterinary assistant have led to my passion for the lab animal field. I have learned that animal research is a privilege, not a right, and that the role of the lab animal vet is to ensure that research animals are handled with respect and responsibility.”

  • Nia Powell

Hometown: Lindenhurst, Ill.

Career Goal: “Growing up, I thought I was going to be a small animal veterinarian. However, I don’t want to limit myself based on my comfort zone. Regardless of which area I decide to go into, I hope to be a role model for the next generation of students of color interested in going into the veterinary profession.”

  • Amy Ward

Hometown: Williamston, N.C.

Career Goal: “My goal has remained steadfast: to be a veterinarian at a traditional small animal practice. Small animal medicine has sparked a curiosity and reaffirmed a passion for animals that has always been there. Wherever my veterinary degree takes me, I know that I want it to support the community in rural eastern North Carolina where I was raised. I know that veterinary medicine is the perfect career path for me to bridge together my goal of being a small animal veterinarian and my goal of serving my home community.”

  • Raisa Velez-Contreras

Hometown: San Juan, Puerto Rico

Career Goal: “​​I want to be a constant presence for animals and offer the necessary care for them to recuperate. Being from Puerto Rico and having worked with such a diverse society has made me aware of the serious challenges veterinary medicine faces in Puerto Rico. Maing veterinary medicine more accessible, collaborating with nonprofit organizations and offering efficient education about the importance of animal health would be the first steps toward my contribution to change misperceptions.”

Class of 2025

  • Imani Anderson

Hometown: Raleigh, N.C.

Career Goal:I am interested in pursuing a career in food animal medicine to increase the number of food animal veterinarians. I am interested in serving rural communities as an advocate for small farmers and food animal owners, as well as educating the community about the importance of proper animal husbandry and pet care.”

  • Kieran Austin

Hometown: Cold Spring, N.Y.

Career Goal: “I am entering veterinary school with an open mind about what species and specialties I may end up working with, but I have a particular interest in small animal primary care and hope to work as much as possible with underserved communities.”

  • Victor Cantergiani

Hometown: Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Career Goal: “I aspire to become a veterinary ophthalmologist owning my own practice. As an ophthalmologist, I plan to give back to the community through animal welfare organizations such as the Humane Society and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.”

  • Tanaze Clark

Hometown: New Bern, N.C.

Career Goal: Veterinarians serve as a bridge between animals and humans. My goals aim to strengthen that bridge through informative care and the enhancement of animal-human relationships.”

  • Gabby Elders

Hometown: Dayton, Ohio

Career Goal: “My ultimate career goal is to practice veterinary medicine within the walls of my own animal hospital/shelter. Although blending private practice and shelter medicine may be difficult, I have a deep passion for both fields and a desire to strike a balance between the two. I’ve come to enjoy the educational aspect of veterinary medicine and admire the role private practice veterinarians play within their communities.”

  • Caitlyn Vester

Hometown: Battleboro, N.C.

Career Goal: “I aspire to become an equine veterinarian with a specialty in sports medicine and certifications in acupuncture and chiropractic. My dream is to open my own equine clinic with a special volunteer/internship program for aspiring veterinarians.”

  • Kasia Zukowski

Hometown: Slatington, Pa.

Career Goal: Ever since I discovered at a young age what a veterinarian was, it has been the only career I have wanted to pursue. Preserving the health and welfare of all animals is a passion that I would be able to share every day. Veterinary medicine is fundamental to everyday life, and I hope to achieve my goal of making that role as efficient and effective as possible.”