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Class of 2020: For Annable Scholar, an Unforgettable Final Year

Money has often been tight for Regan Stoneburner and her family.

After Stoneburner’s father died during the Gulf War while serving in the U.S. Air Force, her mother earned two community college degrees while working full time to support herself and her daughter. 

When Stoneburner graduates from the NC State College of Veterinary Medicine on May 8 with the Class of 2020, she will do so without incurring any additional student debt her final year at school, thanks to help from the Michele M. and Ross M. Annable Scholarship.

“My mom has helped me out a ton, and it means so much to take the cost of this year off of her,” she says. 

The Annable Scholarship is need-based, covering up to half of a CVM student’s tuition and fees. It’s funded by a $5 million endowment from the Annables, matched by $5 million from the R. B. Terry Charitable Foundation.

Hard work runs in the family. During her time at the CVM, Stoneburner has participated in three trips to eastern North Carolina with Assistant Clinical Professor Kelli Ferris, director of the college’s community-campus partnership. The teams conduct trap, neuter and release programs for feral cats, sometimes working exhausting 15-hour days treating as many 200 animals. 

“The people of eastern North Carolina are awesome,” Stoneburner says, “and it’s great to be able to give something back to the region.”

The scholarship also encourages students to volunteer in their community.  During her time at the CVM, Stoneburner has been dedicated to volunteering for the Triangle Beagle Rescue, where Stoneburner fosters beagles and helps prepare them for adoption, providing basic medical care and training them to live in a home and learn how to behave around other dogs. 

She has fostered at least a half dozen dogs and, inevitably, there was a special one that she wound up keeping. 

“Her name is Josie,” Stoneburner says. “She was heartworm positive, so I held onto her to treat her, and we bonded.” Today Josie shares the Stoneburner household with Stryker, a foxhound, and Sadie, another beagle she’s had for 11 years.

Regan Stoneburner

Stoneburner (left) with her mentor, CVM alumna Sonja Szymeczek, during the 2016 White Coat Ceremony. Photo by Nathan Latil/NC State Veterinary Medicine

The family is prepared for a new chapter after graduation. Stoneburner developed a passion for surgery following graduation from NC State University when she moved to Greenville, N.C., and worked at a veterinary clinic as a technician under the mentorship of veterinarian Sonja Szymeczek, a 1996 CVM graduate. 

Her plans are to accept a rotating internship at the University of Illinois, and afterwards she hopes to return to NC State for a surgical residency.  A member of the surgery club at NC State, she has already had the opportunity to teach surgery labs for other CVM students.

Eventually, she’d like to work at an academic institution, teaching and conducting research. 

Because of the generosity of the Annable Scholarship and the quality of her professors and clinical experiences, Stoneburner is grateful to NC State. “Honestly, it has been even better than I expected,” she says. “It has been phenomenal.”

~Steve Volstad/NC State Veterinary Medicine