NC State Veterinary Students, Alumnus Receive Swine Health Honors

The American Association of Swine Veterinarians has honored NC State College of Veterinary Medicine students with national scholarships and named graduate Jeremy Pittman the 2021 Swine Health Practitioner of the Year. 

The class of 2023’s Sydney Simmons is one of 10 DVM students across the country receiving a $5,000 scholarship from the AASV Foundation and Merck Animal Health. The annual scholarship honors promising DVM students focused on a career in swine health. Simmons was also elected as the alternate student delegate to the AASV Board of Directors. She will become the student delegate after serving one year as an alternate.

The scholarship winners were announced during the 52nd Annual AASV Meeting, held virtually Feb 27 through March 2. 

Sydney Simmons

The class of 2023’s Sydney Simmons.

The AASVF/Merck Scholarship is open to second-and third-year students in American Veterinary Medical Association-accredited or recognized colleges of veterinary medicine in the United States, Mexico, South America and the Caribbean. Simmons also received a $300 scholarship award as part of a veterinary student poster competition sponsored by United Animal Health.

“The Merck Veterinary Student Scholarship Program has been instrumental in expanding the AASV Foundation’s mission to develop veterinary students into swine veterinarians,” said Harry Snelson, AASV executive director and a 1990 NC State CVM graduate, in a statement. “The scholarships have a direct and immediate impact on the awardees by helping veterinary students address the financial challenges related to the tuition and fees involved in veterinary education.”

Also at the annual meeting, the AASV recognized 2004 CVM graduate Pittman with one of its highest honors — Practitioner of the Year. The award is given to one who has “demonstrated an unusual degree of proficiency and effectiveness in the delivery of veterinary service to clients,” according to the AASV. 

Pittman, an adjunct professor at the CVM, is a staff veterinarian for Smithfield Hog Production — North Region, which manages 140,000 sows in northeastern North Carolina and Virginia. Before receiving his DVM, he earned degrees in zoology and animal science from NC State University in 2000. In 2016, we spent the day with Pittman at Smithfield in Waverly, Va. 

Pittman joined the AASV as a student and has spent his career mentoring those interested in swine medicine and production.

“I am indebted to anyone and everyone that has mentored, supported or even challenged me along the way in my career,” Pittman told the AASV after receiving the honor. “As I look at the list of past recipients, there are several who have directly had an influence on me, but all of which have had an impact through their contributions to the swine industry and the AASV.

“I can only hope that I can continue to have a positive influence on the industry, such as they have.”

Jeremy Pittman

2004 CVM alumnus Jeremy Pittman.

Three CVM students were invited to give research presentations. The class of 2022’s Sabra McCallister received a $2,500 scholarship, and Hunter Everett and Hannah Lathom, both of the class of 2024, received $1,500 scholarships and $500 scholarships, respectively, all funded by Elanco Animal Health and Zoetis.

The AASV includes about 1,300 members in 40 countries representing swine medicine practice, industry and academia. 

CVM students and faculty are regularly honored by the AASV. Four students received scholarships at last year’s AASV meeting, and Glen Almond, professor of swine health and production management, received the 2020 Howard Dunne Memorial Award from the AASV, recognizing his outstanding contributions to swine medicine and the swine industry.

~Jordan Bartel/NC State Veterinary Medicine